Angie Venekamp has managed Rental Network in Squamish for 18 years and has served in volunteer leadership positions in national and international industry organizations. It’s still a largely male-dominated sector, she acknowledges, and sometimes old ideas come to the surface.
“Occasionally there are some customers that question my knowledge,” says Venekamp, laughing. “However, I've got a great group of coworkers that are happy to enlighten customers that I'm fully capable.”
As manager of the business since it opened, she works closely with another female business leader, the company’s shop manager, Ana Rakurea.
Venekamp has seen Squamish change – and Rental Network has evolved along with it. Over a period of change and growth, particularly in the last half-dozen years, Rental Network’s client base has expanded.
“The business is predominantly contractor-based,” Venekamp said. “We do offer to homeowners as well, however the trends are seeing many homeowners hiring contractors to do those renovations for them, giving them more time for fun! Partially I think it’s because there's a lot of new people in town that are spending their time commuting.”
Popular products on this end of the business include excavators, skid-steers, cut-off saws and plate tampers.
Another major component of Rental Network’s line is equipment for events like weddings. “This includes everything that you would need for an event, from the dishes and cutlery, tents, tables, chairs, dance floors, audio, bar tables, lighting and heating,” says Venekamp.
While many of the items needed for an event or the scale of a wedding are truly one-time requirements, the hardware and equipment required by contractors are the sorts of things they might need occasionally enough to rent but not frequently enough to invest in as a capital expenditure. As Squamish has grown, many residents also do not live in single-family homes with double garages that can be filled with infrequently used items.
“People don't want to store – or don't have room to store – their own equipment,” said Venekamp. “It is a luxury to be able to just rent it for as long as they need it and then just bring it back.”
Venekamp is in a slightly unusual position to reflect on the changes in Squamish. She was born and raised here, something that is notable enough to make that a topic of conversation when people find out.
“Everybody sort of looks at you like you're a rarity,” she said.
If you would like to know more about Angie Venekamp and her work at Rental Network, head on to this website.