‘Fastest-growing’ Camas company sells

Former owners say holding company will keep 56 local employees

A Camas business that made Inc. magazine’s list of 5,000 fastest-growing companies in 2016 and 2017 has sold to a Montana firm.

In mid-January, Excavator Rental Services (ERS), which employs more than 50 workers at its Camas location, sold to Rental Equipment Investment Corp. (REIC), a holding company with executive offices in Miami and corporate offices in Kalispell, Montana, for an undisclosed amount of money.

Founded in 2005, ERS offers rental services of heavy equipment, contractor tools and lawn and garden equipment. The company reported total revenues of more than $16 million in 2016, including $11.6 million in rental revenue.

“ERS is an excellent well-run company that utilizes its three locations to primarily serve the southwestern area of Washington and the western region of Oregon,” said Kevin Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of REIC, an equipment rental holding company with 26 locations in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain region. “ERS will fit perfectly into REIC’s existing network of stores in Oregon and will put us in the state of Washington, which we see as a great market for us.”

Jerry and Mary Sauer, ERS’ former owners, said the company name will remain the same, and that 54 full-time and two part-time employees will keep their jobs at the 13-year-old business, which is located at 754 S.E. Union St., in Camas.

Mary said she believes making the Inc. magazine list, as well as being one of the fastest-growing businesses in the Pacific Northwest exposed ERS to potential investors and buyers.

Although the Sauers hadn’t been actively trying to sell their company, Jerry said the number of interested parties in 2017 “warranted a look to see what the market was.”

“REIC made a great offer and offered long-term stability for the employees and the commitment to customer service that separated us from our competitors,” he explained. “They also agreed to keep the culture we established of service to the communities we serve. Overall, it was the right fit for us and (we are) glad we chose them to purchase ERS.”

The purchase agreement included the Camas location as well as two other ERS sites in Oregon — one in Hood River and another in Wilsonville, which each employ 12 full-time workers.

“ERS has grown rapidly over the past several years and we are proud and thankful to all our employees, customers and vendors who have made our growth possible,” Jerry said in a press release about the business sale. “Under REIC’s ownership we believe we will be able to expand further and give all our employees continued opportunities.”

Jerry said he plans to continue working at ERS through the end of this year. Mary, who also acts as president of the nonprofit Mount St. Helens Institute, which seeks to educate visitors about Washington’s famous volcano, will remain at ERS for a couple months.

The couple’s Sauer Development Group will continue to control the former Tidland Corporate Center, at 2305 S.E. Eighth Ave., for the next several years, Mary said. The development group purchased the center for $3.3 million from Camas Holdings in 2014. The center includes 64,000 square feet of industrial buildings and a 6.03-acre campus.

Maxcess International employees continue to work in three of the center’s machine shops, engineering and administrative office buildings.

The Sauers, who were named the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce “Businesspersons of the Year” in May of 2016, said they are currently looking into developing recreational properties around Swift Reservoir, in nearby Skamania County.