2018 Nominee Five: Canton Chair Rental

Thousands of area brides have enjoyed their wedding days because Bob Maloney hated selling cars. He hated it so much he sold his house to buy a rental franchise although he didn’t know a Bobcat from a sod-cutter.

In the mid-1900s, Bob Maloney’s brother, George, sold Plymouths, Mercedes-Benz and Datsun (now Nissan) cars from his Maloney Motors showroom on Market Avenue North in Canton, across from the current Cultural Center. When he needed a good accountant he sent for his brother Bob who was living in Houston, Texas. Bob became comptroller, but soon found the car business was not his cup of tea.

Selling the family’s Ridgewood home gave him enough cash to buy an equipment rental franchise, and some piece of mind. However, it took some time before he actually knew what the equipment he was renting was supposed to do. He and son, Tim, operated Taylor Rental Center for a dozen years before they dropped the franchise becoming “A Rental Emporium.” They later sold the tool business and in 1985 bought the party rental business from Canton Chair and Table, then owned by the Konen family.

Here’s where the bride’s come in. Renaming the company Canton Chair Rental, the Maloney’s began a new adventure, eventually building the company into one of the most successful event rental businesses in northeast Ohio. Today brides, event centers, event planners, and anyone else throwing a party turn to Canton Chair Rental for the tents, chairs, tables, linens, dishes, accessories and even a “DJ In A Box.” As Tim Maloney likes to say, “We rent events.”

At one point in time, Tim bought Scott Costume Company with an eye toward helping customers stage theme parties, popular at the time. Unfortunately, all great ideas don’t translate into business success and all that remains of the Scott Costume purchase is a storage rack of giant Easter Bunny heads and some Santa suits. Thankfully, other growth ideas worked out much better, including Canton Chair’s move into tent rentals, now one of the foundations of the company’s success.

Tim remembers well when a large wedding was planned on a family’s ancestral farm. The family wanted the tent placed where Tim knew the long tent spikes might pierce high pressure gas lines. It may well have been an explosive situation, but Canton Chair Rental team did the safe thing by having underground utilities marked. They are always prepared.

Tent rentals put the company into a business requiring specialized knowledge and capabilities hard for competitors to match. Government regulations, weather conditions, and different uses put a premium on the company’s knowledge, relationships and physical space.

It’s not easy making sure a large tent looks fresh every time its set up. In fact, it takes a lot of effort to make sure any party product looks like new every time its used. Walk through the Canton Chair Rental facility and you’ll see giant washing machines, huge tents hung out to dry from high rafters and large automated dry cleaning racks with neatly hung linens meticulously arranged by color and size. It all looks like a well-organized laundry for a family of giants. Enormous, smiling Easter Bunny heads reinforce the feeling.

Today, Tim Maloney is a happy man who enjoys the business he has built and is thankful to a father who risked everything to get out of a job he didn’t enjoy. Thousands of brides and other area party-goers share his gratitude.