Gate Street International, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, specializes in bringing unique European products to the North American market. Richard Clarke, founder and CEO, launched the company in 2019 after spending 30 years in the insurance industry in Canada.
“I recognized a need, first for restoration contractors, to provide support with quality equipment that focuses on user safety, is accessible, and easy to manage and maneuver,” Clarke says. He recently spoke with Rental Management about Custers® aluminum scaffolding, which is manufactured in Venray, the Netherlands, and LumiAir 360-degree balloon and polycarbonate diffused lighting systems, which are made in France.
Rental Management: Many rental stores carry aerial equipment and steel scaffolding already, so why add aluminum scaffolding as an item for rent?
Richard Clarke: Aluminum is strong, durable, low-maintenance, exceptionally safe and super lightweight, which means it is easier and cheaper to transport. You do not need heavy-duty trucks and you can carry more inventory in one delivery to cut costs. Many of the people who work in restoration, including electricians and painters, need portable equipment that can be used indoors. Custers aluminum scaffolding does not put pressure on floors like a bucket reach or scissor lift would. The Handy, Foldy and Handy Stair Tower are easy and simple to use. The Foldy can pop up in one to 15 minutes and be ready to use. It has a professional, clean appearance, assembles in minutes and doesn’t leave rust flakes in the home. This means electricians and painters can accept jobs that otherwise they could not do. The scaffolding doesn’t take a lot of space to store at a rental store and you don’t need a flatbed to transport it. You can fit a 40-ft. vertical access system of the scaffolding in the back of a Ford F-150, so the rental client can come and pick it up. The Foldy version can fit in the back of a Honda Civic. The scaffolding can fit in an elevator and our niche is that the scaffolding also can fit in tight spots in between buildings. Our No. 1 focus for marketing this product is to the equipment rental industry.
Rental Management: Isn’t aluminum scaffolding more expensive?
Clarke: It was more expensive to make aluminum scaffolding in the past but engineering and using robotics has made it more economical. In addition, the scaffolding is wonderful for rental because of its longevity. It’s lightweight, easy to store, easy to stack, doesn’t rot and doesn’t rust. The return on investment (ROI) is quite phenomenal. Custers is a 120-year-old company and has been making aluminum scaffolding for 45 years and we started distributing it in North America about three years ago.
Rental Management: Light towers also have been in existence for years with a variety of products made by a number of manufacturers. What makes the LumiAir balloon light distributed by Gate Street unique and something a rental store would want to offer its customers?
Clarke: LumiAir patented their lights in the 1980s and have had much success in Europe. The LED, halogen and high-intensity discharge (HID) balloon and polycarbonate lights come with a durable polyvinyl chloride (PVC) carrying case for ease of transport and protection. The lights are often used by the military, emergency services, airports, restoration and construction trades, builders, special events, the entertainment industry and for road construction sites. They are more rugged than others, making LumiAir balloon lights unique. The lights also are portable, can be mounted on a truck, plugged into the 12/24V DC outlet and light up a 360-degree area from 450 to 10,000 sq. ft., providing what is like daylight around the truck. We offer single-fixture lights that can illuminate more than five acres, the equivalent of
five standard NFL football fields. The lights also have a self-cooling mechanism, the tripod is extendable to 18 ft. and the product is mud-, dust-, dirt- and water-resistant. In addition, the lights can work with a generator or lithium-ion batteries, which we also provide.