Choice Rentals is a local rent-to-own, home furnishings business in Wimberly Plaza. The main goal of their business is to provide excellent customer service, and treat all their customers like family. Gateway spoke with General Manager Mike Binkley about Choice Rentals and what sets them apart.
- Tell us a little about your business. The rent-to-own business is just a way people can get furniture, electronics, and appliances without the need of traditional credit. We enter into an agreement that has a great retail price with 90 days same-as-cash. Customers owning the merchandise is our main goal, so we also offer flexible payment plans and free delivery (with service included), all at no charge. We also offer Choice Benefits, where we can assist the customer if they have loss of merchandise due to fire, flood, or natural disaster. The program offers involuntary employment protection, as well as a 1-year warranty after payoff.
- How do you differentiate your business from other rent-to-own home furnishings stores in the area? I previously worked for some of the competitors, and Choice Rental's pricing is geared toward helping the customer own it faster for less. What we aim to do differently is put the PEOPLE piece back in to this industry's puzzle. When you get into the corporate structures, it's sometimes just about numbers. Here, we just want to give superior customer service and make people feel like family. When that happens, word of mouth is what will help grow our business.
- What brought you to the Decatur area to open your business? It has a small-town feel, but with 60,000 people. I came here ten years ago with a competitor company. My business partner Paul, who got me started in this industry, and I decided one day that we would start our own business. For many years, we talked about it, but when we finally made it happen, the Lord blessed it. This is our first store, but we want to have more. We do, however, want to keep the small-town feel, so we will really have to see where our future leads.
- Gateway helped with your deal. Tell us a little about that process. For example, initially you were looking for a smaller retail space. Are you happy you went with this large 8,000 square foot space? Being in a former gym (Bender's) is totally out of the box. Most of the rent-to-own facilities don't have this much square footage. For Choice Rentals, however, it allows more flow in the store, and more diversity in our merchandise. And this location, well, we felt it was meant to be. There were other locations that were available, but we saw that it could be exactly what we needed, even though we didn't know it initially. There was an open billboard available across the street from this location. Our competitor was right next door. Things about choosing this location just kind of fell into place, and the rest is history.
- Has your location driven more business into your store? Choice Rentals is in a prime retail location. Oh absolutely! Business from Golden Corral restaurant as they come and go is helpful, and you always WANT to be located next to or near a competitor, especially one of that size. Location is key!
- Gateway Commercial Brokerage also manages the property that Choice Rentals is in. Are you happy with their services? Absolutely. Em Barran comes in from time to time to check in with us and see how our business is going. That doesn't always happen in the corporate world, where your landlord is that personal. It's something, I think, that sets Gateway apart in that area of customer service. It's important for both of us that we succeed in this location.
- Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know about with Choice Rentals? Stop by and check us out! Don't let "rentals" in our name lock you into what all we do. We have retail cash prices that are competitive with the retail furniture that we sell.
Choice Rentals is located at 935-B Wimberly Drive, Decatur, Alabama. You can visit their website at www.choicerentalsal.com.