Derek Bauer, president of Able Tool and Equipment.
Capable Tool & Equipment was founded by Derek Bauer in 2005 at its original location inside an one-bay garage in East Windsor, Conn. Within a few years, they moved to 410 Burnham Street, South Windsor, Conn., plus shortly after a second location at 120 Interstate Drive, West Springfield, Mass.
If asked to describe Able Tool & Equipment, Bauer would say that it is the distributor of light and compact equipment for the construction industry with an extremely diverse list of suppliers with the focus being on the heavy highway, concrete, excavating and utilities industries. The company offers all standard items, such as light towers, compressors, excavators, compactors, concrete buggies and more.
But Able Tool & Gear also takes pride in identifying highly specialized items in order to help its customers satisfy challenges on the job site — items that not just any equipment house would have on hand.
Some of the companies that it represents are household names within the equipment industry, such as Wacker Neuson, Sullair, Gorman Rupp, EZ Drill, Chicago Pneumatic plus Husqvarna. Because of its efforts to fill niche markets, there also are names that might not be as familiar, such as Weber, Hoffman Diamond, Michigan Pneumatic, Corecut, Kenco, Garbro, Miller Spreader and many more.
The equipment that will Able offers is available for sale, but like every other equipment home in the industry today, rental will be what the business is all about, and the company has rental programs in order to fit the needs of any kind of customer.
Käfig has an extensive knowledge in the gear rental business, partially because he had an extensive training period working for two of the major national equipment rental chains before starting his own company. Once he made up his mind to get Able Device & Products started, he worked long hours seven days a week along with the support of some really good employees and a wife who shared his vision to build a strong, successful dealership, only to have the main facility in South Windsor, Conn., completely destroyed by fire. (See “Recovering From Disaster”, at the end associated with the story. )
The particular rebuild process took two years to complete. At times it was a good unpleasant two years, as they were working in an incomplete building with no heat in the winter and no air-conditioning in the summer.
“My wife did everything she could to help relieve a lot of the particular stress that was going on during this difficult period. She has always been very supportive from the start. She doesn’t come into the office every day, yet she is always there if we need her. It might be running in order to the bank; it might be organizing a company Christmas party, or taking care of gifts with regard to customers … she’s there when I need her, so I can stay focused upon running the business. ”
When asked how he would describe their business nowadays, Bauer replied, “I tell people we are a boutique company. We really are focused. The analogy I use almost all the time is a gun comparison. You can go buy your guns in Walmart or Dicks Sporting Goods or you can choose to go to a gun store plus deal with people who are usually experts within firearms in order to discuss your needs.
“We fancy ourselves as the experts in what we do. We are super concentrated on the product lines that we offer and on the type of contractors we serve. I have employees and customers that will ask why we don’t move into larger earthmoving machines or even other areas from the building industry outside of what we do, plus my answer is ‘we are really focused on what we’ve got, and we can’t be everything to everybody. We have had the opportunity to cherry pick what all of us do plus what we all don’t do. That makes sense regarding us, and it’s become our strength in the marketplace. ‘
“We certainly have some items that will you can get anywhere, that honestly no one is actually an expert in. Mini-excavators, skid steers might be examples. But then there are categories like compaction or more specifically, light compaction. Nobody within New England does gentle compaction like we perform. You will not see more light compaction products in a yard anywhere than what we should carry in inventory.
“When you talk about air tools, particularly mid-size and small air tools, plus the compressors that go with them, the guys that are usually using a lot of air flow hammers, that’s an area that people really focus on and have invested in a massive inventory. With these specialty tools we not just sell plus rent them, we also service all of them, which not really just anyone can carry out.
“It’s no longer possible to do this all the time, but all of us try very hard to buy American anytime we can and with that comes dealing with suppliers that you actually believe in, that you may develop a relationship with, that will have specialists on their staff who can come help a person when you need them. I especially enjoy my relationship along with some of the smaller United states companies that individuals work with. Companies like Miller Curber, Garbro, Allen Engineering, The state of michigan Pneumatic, EZ Drill and some others. These companies are very flexible and when you get into an unique project, they will work with you in order to solve the particular specialized needs and challenges from the customer.
“We work with a company called Gar-Bro who can make concrete buckets. We are his distributor intended for New Britain. The owner of the company comes up and calls on us in person. We understand cement buckets such as nobody else in New England. What we do here is usually different than the heavy tools or earthmoving shop. All of us solve really specific problems such while what size generator to match up with a particular product or what plate compactor will be going in order to work best in this particular application. Very few individuals work along with bridge deck screeds want we perform. We have been experts in that region. ”
Bauer takes great pride inside the service and assistance after the sale or even rental that Able Tool and Equipment is able to give to its customers.
“It starts with the sales team . with a group of just really good people, a few have more experience compared to others, but these are the guys that will ‘hook’ our own customers. ‘ Both the particular inside plus outside product sales staff is definitely largely a very experienced group. This has been one of the keys in order to our success — really strong employees. And add to that the particular strength associated with our support department. The experience runs deep on this particular side of the business, as well, including the Lead Technician Peter Davis, who has been nationally recognized by Wacker Neuson as one of their best in North America.
“We have very good service techs who have got been with us a long time and are extremely knowledgeable. That’s hard to find, particularly when you are operating with some of the smaller devices. There are plenty associated with guys out there who can work on big machines, but small machine technicians are another whole story. That’s why people don’t just rent from us, these people will buy from us due to the fact we’ve got the people to keep it running.
“When a customer goes down, we know how to fix it, a service tech or a replacement machine is on the way. We understand the urgency within this business. Another attraction in order to doing company with us is our size. We’re a small house. In case you come in here and do business around, we’re going to understand you. I’m going to know a person. My services manager is going to know you. Our doors will usually be open to you. Customers possess my cell phone number, and the employees have got my mobile phone number. If We need to get involved, I get involved.
“The products that we sell each are a piece of the puzzle that completes the picture of the offerings all of us are trying to fill to the industry. Wacker is certainly one of our own key lines and everyone immediately equates the name Wacker with high-end compaction apparatus. Their earthmoving equipment is quickly making a name for itself. But I actually get excited about their own niche products from that lineup. They have compact wheel excavators that will aren’t actually available through anyone otherwise, which makes it the great market rental item for all of us. We keep a high variety of attachments available to get the wheeled excavator and it offers become a popular with utility contractors.
“Currently we are usually seeing a growing demand for battery-powered equipment and more and a lot more manufacturers entering that market. The technology is there, battery powered machines has plenty of horsepower. The challenge becomes exactly how long will it run on a charge and how long does it take to recharge.
“In the particular battery-operated category, we have Kato electric excavators up to 4-ton, full-size veer steers as well as stand about skid steers. We possess battery-operated compactors and vibrators. It’s early within the development of this technology plus run time seems to be the biggest challenge yet we want to be involved from the ground floor so that we all grow with the technology. The run time is certainly a challenge, but it also varies a great deal with the particular application of the equipment. A big part of it is managing the customer’s expectations, but if emission regulations continue to get more and much more stringent it’s a challenge all of us are heading to have got to deal with.
“Weber can be an important line in order to us. They work extremely well with us as the manufacturer, and they give us compaction equipment that people can be very competitive with. It’s another case of a company that works closely around plus we’ve built a great relationship with them, and we stock a great deal associated with their products. One of the primary providers for concrete equipment is certainly Allen Engineering. Again, they are American-made and they will make some of our primary products pertaining to concrete companies. Products like concrete vibrators, trowels, screeds, buggies, and in each 1 of these categories, Allen is an industry leader. Because they are a relatively little company plus American-made, we are able to have the really strong relationship along with them, which goes a long way for us when we really need to get something done.
“Chicago Pneumatic is a great brand for us and a very old plus respected name in the market. Michigan Pneumatic is usually another among our suppliers that is all American-made and an additional company that we can have a relationship directly with the particular owner. These people demonstrated earlier on in our relationship that they would become willing to do whatever it takes in order to get our business and that made a lasting impression.
“Michigan Pneumatic is making some extremely high-quality atmosphere tools in an industry segment where most associated with their competitors have relocated their manufacturing overseas. They will even perform tool rebuilds. They also create some innovative products that will nobody else does. For instance, they manufacture several concrete busters with T handles that have been so popular for all of us we have sold them just about all over Brand new England meant for bridge outdoor patio demolition. They’ve built some very lightweight busters that are ideal designed for doing overhead breaking.
“Another company we’re proud to represent is definitely Epiroc hammers. They manufacture the old Atlas Copco hammers, and we carry out a significant amount of small hammer business. I don’t know associated with anyone who does as much small hammer business as we do. We know the hammer company very well. Yet it’s a very tight specialized niche of the hydraulic hammer marketplace for us. inch
A significant part of Able’s client base will be heavy freeway contractors or, in some other words, road and bridge builders.
“We feel that a substantial portion of our own product line is particularly targeting that will audience and we go after that market very hard. Particularly the high-quality American-made products are usually niche items that are specifically used in that business. The power market also is an excellent market just for us. We’ve got the compaction equipment they need, the saws and pumps that these people are looking for, our small excavating machines are in high demand in this industry.
“Another important marketplace to all of us is the particular concrete flat work professionals, or for the purpose of that matter, anyone in the concrete business. We have all the products that anybody else serving concrete contractors would have and, like I mentioned earlier, all of us have specific concrete items which no one else carries. We furthermore get involved in excavation, demolition and municipalities. ”
For more information about Capable Tool & Equipment, visit https://abletool.net/ CEG
Recovering From Disaster
“It was April the year of the COVID breakout, in fact simply one month after COVID hit the particular U. S. in 2020, ” said Able Device & Tools Founder, Derek Bauer. “As if things weren’t bad enough. We were busy working on an expansion on the property next door, building a significant warehouse to get more of our equipment under roof. I was really in the early phases of structure; the building was basically a metal shell.
“It was a Wednesday morning from 8: 15. You could smell smoke. Our first thought was that maybe one of the motors on a fan inside the creating had burned up. We were wanting to identify this, but we all weren’t overly concerned. So , we started to open upward all the doorways towards the constructing to try to ventilate and identify what was going on and it had just the opposite from the desired effect. There has been a fire inside and managed to feed it lots of oxygen plus fan the flames.
“The next thing I knew, certainly one of our employees was running in order to my office telling me to obtain out of the office right away because the building has been on open fire. I ran out to the shop and saw three of my guys up on the mezzanine trying to fight a fireplace that had been now climbing up the sides of the walls. It was obvious the fire was now out of control, plus it was time in order to call 911. We evacuated the building and waited plus watched.
“When the fireplace department obtained there, we still thought it had been not going to be a huge deal, these people will knock the fire down, we’ll do some repairs, we’re going be OK. But the fire had made its way up in to the ceiling and whenever the doors opened, the insulation caught open fire and started to drop down into the particular main building spreading the fire everywhere. Unfortunately, all of us had a few flammable products in the particular shop, including a product called Tanner gas, which is a good alcohol-based product and is used as a de-icer in surroundings systems and air tool applications.
“The firemen came to me personally and stated something is usually happening within a part of that building; we all add water as well as the fireplace gets bigger. Those chemicals were literally turning into bombs. The fire got so hot that will the steel beams from the building actually turned red and melted. The developing became a total loss.
“As We stood back and looked with it, it reminded myself of pictures that I have seen of the Dresden open fire bombings. Even as the open fire was still burning solid, one of my workers [Andy], who thank goodness was thinking ahead, suggested that he take their laptop plus head out towards the Springfield, Mass., store, to let Springfield know what’s going on, coordinate with our software provider and the phone company to ensure that calls plus leads are being routed in order to Springfield. That was a fast process and thanks to his quick thinking we were able to take care of customers in a relatively short period of time.
“The next day we began to piece things together. We put planks over sawhorses plus that became our counter. We do have heat in the partially completed warehouse, yet it was a shell of a building and had no phones. We began sending e-mails out to customers letting them know that we were still open for business.
“My thoughts turned to the particular insurance company and what was the cause of the fire and will everything be covered. We never did find what the particular cause of the fire has been. The fireplace inspector begins asking you scary questions such as ‘do a person have any disgruntled employees, ‘ and all of this had been taking place in the first week associated with April, a key period of business for us. We all knew we had to stay open plus keep moving forward.
“It turned out the insurance company worked wonderfully with us. Our own claims adjuster was quite fair, this individual took good care of us. There’s just so much in order to try to piece together because far since that which was inside the building. You understand about your own whole goods inventory, but parts can be tricky, and your employees have their tools. Do they know the inventory of their tools? Some of our mechanics have nearly $100, 000 invested within their own tools. It turned out the particular insurance organization had a very limited coverage with regard to employees’ equipment so in order to be fair I reimbursed our workers for those losses. Verifying what was lost was definitely a challenge because many items simply melted from the warmth. But, again, the adjuster was fair. If all of us gave him an accurate description from the items that could be identified, he or she assumed that our description of the rest associated with the items was also accurate.
“We immediately started working with the contractor making plans regarding and creating our new facility. It had been tough losing the constructing there were, yet it was not a purpose-built facility intended for what we all do, and this brand new facility was certainly going to be an opportunity for all of us to design something from the ground up to meet our requirements. ”
Käfig then contacted a contractor who had previously carried out some interior work on the old service. He immediately got an office trailer into the site to help relieve a few of the pressure. Through the design plus construction procedure, overhead cranes were incorporated in the particular shop to assist within the work upon larger pieces of equipment; larger doors were integrated to make access easier; a mezzanine has been incorporated to get parts storage.
“The contractor was wonderful to work with and we experienced some very heartwarming experiences in the process. The neighbors plus our clients started to blow up the phone offering help. Items like desks and chairs began to show up along with workplace supplies. Some people sent us in lunch or even coffee :. Really too many items in order to list, but it actually made me realize that the focus that we’ve got for years on taking care of our customers wasn’t missed by the individuals we function. ”
And the people who else look after the customers, Able’s employees, had been an integral part of the business successfully recovering from the particular fire.
“Without all of our team members coming together, working together and most striving to overcome this particular disaster, we could not have done this, ” mentioned Bauer. “I continue in order to be incredibly appreciative plus grateful for their efforts. Achieving loyalty from your team members during great times is easy, but during very difficult time is when you really find out how much people care about you. We’re truly fortunate to have such dedicated people functioning at Able. ” CEG