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If you need it, they probably have it

Corridor Equipment Rental in North Liberty is the do-it-yourselfer’s temporary tool shed
Kelly Dzuris and Corey Butler opened Corridor Equipment Rental last August, in North Liberty, as a source of top-of-the-line contractor-grade equipment for the do-it-yourselfer. (photos by Chris Umscheid)

NORTH LIBERTY– For almost a year, Corridor Equipment Rental, in North Liberty, has been on a mission to be the go-to source for the do-it-yourselfer needing a specific tool for a specific task, and not for all eternity.
Co-owners Corey Butler and Kelly Dzuris opened the doors on Aug. 6, 2019. Butler spent 18 years at Aero Rentals, in Iowa City, where he met Dzuris. Dzuris had a background in aviation technology and took a job with Aero while returning to school at the University of Iowa. Both men said Aero was a great place to work, but a desire to work for themselves started percolating. Dzuris took a job in Des Moines, commuting back to Iowa City on weekends to be with his family, while Butler maintained his job at Aero Rentals.
The planning and groundwork for their own business, however, continued despite challenges.
“We anticipated opening somewhere in June, but as you can imagine, with Corey working at Aero Rental, and me working in Des Moines, it was not very easy at times to open a business when you have to continue to work until that last day,” Dzuris said.
“Both jobs were very supportive and I think that goes to show who we are as people,” he added. “They kept us on instead of, ‘Well, see ya,’ especially with Aero Rental and Corey being there for so long.”
Dzuris said their last days kept getting pushed back farther and farther due to the volume of business, and also showed how much their employers wanted to keep them. Neither business put a non-competition clause upon them.
“They’re very supportive and we’re hitting an untapped market up here and we’re getting some Cedar Rapids folks too coming our way,” said Dzuris, “It’s good. It’s been really good.”
Their shop, strategically located along Highway 965 and Interstate 380 (via the Penn Street exit), stocks not only a large selection of tools and equipment for virtually any project, but also air tools and compressors, concrete and drywall equipment, flooring equipment, generators, ladders, post hole augers, power washers and scaffolding. In addition, trailers are available, along with seasonal items such as lawn and garden (aerators, trimmers, mowers, and other lawn maintenance equipment) and winter equipment (heaters and snow blowers). Corridor Equipment Rental also carries tables and chairs for events, as well as tents and inflatable bounce houses. Since they service and repair their own equipment, it was only natural to offer a small engine repair service, as well.
“We want to continue to grow our inventory as fast and as efficiently as we can,” said Dzuris. “We haven’t seen the contractor-homeowner split (like at Aero), we’ve noticed a lot more homeowners up here.”
They refer to their equipment as contractor quality, homeowner friendly.
“Everything in here has a Honda engine on it, and it’s good quality equipment,” Dzuris said. “It’s top-of-the-line, for sure, strictly commercial grade.”
For Butler and Dzuris, it’s been an interesting nine months. Business was a little slow at first and Dzuris pounded the pavement to get their name out. They also received a lot of valuable feedback from their customers. The fall saw business pick up.
“It was growing, it was going in the right direction,” said Dzuris. “And then we hit December, January, February and the rental world just nose-dived hard. We sat here thinking to ourselves some days, what have we done? Not a single phone call, not a single person walking through the door, and we’re just looking at all this bright, shiny, brand new equipment.”
Starting the small engine repair was a way to offset the decline in rentals during the winter, Butler noted, but with a lack of customers during the pandemic it was adopted as part of the business.
“It became such a big part that we’ve implemented it fulltime,” he said. “Small engines and bookkeeping was pretty much what the winter was about.”
While many businesses were directed to close, Corridor Equipment Rental, because of some of the equipment it carries, was deemed an essential business and allowed to remain open.
“The business we did have, was all positive,” Butler said. “People said, ‘I was thinking about doing this (project), I’m so glad you’re here. You guys are great. Customer service is exceptional. Top-notch equipment.’ Just those words gave us that little bit of encouragement, and you can do this… it’s going to be OK.
“It was tough.”
Business picked up in April and May with people still stuck at home and with time available to tackle home improvement projects requiring equipment Corridor Equipment Rental stocks.
“May was great for us,” Dzuris said. “What it did for us… we lost out on some graduation stuff: tents, tables and chairs… but what it did on the equipment side was, it spread it out. A lot of people were doing stuff during the week that they would more typically get on the weekends, so we weren’t as slammed on the weekends.”
When a customer picks up or has a piece of equipment delivered, Dzuris or Butler start it and show them how to operate it safely. Butler gave the example of delivering a sod cutter and making the first pass to demonstrate the procedure.
“Then they use it and we stay there to make sure they’re comfortable with it,” he said. “We definitely go the extra mile with all customer service aspects, but especially with demonstrating the equipment. That has made people very pleased with the service here. We definitely pound it in their head how to do it, the best and safest way to do it.”
“We also offer 24-hour customer service,” Dzuris added. “If you have any issues, call us. If we can’t walk you through it on the phone, we’ll come out. We want everyone to be 100 percent confident in the equipment, that they had a good experience, they got the job done.”
The location of Corridor Equipment Rental is strategic, with the easy access to major roads because there are no similar businesses between Aero in Iowa City, and A-1 in Cedar Rapids.
“This area is growing so much,” Butler said. “Tiffin is growing, Solon, Swisher, Shueyville, all of these areas are just continuing to grow, and we felt this would be an ideal spot to capture all that. And so far, it has been.”
“The people of North Liberty have been so supportive and thankful for someone like us coming to town,” said Dzuris. “We just keep reaching out and service those other areas, but this is home for us. We love it.”
There’s a synergy for Butler and Dzuris.
“When we worked together at Aero, we knew we were on the same page, we got along really well,” Dzuris explained. “We’ve only known each other maybe five years, but we just kind of clicked. We get along so well we have a lot of fun.”
“We’re having fun, we’re having fun with the customers,” Butler agreed. “We’re getting a lot of repeat customers and getting to know them and shoot the breeze with them.”
Corridor Equipment Rental is located at 680 Meade Dr. in North Liberty. Phone 319-626-1615 or visit www.corridorequipmentrental.com.
“Customer service is number one, 100 percent top priority,” said Butler. “It’s a big part of the business, and a reason why (business) is where it is right now, this early. People are surprised by what we offer and how much we do. People are really impressed with what we feel is standard customer service.”