Company grows through innovative thinking
Although the economy wasn’t favorable for many business startups in 2009, Brian Yingling saw the perfect opportunity for a rental store to potentially prosper and serve the needs of his community. In addition, opening a rental store made sense as a natural offshoot of the agriculture business in which his family was already involved.
Capitol Rentals and Sales in Carlisle, Pa., is a family operation that has been open only four years, but in that time it already has grown and evolved into something much more than the construction and general tool equipment rental and repair shop Yingling started in 2009.
When Capitol Rentals and Sales launched in a small building close to Harrisburg, Pa., the need for expansion quickly became obvious. “Not long after we opened our doors on the original facility, it became clear that we’d need more space soon,” Yingling says.
He and his wife, Tiffany, spent about two months remodeling an old dance studio into the space they currently occupy. A true family business, they included an area in the back large enough for their four children to play when they aren’t helping around the store. Though the Yinglings haven’t been in this location for long, they already are looking at alternatives for housing their ever-growing inventory.
“Our current facility is 7,200 sq. ft., which is at 100 percent utilization. We are expecting to expand our operation into a new warehouse located approximately 14 miles from our current facility. Our rapid growth has made expansion of our storage capacity a key priority,” Yingling says. The new warehouse is in the planning phase and is slated for completion later this year.
Additional square footage isn’t the only way Capitol Rentals and Sales has expanded. Shortly after opening, Yingling invested in a few tables and chairs “to see how that would go,” he says. The party and event side of the business took off and now the company offers a full range of party equipment from linens to games and inflatables for events of all sizes and types, accounting for nearly one-third of the business.
Once the party element was in place, Yingling says he had a unique idea. He noticed that a lot of people pass through the Carlisle area en route to warmer climates or extended tours of the United States. With a very limited number of places to rent an RV in the area, he saw an opportunity and decided to give RV rental a try.
As he did with party equipment, Yingling started small. Before long, the demand required an expanded fleet and Capitol Rental and Sales now has eight RVs available to rent. “Our RV rental business is certainly a niche in Pennsylvania,” Yingling says. “Our customers are mainly local snowbirds and people from Canada looking to vacation in the United States.”
This is the second full year the store has offered RV rentals and the demand continues to grow. Anticipating RV rental revenue to grow to more than 20 percent of his store’s business in the next two years, Yingling plans to increase the size of the fleet again to 15 RVs.
Though Capitol Rentals and Sales has experienced rapid growth and expansion since the beginning, Yingling and his staff members always keep their core values at the forefront of every decision they make about how to run the business.
“Our vision for Capitol Rentals and Sales is to become the preferred rental company in our area while adhering to Christian values. We expect to continue growing over the next five years at a steady rate of expansion, focusing on the key profit centers within our business. As we grow, we will seek new opportunities while continuing to focus on the needs of our clients who have supported us over the past four years,” he says.
“One of our key objectives is to give back to the local community,” Yingling says. He stands by this commitment to outreach by offering time and resources to several events and projects designed to improve the life of the community.
One event in particular stands out for Yingling as an opportunity to work with many members of his community to help fill a very specific need. In 2011, the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” visited Etters, Pa., just a short drive from Capitol Rentals and Sales
“We had the opportunity to be involved in ‘Extreme Makeover’ when they contacted us and shared that they would like to find a partner who would be willing to work with them on the items they needed to house and accommodate a large work force for a short period of time. We were recommended by our customers as a company that was interested in helping the community,” Yingling says.
The build started on Sunday, June 19, 2011, and continued for a week. Because of the quick turnaround on such a large construction project, thousands of volunteers were needed to complete the build.
“Our tents allowed volunteers to rest, eat and conduct their lives away from home. Our team members assisted the building process by moving tents to various locations to minimize the amount of travel the cast and volunteers had to do as they focused on the house they built,” Yingling says. “It was very enjoyable having an opportunity to be part of a local service project in our local community while providing the show with tents and props for production.”
More recently, Capitol Rentals and Sales supported the LEAF (Leadership Education and Farming) Project, which is a farm-based youth development and employment program focused on teaching students in Carlisle how food is raised, harvested and prepared for the food service industry.
“By focusing on local farms and eateries, students learn valuable life skills while discovering how supporting local businesses benefits an entire community,” Yingling says.