Often change is looked at as negative—why can’t things remain the way they are? Well, for one local business, things remaining the same would lead to reduced service within the community, so they are officially setting sail for larger waters. Aztec Rental company officially closed the doors on their 34th Street location – which has served the community for more than a half century — April 20, and will open for business at their new digs at 7721 Pinemont April 24.
The longtime community staple has somewhat been a victim of their own success, thus the need for growth and a move from the current 14,000 square foot lot to the 77,000-square-foot old Baker Hughes building near Hollister and Hempstead the company purchased.
President Ray Sorsby encouraged the community to not lament the move, but celebrate it, as the expansion will allow Aztec to not only continue to do what has enabled them to stick for 50 years, but better serve the needs of a burgeoning neighborhood.
“One of the amenities is going to be a bigger showroom where we can actually sell equipment and be a dealer for other companies like Toro and Echo Tool and different suppliers,” President Ray Sorsby said. “We will also have a service facility where we’re able to work on people’s equipment – whether it’s some dealer line that we carry or a mom and pop’s lawn mower that broke down. We don’t have a facility to do anything like that here.”
Another key to Aztec’s new digs will be the ability to streamline deliveries due to the existence of drive through facility where trucks can actually pull into the building and load/unload inventory with a rolling crane — a process currently causing lots of hair pulling with the limited real estate. The company will additionally have the means to carry more equipment lines, take care of more customers, have more contracting supplies and anything else to expand upon their lengthy body of work.
“We’re doing this because the need has pushed us to want to be able to do more for our customers, and we’re not able to do that at this location,” Sorsby said. “We wanted to do more, but not move away where our customers can’t get to us easily. By moving, we’re going to be able to help more customers, and we’re hoping the community of Oak Forest and other neighborhoods will still come see us and let us take care of them.”
Sorsby cautioned against any trepidation that Aztec’s move signals any significant troubles—if anything, it’s a leap forward.
“We’re not going out of business, we’re going in a forward motion to do more—it’s an exciting time for us, and we’ll be able to better serve our customers,” he said. “Nothing’s going to change as far as what customers want other than having things they want us to carry that we haven’t been able to for some time now.”
Despite acknowledgment of the benefits, Sorsby and Vice President Wesley Jackson admitted that leaving 34th Street comes with a bittersweet taste, and it will always hold a place in their hearts as the neighborhood which gave them their start.
“We’re tied into this area, and these customers have been coming to see us since we opened. They’re the ones who supported our company from the very beginning,” Sorsby said.
“We had people coming in today (Tuesday) that were coming in here when I started in 1981 – they still come by to visit and still come by to rent,” Jackson added.
That said, Sorsby acknowledged that change is good in some cases, because it can revamp the way you do things and how you look at things.
“We’ve been doing a lot of the same stuff all the time, but we’re going to be doing more, not less. It’s going to be refreshing,” he said. “It certainly is bittersweet—we’ve been here a long time and we love everything about it, but we’ve kind of been pushed out—we’re going to revamp and do something better.”