The photos on the website for EZ Spot UR, Fargo, N.D., might remind one of Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat. After trashing the house where, as the fish keeps reminding the children, “your mother is out” the Cat in the Hat reappears with his “moss-covered three-handled family grudunza,” a piece of machinery equipped with an assortment of hands, brooms, spray bottles and other cleaning items suitable for cleaning up messes, big and small.
Like the Cat in the Hat’s treasured all-in-one machine, EZ Spot UR can also provide ways to clean up, set up and move just about anything with the variety of attachments on offer. The company was founded in 2003 by Earl Emerson, whose mission was simple and straightforward: to provide the highest-quality products at reasonable prices; to give customers reliable, personalized service; to promote a comfortable, supportive workplace for all employees where their input is recognized; and to exhibit commitment to the local and world communities.
According to Emerson, EZ Spot UR “kind of evolved. I was a truck driver for 32 years. At one time I didn’t like the way things were going so I took my license to another outfit. Well, they got out of the business so I decided to start my own company.”
The inspiration for switching from trucking to building attachments came from a copy of National Geographic magazine that Emerson saw in 1992. In one article, people were filling sand bags by hand and he thought, “there has to be a better way.” So he and his neighbor built the speed bagger, the first of many items Emerson created. The speed bagger, as Emerson said, “was not very successful and didn’t really catch on.” However, the idea had been born and since that first attempt, Emerson has built many successful attachments. EZ Spot UR has expanded to include pot handlers, rock and tree handlers, pole setters, rotating forks, barrel handlers and a variety of other tools such as a utility claw, rock and brush grapple and a hitch tool. EZ Spot UR also manufactures a line of tactical tools for use by sheriffs’ departments and SWAT teams.
EZ Spot UR currently has a team of six employees. Lonny Emerson, Earl’s nephew, started working for the company about three years ago, creating a second generation in the business. Of his nephew, Emerson said, “Lonny is the sales manager and he takes care of day-to-day operations. He’s been doing more and more and catching on to things very fast. He’s a young, smart lad.”
The company, Emerson said, “Is all customer-driven. Right now, tools for border fencing are what customers demand. We concentrate on the United States but thanks to the World Wide Web, our international customer base is growing. We just sent a shipment to Dubai. Iraq needs a barrel handler. We’ve sent equipment to France, Spain, Chile. The weak dollar doesn’t hurt either.”
One international adventure that stands out in Emerson’s mind occurred at the beginning of 2008. “We had an order for a pole setter on a Kobelco excavator working on Sakhalin Island for ExxonMobile doing pile driving. It was a rush job. We had to air freight it out of North Dakota to Houston and then get it out of the country. We got it there in three weeks. Then the Russians kicked everyone out of Sakhalin. I don’t know if they ever got to use that pole setter,” Emerson said.
Lately, Emerson finds that putting attachments on big excavators seems to be the trend. So EZ Spot UR is building bigger and bigger. This is a good trend in Emerson’s mind because, as he said, “I enjoy building things. My wife says that if I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t be doing it and that’s pretty much my philosophy.”
And because he enjoys his work, perhaps Emerson could create an actual moss-covered three-handled family grudunza. It’s a thing that could come in handy.