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A Former John Deere Publication
A specially painted gold John Deere 50G Compact Excavator excavates dirt at a jobsite in Canada.

One of the four specially painted gold John Deere 50G Compact Excavators commemorate the 50th anniversary of Cooper Equipment Rentals.

Fall 2022

Golden Opportunity

 

50th anniversary allows Cooper Equipment Rentals to give back

Clock Icon 5 MIN READ

A few John Deere 50G Compact Excavators are getting double takes on jobsites in Canada.

Four 50Gs owned by Cooper Equipment Rentals, headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, have been repainted in gold to commemorate the company’s 50th anniversary. Throughout 2022, these machines are making the rounds to branch locations across Canada.

Fifty percent of the rental revenue from the gold equipment will be donated to raising money for two charitable organizations: Steps for Life, a 5K fundraising walk to support families affected by workplace tragedy, and Movember®, a leading charity raising awareness of men’s health issues, including cancer and suicide.

The equipment will be available in the regions in which Cooper operates: British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Ottawa, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. If someone spots one of the gold machines, he or she can post a photo on social media with the hashtag #spotcoopergold for the opportunity to win some Cooper swag.

“What better machine than a 50G to represent a 50th golden anniversary?” says Darryl Cooper, president and chief operating officer, Cooper Equipment Rentals. “We wanted to do something special to mark the occasion and give back to the community.”

The company’s goal is to raise $100,000 for charity. “We believe we can make a difference in people’s lives,” says Cooper. “My dad [founder Gordon Cooper] could not have imagined being able to do this. He would have been happy with $100,000 in revenue, let alone giving it away to charity.”

“We’re very proud of our company,” adds Doug Dougherty, chief executive officer. “It’s a major milestone.”

 

Living by the golden rule

Cooper Equipment Rentals is a classic rags-to-riches story. In 1972, Gordon Cooper founded the company in a small shed in Markham, Ontario. “It was a very small operation,” says Darryl Cooper. “Just a small pickup truck and a card table in a rented garage.”

Cooper took charge of operations in 2003 when his father retired. In 2010, he partnered with Dougherty, whose experience was like his own. “Both our families owned rental companies and we knew each other,” recalls Dougherty. “We had friendly competition and mutual respect for each other.”

Together, the two created a plan to grow the company and found a niche servicing small to medium contractors. “We were still a relatively small business with two branches in Toronto,” says Dougherty. “We had knowledgeable staff, so we focused on being the expert in this area and delivering a great level of service.”

“We started out with the message that we were the Greater Toronto Area’s compact equipment specialist: ‘If you’re working in a tight urban environment and not talking to us about compact equipment, you are really missing out,’” adds Cooper. “That message really resonated with this group.”

Since the two became partners, the company has grown from two locations in Ontario to 57 branches across Canada and from around 20 employees to over 850. The company has been able to maintain a high level of service by establishing a set of core values known as “The Cooper Difference.” With a focus on people, it’s much like the Golden Rule — treat others as you wish to be treated.

Cooper and Dougherty formalized a process for regularly visiting all employees in person to explain these values. “We wanted everyone in the organization to understand what this company is all about and where it’s going,” says Dougherty. “It gave everyone a purpose and direction, and it’s been very successful. All rental companies have the same iron. But what sets us apart is our people. They make the difference.”

 

Gold standard

Currently the company’s rental fleet includes 340 pieces of John Deere equipment. It offers a full range of Deere Skid Steers, Compact Track Loaders (CTLs), and compact excavators along with a wide variety of attachments. The company is renting more compact excavators than ever. “The attitude about mini excavators has really evolved over the last 30 years, from ‘It’s just a toy’ to ‘I can’t live without one,’” says  Dougherty.

The company has also seen a huge increase in the demand for CTLs. “Today contractors are using them on bridge and road projects where you would have never seen them before,” says Cooper.

Cooper Equipment Rentals’ relationship with John Deere goes back almost 40 years, when the company bought two backhoe loaders and two dozers from a local dealer. “We don’t buy the cheapest equipment or find the best deals,” says Dougherty. “We pride ourselves in working with the top vendors in the industry, like John Deere.”

Support from its local dealer, Brandt Tractor, has helped keep the fleet up and running, which is key to keeping rental customers satisfied. “Brandt really spends time with us to understand our business and helps us identify opportunities,” says Cooper. “John Deere and Brandt Tractor will be important partners for us long into the future.”

Cooper Equipment Rentals is serviced by Brandt Tractor Ltd. with locations across Canada.

Clockwise from top left. Two of the four John Deere 50G Compact Excavators were painted in gold to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Cooper Equipment Rentals in Ontario, Canada. Justin Wharton, Regional Manager, Southern Alberta at Cooper Equipment Rentals speaking with a customer. The fourth 50G Compact Excavator painted in gold to commemorate the 50th anniversary. Customer Travis Charmichael speaks on his mobile device after demoing a John Deere 50G Compact Excavator. Close-up of the gold-painted 50G Compact Excavator side panel.

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