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Longtime family business closing

Melissa Topey • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:40 PM



A local family business operating for nearly half a century is closing.

Nick and Gerold Luby will be shuttering A-1 Rental at the end of June after 47 years. They have stopped providing rental services and are selling off the items in the shop.

From the beginning the rental business was commercial equipment, lawn and garden and party supplies.

Customers have been sharing their memories of coming to the store with their grandfathers, he said.

“Most people coming in are finding something they can't live without. Some people are coming in just to say thank you and shake my hand,” Nick Luby said.

Such has become a part of the community the business, then called A to Z Rental, started by his parents Calvin and Yolanda Stahl in September 1967.

The family changed the name of the business to A-1 Rental in the early 1970's.

There are a lot of A-1 Rental businesses in many towns but most are not related, Luby said when asked if their business today was part of a chain.

“Everyone wants to be first in the phone book,” he laughed.

The brothers took over the shop from their parents in 1974.

They expanded the inventory and strove to treat the customer as they would want to be treated.

They found the secret to long-term success.

“Long hours and provide good service,” Luby said about how they stayed in business for more than four decades.

But then the recession hit, jobs were lost and people did not have money for any type of rentals. The company went on for years as customers dwindled.

“For us to survive we would have had to branch off into the Cleveland area or Fremont. We are both approaching retirement age,” Luby said.

So after years of working six days a week, the brothers made the hard decision to close the doors.

Items will be sold until toward the end of June, after which items will be put up for auction.

One more family business falls, a belated victim of the recession.

Erie County Commissioner Bill Monaghan who grew up McKinley Street remembered when A-1 Rental opened.

It was a blessing to a lot of people and even businesses, he said.

Monaghan himself occasionally rented a roto-tiller for a backyard garden.

"You only used something once a year, go rent it. Small companies who might use a piece of equipment three times a year did the same instead of spending money to buy it," Monaghan said. "There was not much you needed that they did not have."

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