Kevin and April Hipp, Franklin Monument president and vice president, bought Firelands Equipment & Storage Rental LLC for $478,000 Wednesday, according to the Huron County Auditor’s Office. Firelands Equipment & Storage Rental, 39 Woodlawn Ave., most recently was known as Universal Equipment Rental.
After some cosmetic changes and making the Woodlawn Avenue building “a little more homey of an atmosphere,” the Hipps said they plan to move Franklin Monument from 30 Benedict Ave. by the end of July.
“Hopefully our reputation will follow us,” said April (Shreve) Hipp, who like her high-school sweetheart, Kevin, graduated from St. Paul High School in 1986.
One advantage for Franklin Monument clients at the new location will be off-road parking. Hipp said it’s sometimes tough for customers to get in and out of their vehicles with the traffic on U.S. 250/Benedict Avenue.
“Currently our showcase is in the basement,” she added, noting it’s difficult for some older clients to go and up and down the stairs.
“Our showroom will be on one floor. Our work area will be on one floor,” her husband added. “We will triple our showroom space.”
Part of the changes at Woodlawn Avenue include installing a new gate, cameras and a user-friendly online payment system for the storage unit portion of the business, AOK Storage Solutions. The website, which is in progress, is aokstoragesolutions.com.
AOK has 174 storage units, available in five sizes. Currently there are 20 to 25 available.
Franklin Monument, which has four employees including the Hipps, has been in business since 2003.
“We handle monuments for cemeteries and then we do civic memorials,” Kevin Hipp said. “We do commercial projects, markers and gorgeous etchings on black granite.”
Franklin Monument, which also handles corporate signs, is responsible for the firefighter and police officer monuments on Shady Lane Drive.
“Currently we show about 70 stones … and 14 different colors and shapes,” Hipp said.
Franklin Monument has a newly tweaked website, franklinmonument.com.
“We just revamped the whole thing this year,” April Hipp said.
Also, find Franklin Monument on Facebook.
The business plans on having a grand opening in the fall.
“We are excited to move to the new facility,” Hipp said.