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Excerpts from an interview with Roger Braswell, CEO of Compact Power Equipment Centers, and Wayne Walley of Rental Management

December 29, 2011

Rental Management:

Why do you feel now is the time to expand your rental business?

Roger Braswell:

After a test in 2008, we launched in the fourth quarter of 2009 with 112 stores. We expanded to 170 stores in 2010 and now have 280 locations with The Home Depot. Our business has performed well despite the flat economy...Now, we want to expand and The Home Depot would like us to continue to expand.

Rental Management:

Do you foresee having Compact Power Equipment Centers available in every Home Depot store?

Braswell:

The Home Depot has been extremely supportive of the company and its expansion. Our relationship dates back to 2001, when we began to sell them equipment for their towable fleet. They have been supportive at every turn and we completed a long-term agreement after the test. We would like to be represented in every Home Depot tool rental center that can support a towable rental fleet. They have more than 1,200 locations in the United States and Canada.

Rental Management:

Are you also considering the idea of setting up stand-alone equipment rental centers outside of Home Depot?

Braswell:

Our focus is on our partnership with The Home Depot. They have the best locations from a real estate viewpoint. They have a customer base that needs the fleet we provide. We provide a solution for them that allows their customers to buy materials, rent small tools and large towable equipment at one location. It's an ideal partnership.

Rental Management:

How does Compact Power Services fit in with this? Will you be expanding this part of the company, too?

Braswell:

We launched Compact Power Services in January 2007 and it has grown steadily with compound annual growth rates in the double digits. This is our largest business and we expect to continue to see it grow. We have employees in 49 states. We work for almost all of the major big box retailers as a national mobile service. We are in every Best Buy and in 800 Home Depot stores. We service the equipment inside of the stores, like paint shakers, carpet carousels and man lifts. We work on the mobility carts in Walmart. We maintain the Levelor blind cutting machines in Lowe's. Compact Power Equipment Centers is our rental business and CPECdirect.com is an online direct sales business that allows us to move off fleet as needed.

Rental Management:

Will the inventory mix of Compact Power Equipment Centers change?

Braswell:

We continue to diversify and expand the fleet. The core of the inventory is pretty much what it was two years ago. Trenchers and mini skid-steers are our lead products. We follow that with compact track loaders, mini excavators and tractor loader backhoes. Most of our inventory is light construction, ground-engaging equipment. Chippers also are part of our fleet, but they are chippers built into or on a trailer.

Rental Management:

Who do you consider to be target customers for Compact Power Equipment Centers?

Braswell:

The small contractor and the DIY homeowner. We also think that with the type of equipment we have mini skid-steers and excavators people see what they can do with equipment versus a shovel. The customers we get are often new to equipment rental.

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