Fort Mill Times

Fort Mill firm muscles up with Home Depot deal

The do-it-yourself crowd has a few more toys to choose from at Home Depot stores these days thanks to a partnership with Fort Mill-based Compact Power.

Compact Power, the maker of Boxer power tools, began stocking rental equipment at three area Home Depots since January. Additionally, Compact Power employees are working at the tool rental counters to offer advice and training on everything from motorized wheelbarrows to 85 horsepower mini bulldozers called skid steers.

"Our strategy is twofold; it's for homeowners looking to empower themselves to do the projects they want, but don't have access to the equipment," Compact Power Marketing Manager Andy Lewis said. "For contractors, it's a one-stop-shop. You've got the supplies in Home Depot and now some of the power equipment we're offering."

Right now, Compact Power and The Home Depot are only working together in the Charlotte and Rock Hill markets. Compact Power equipment is available at the Rock Hill, Pineville, C.C., and Matthews, N.C., stores, and at Compact Power's Fort Mill Headquarters on Hwy. 51.

Since beginning the partnership, Compact Power has seen an increase in the number of equipment rentals, Lewis said.

"While we can't speak on behalf of The Home Depot, we are very pleased with the performance trends thus far," Lewis said. "That's during a recession, and a drought in the southeast, and it's during the slow season, because most landscaping is done in the spring or fall."

Working with The Home Depot expands Compact Power's reach into the home do-it-yourself market because more people are exposed to the brand through the retail stores. Unlike other equipment rental companies that focus on long-term rental contracts with large contractors or construction companies, Lewis said Compact Power is courting the short-term rental market, and focusing more on small and medium-sized contractors and home owners.

The relationship also helps The Home Depot retain more of the small and medium-size contractor market, Lewis said.

When Home Depot proposed bringing Compact Power personnel into the store's tool rental center, Compact Power jumped at the chance, Lewis said.

"They asked us to choose a test market, and we thought what better one than our home market," Lewis said. "They may have 10 skid steers at Home Depot, but I've got 50 more at our office in Fort Mill, so if one breaks I can have another one out to replace it that day."

Compact Power has been selling power equipment since 2000 from the Fort Mill office. It manufactures it's equipment in Oklahoma. Overall the company employs approximately 500 people, of that about 70 are based in Fort Mill, another 25 are now working in area Home Depots and Compact Power has a subsidiary based in Rock Hill. It is the fourth largest manufacturer of power construction and landscaping equipment in the U.S. Two of its major competitors are Ditchwitch and Toro.

"We're the Jack Russell in the Doberman Pincher fight," Lewis said.