Gear and equipment rental business in the old Art Van’s in Norton Shores

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MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI — A former Art Van Furniture store in Norton Shores is set to be converted into a hardware and construction equipment rental business.

Equipment Share recently obtained a special use permit from Norton Shores City Council after an earlier proposal was not accepted.

The national company plans to renovate the old furniture showroom and employ 10 to 15 workers, according to information provided to the city.

The building at 3455 Tanglewood Drive is visible from Seaway Drive. After closing as an Art Van store, it briefly operated as Loves Furniture.

Art Van filed for bankruptcy in March 2020 and Loves Furniture acquired the assets of 27 of its stores, including Norton Shores. However, Loves went bankrupt less than six months after the furniture stores reopened.

Equipment Share, headquartered in Columbia, Missouri, was founded in 2015 and has over 80 locations. It focuses on serving construction contractors, providing them with construction equipment rental sales and follow-up services.

The Norton Shores building will have a fuel island and three new overhead doors will be installed on the south side, according to information provided to council.

The site will include retail hardware and rental of lawn and garden tools, hand tools, air compressors, generators and more. Primary storage would be inside the building’s warehouse, council members advised.

A key aspect of Equipment Share’s business is software that allows contractors to track their equipment and vehicles and monitor their fuel levels and maintenance, according to information provided to the planning commission.

The property is zoned for planned unit development and designated for “regional commercial” uses. The city council approved the special use permit on April 19 after the planning commission unanimously recommended approval at its April 13 meeting.

An earlier proposal that would have hired and maintained heavy construction equipment on the site was rejected by the planning commission and city council in November 2021.

That proposal involved outdoor storage of 50 to 100 pieces of equipment, some of which the company says could also be stored on adjacent leased properties, according to a memo from the city’s planning and zoning administrator. city.

The planning commissioners concluded that this plan was not “harmonious or appropriate” with the surrounding area and were concerned about the wear of the pavement caused by heavy equipment as well as the removal of trees .

The company’s proposal was approved after abandoning plans to rent heavy construction equipment, instead keeping the rented equipment at a size that can be transported in a pickup truck.

The latest proposal which has been approved by city leaders states that “the property’s existing extensive wooded area is to remain unaltered”.

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