Superior Rents' owners, Dan and Steve Wohnoutka, trace the genesis of their business back to their own childhoods spent on a modestly equipped farm. With an appreciation for how proper tools and equipment can make projects run smoother, they decided to stock three locations with plumbing, construction, and lawn-care equipment for homeowners and contractors to rent on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis. Their online catalog hosts a roster of rental equipment, from power drills for household projects to forklifts for hanging Do Not Disturb signs on asteroids. Customers can arrange for equipment to be delivered to their work site or drop by one of three locations—including a newly opened site in Springfield—to pick up gear.
One of the country’s largest independent paint dealers, Spectrum Paint furnishes contractors, Fortune 500 companies, and homeowners with a vast variety of paints, stains, and specialty wall coatings from respected brands. A gallon of pastel PPG Pittsburgh Paints WallHide Ceramic ($24.28) decks nursery walls in stain-resistant hues, and 1-inch FrogTape ($7.97) protects windowsills with the music of hundreds of croaking amphibians. A wistful 2.5-inch AllPro Mako poly/nylon paintbrush ($7.97) dreams of the day it will dip its bristles into the nearby PPG Pittsburgh Paints sample quarts ($6.79). The absorbent AllPro 3/4-inch Gold Pro roller cover ($5.69) ensures the even, universal application of paint to walls, cabinets, or reprints of the Mona Lisa. The shop's staff provides excellent service, aiding customers in product selection and answering questions.
Sam's Club works with a worldwide network of suppliers to find in-demand products and premium food items, and then purchases them in large quantities to cut down on costs. The result is an average 33% savings over traditional retail prices. To date, the club counts more than 47 million amongst its ranks, spread across more than 600 club locations.
Sam's Club members often find something surprising in club—with values on anything from holiday decor to diamond earrings. The festive savings carry through all departments, as a trip through a typical Sam's Club reveals home decor, Energy Star–qualified TVs and computers, and pet supplies. In other aisles, associates hand out samples of food from name brands and the club's proprietary grocery lines. In-club pharmacies and optical centers fill discounted medications and fit members with eyewear.
Perhaps most surprising about Sam's Club is that, despite the ever-growing number of clubs, the company stays tied to its local communities. In 2012 alone, Sam's Club donated $106.4 million to various causes, such as helping small business owners secure loans. The clubs also host free health screenings and the occasional special event, such as weight-loss seminars and business boot camps. But the company also tackles some of the global issues on its members' minds. As of 2010, Sam's Club began offsetting 20% of its energy use from wind power—only a small step towards its ultimate goal of harnessing 100% renewable energy, just like an extension cord plugged back into itself.