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Unleash the adventure in style

Archie’s Rent-A-Ride meets NL’s temporary transportation needs
Kris and Ron Mace, owners of Archie’s Rent-A-Ride, stand by their logo on the back of the full-size pickup truck in their eight-vehicle fleet of rentals. The couple brought a rental car service to North Liberty in July.

NORTH LIBERTY– Many small businesses were started by entrepreneurs who saw a need that wasn’t being met locally. Such is the case with Archie’s Rent-A-Ride in North Liberty. Since July, Ron and Kris Mace have been providing top-notch rental cars as an offshoot of their repair shop, Archie’s Brake & Quick Lube.
“We had many customers who would ask us the question, ‘where can I rent a car?’ ‘I’m going to need a car,’ especially if theirs was going to be in the shop for a few days, or they’d ask because we’re a ‘car place,’ and they thought we might know,” Kris said. “We quickly realized there is no place in town, and the closest would either be Cedar Rapids, or the south side of Iowa City. So, we thought, why not bring car rental to North Liberty?”
The couple started out with four vehicles, but quickly found out the demand was outstripping the supply. “We’ve doubled that fleet already,” she said.
There has also been something of a learning curve as the business has accelerated. “We have gotten quite an education, and it’s hard when you get a nice, brand new car, to let a stranger just drive off the lot with it,” she said with a laugh. “You’re just crossing your fingers that it comes back, and it comes back in one piece, and that they don’t abuse it.” The overwhelming majority of their renters have been fabulous, she quickly added. “They’re local people and we’ve gotten to meet a lot of really nice people through the process even more so than just through our shop. Plus, it’s a nice service to be able to offer to our customers. They’re really happy about that.”
Archie’s has been reaching out to other local businesses, such as body shops, because when a vehicle is in the shop for several days, people are stuck scrambling to find alternate transportation.
“We just had a customer who hit a deer with her car. What does she do?” Kris said. “Her body shop sent her to us, so we were able to help each other out, and get her into a rental vehicle so she can still get back and forth to work while they have hers.”
The fleet is designed to appeal to a wide variety of renters, she said. There’s a full-size pickup for people needing a truck for a few hours to move some furniture, or do a short haul, for example. There’s a couple of vans for families or larger groups, as well as some economy cars for the cheapest and most-basic transportation needs. She added the economy cars make up the largest group of rentals. “We have two economy cars, and they are never here. They’re just never here.”
The Maces bought all of their vehicles brand new from local dealerships, and each one receives a thorough cleaning and detailing when it returns from being rented, which keeps them looking showroom new. The fleet also undergoes regular maintenance in the shop, which cuts down on overhead (resulting in a lower cost to the consumer than the national chains), and ensures a quality vehicle when a customer needs it.
“We feel really comfortable that our cars are safe, and they’re clean, and they’re ready to go,” she said. “I think that’s one of our advantages over some of the others. We can make sure that everything is safe, and we maintain them to the highest standards because we want them to last.” She stressed Archie’s is not part of a corporate chain of rental places, and they’re not a franchise operation. “We’re an independent company just trying to start out. I think a lot of people appreciate that they don’t have to go to the (Cedar Rapids) airport, or the south side (of Iowa City) just to get a vehicle. It’s right here, and we’re gaining some traction, I think.”
“Since we’re local, you’re not having to deal with somebody that you have no clue with if you have any issues, you can always come directly to us,” said Ron. “You don’t have to go through the corporate chain, we handle it here in-house.”
Both the repair shop and the rental business are named after Archie, the family’s late and beloved dog. “When we were thinking of names for the brake and quick lube, nothing really stuck,” Ron said. “So I said why don’t we name it after Archie.” Their son Cody drew up a logo, while their other son Kory coined the slogan “A Car’s Best Friend.” When the rent-a-ride came to be, the sons again combined their talents, with Archie, wearing his favorite bandana, pictured behind the wheel of a car. “Unleash The Adventure,” became the new slogan.
Renting a car from Archie’s Rent-A-Ride is a simple, hassle-free process. Ron, Kris or Dallas (one of their employees) will determine what size vehicle the customer needs, and checks to see what is available. Renters are required to have a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance or be willing to purchase the company’s insurance, and either a credit or debit card. For long-term rentals (30 days or longer), renters need to return to Archie’s to have the car inspected and a new rental contract initiated. Typically though, such long rentals are the rarest of exceptions. And, the vehicle must stay within the continental United States. “It’s not a lengthy process, we try to get people in and out within 10-15 minutes,” Kris added.
With eight vehicles, the fleet is constantly revolving in and out of the shop. “The holidays, I think, are going to be a busy time for us,” she said.
“It’s good to be a locally-owned business, and I think a lot of our customers are valued customers both here and at Archie’s Brake and Quick Lube,” Ron said.
Kris said, “Overall the majority of people are great and they take good care of the car, and it’s been a pretty good experience. We hope to add to our fleet in the near future, it just depends on demand. We’ve already gone from four to eight vehicles since July.”
Archie’s Rent-A-Ride is located at 760 Nathan Ave. in North Liberty. Phone 1-800-5394 or 319-665-2471. The business can be reached by email at archiesrentaride@gmail.com.