Lew Rents – A Family Tradition!
In 1928 George Eklund laid the foundation for Lew Rents by purchasing The Olympia Hardware Co. in downtown Olympia. The store’s longevity and outstanding customer service began and continued from that time forward.
George ran the hardware store in Downtown Olympia until 1956. He was ready to retire and his son, Lew, was ready to take over the family business with fresh new ideas for expansion to the historic Olympia Hardware Co. Olympia was growing quickly and Lew decided that it was time to grow with it. His ideas were put in place and Olympia had its very first tool rental company. Under Lew’s ownership, Olympia Hardware Co. was a place you could buy tools and hardware as well as rent tools.
The idea took off, local contractors and homeowners loved the idea of renting tools. Instead of having to purchase all the tools they needed, they could rent what they needed for a specific job. Lew decided that it was working out so well that the family’s future wasn’t in hardware, it was in rental. In 1961 Lew moved the business to a new location on East Fourth Avenue and changed the name to Lew Rents.
In the later part of the 60’s interest on the part of Lew’s youngest children, Dale and Dean, started to grow. The two started out in the service shop and worked their way to the front counter learning the ins and outs of the family business. In the 70’s Dale decided to go to college at WSU and earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Dean stayed and continued to work alongside Lew. After completing college and working for a short time in California, Dale returned to Olympia and once again worked alongside his father. In the later part of 1977 Lew and his wife Geraldine retired and the boys took over Lew Rents.
With the third generation Lew Rents would once again evolve. In 1980 Lew Rents expanded to a second location in West Olympia. The demand for tool rentals was increasing and one store could no longer fill the needs of their customers. The two brothers found a building on Harrison Avenue and opened Lew Rents West. Dale ran the West side store and Dean continued to run the East side store. The new West Olympia location suited their needs for about 6 years until; once again, they needed to expand. In 1987 they completed construction of a new building and Lew Rents West was moved to, what was then, the corner of Mud Bay and McPhee roads (today it’s Harrison Avenue and McPhee Rd). Lew Rents West was able to expand enough with this new location to finally fully meet the needs of their customers.
Today, 84 years later, both stores are still open and serving customers every day. The stores continue to work closely with one another as the fourth generation of Eklund’s are working hard to continue their great grandfather’s legacy. At this time two of Dale’s children, Jason and Jessica, work alongside him at Lew Rents West while Deans son Jamie works alongside him at Lew Rents on the East side.
Lew Rents has certainly come a long way and continues to grow with every passing year. This year, 2012, Lew Rents West became an Authorized Husqvarna Dealer. Mixing a little bit of the hardware store back into the rental business and growing with their customers. With each passing year the Eklund family looks for new ways to provide exceptional products and customer service to the people of the Puget Sound.
Dale and Dean feel that the secret to staying in business generation after generation involves not only family but also hiring the right kind of people. They, as their father before them, emphasize on strong customer service as well as family participation. With four generations and eighty plus years in business, Lew Rents has a vast selection of tools and equipment to fit every customer’s needs and the knowledge to give you the answers you’re looking for!