Hardware and gear rentals in former Art Van’s in Norton Shores

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

Equipment Share was recently granted a special use permit by the Norton Shores City Council after failing a previous proposal.

According to the city, the state-owned company plans to renovate the former furniture store and hire 10 to 15 employees.

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 the Norton Shores location. However, Loves went bankrupt less than six months after the furniture stores reopened.

Headquartered in Columbia, Missouri, Equipment Share was founded in 2015 and has more than 80 locations. It focuses on servicing contractors, offering them lease sale and construction equipment tracking services.

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

The site will include a retail hardware store and rental of lawn and garden tools, hand tools, air compressors, generators and the like. Primary storage would be in the building’s warehouse, council members were informed.

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

A previous proposal to rent and service 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, perhaps erroneously, believed it could also store on adjacent leased lots, according to a memo from the town planning and zoning administrator to the city council.

The planners concluded that this plan was not “harmonious or appropriate” with the surrounding area and were concerned about pavement wear from the heavy equipment and tree removal.

The company’s proposal was approved after it dropped plans to lease heavy construction equipment and instead keep leased equipment down to a size that can be transported in a pickup truck.

The later proposal, approved by city leaders, states that “the existing extensive wooded area of ​​the property is to remain unchanged”.

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