STL NOW / STARTUPS
Founders Todd and Stacy Isermann
(Re-)Moving the Stress
STL Rent A Box sets out to make moving day a little simpler. by KRYSTIN ARNESON AS WITH MANY PROMISING BUSINESS IDEAS, STL Rent A Box’s premise is simple. Founders Todd and Stacy Isermann wanted to eliminate one of the most stressful things about moving: Sourcing enough cardboard boxes to pack and unpack a household. After all, Stacy says, the idea alone of packing up the physical parts of your life is daunting—not to mention expensive—for one-time use cardboard containers. To alleviate those inconveniences, STL Rent A Box’s customers pay between $59 for a 15-box package and $229 for a 75-box package of the company’s reusable plastic bins, which are delivered to their doorstep along with a 4-wheel floor dolly on loan with the boxes for two weeks, zip ties and labels. Customers pack up and move, and then a Rent A Box driver picks up the empty containers at their new home—saving time and money while simplifying the moving process. ALIVE caught up with the busy duo to learn, in Stacy’s words, the ins and outs of their St. Louis startup. THE BIG IDEA Going out and purchasing a great deal of one-time-use boxes, plus supplies, and then disposing of them is a burden—not to mention the stress it puts on the environment, the extra gas to collect and buy boxes and the lifetime of the product decomposing in a landfill. We can reuse our boxes over and over so pricing stays affordable for our clients. The need for our product and services fills a void for convenience and unnecessary cost of buying boxes. BEFORE BOXES Todd started out his career in the United States Navy on a
fast-attack submarine, the USS Pittsburgh, and then became a police officer with the St. Louis County police for five years. For the past 12 years he has been an active real estate agent with Re/Max Stars. We pulled our skills together and, for several years, have been managing startups independently. Having a strong background in real estate propelled us into creating the business we have today.
VALUES, DELIVERED We believe in providing a product and service that is
sustainable and sensible while giving our customers service they can rely on. Our clients are just as interested and concerned about the community and environment as we are.
GROWING UP Our team started with just the two of us. Now we have back-up drivers, independent salespersons and warehouse staff. It’s hard to let go and delegate but completely necessary to grow. We strive to be choosy about bringing on new team members and enjoy showing them the pride we take in providing good service to customers. STACKING UP We measure our success by how our customers respond. As a startup of a service-geared, new-concept business, we knew in the beginning a financial success would be chapters away—if not volumes. The customers definitely are our first concern, and they provide us with positive feedback and numerous referrals. Each client becomes a wonderful testament to our entrepreneurship. RISK AND REWARD We would have done everything just the same but also have had the reassurance of knowing each risk we took would turn out okay. Being motivated to create and expand, and at the same time extremely conservative, is our struggle: Entrepreneurship itself can mean living outside your comfort zone. ON THE MOVE We recently expanded our product assortment to provide additional options for those who are moving. Our goal is to be a one-stop resource for moving—aside from the actual move! We have also recently expanded our service area and now cover a handful of Illinois locations.
PHOTO BY ATTILIO D’AGOSTINO
The Innovation Issue