Jim Senker – President
I grew up in suburban Philadelphia and remain a devoted Philadelphia sports fan. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983, instead of going to law school, I launched the second addition of my Philadelphia Menu Directory magazine. A year later that magazine landed me a job at Esquire Magazine in NYC. During my time in New York, I met my wife Debbie. In 1987 we married and moved to Washington DC to help my father with his furniture rental business, Furniture Rentors of America (FRA). Both Debbie and I worked for the company, turned it around, had two children, moved to the suburbs and ultimately sold Furniture Rentors of America in 1998.
With some free time on my hands, I coached my children’s athletic teams until they each became pretty good ice hockey players. Today, Rachel works in Boston for Insight Squared which offers an array of business reporting and analytics features to measure all aspects of a business including marketing, sales, customer service, financials, and staffing. Rachel runs an installation team and is a graduate of Lehigh University. Matthew lives in Los Angeles and works for the Herjavec group developing new business opportunities after having graduated from the University of Maryland in 2015.
From 1998 to 2001 I worked in the venture investing and e-commerce world. In 2001 I was ready to apply what I had learned and returned to do what I knew best.
In the fall of 2001, Southern Suites was launched as a privately branded, internal corporate housing division for Southern Management. Despite a slow start from the 9/11 tragedy, the Southern Suites program became a huge success and continues to thrive today. In the summer of 2002, Southern Management and I agreed to spin off this division which was renamed Corporate Rentals. Since those humble beginnings Corporate Rentals has developed into the premier provider of quality furnishings and housewares to insurance housing and to corporate housing companies in the Mid-Atlantic.
Today, I am an aging but enthusiastic tennis player, a frustrated ice hockey player and an avid salt water angler. Debbie and I are very involved with the USO of Metropolitan Washington, DC for whom I have served on the Board of Directors for the past 23 years. We also help our best friend raise her 7 year old daughter, Sophia, to whom we are affectionately known as “Aunt Debbie” and “Uncle Jim”.
Because we care…, Corporate Rentals has one focus – to provide high quality and stylish furnishings and housewares where you need it and when you need it 24/7/365. No job is too big or too small. Our prompt and courteous service is embedded in our culture and our customer service is second to none!
In July of 2001 Corporate Rentals began as part of Southern Management Corporation’s Southern Suites and was named SMC’s Southern Suites. We were the in house provider of rental furniture and housewares only to Southern Management Corporation’s apartment communities. The program’s goal was to dramatically improve the level of service compared to what outside vendors had been providing and to also provide Southern Management with a strategic marketing and an administrative advantage.
These goals led to the creation of Southern Management’s first private labelled furniture and housewares rental web site called Southern Suites. The special sauce was that this site had two views. One that consumers could see and another view that only Southern Team Members could see. The “private view” for Southern Team Members provided prices and ordering capabilities and the consumer version of the same site did not. This approach, which is still in use today, put Southern’s Leasing Professionals in a unique position to sell furnished/corporate apartments because prospects had to come to the Leasing Professionals to obtain a price quote. Even in 2001 the web had become a way for consumers to drive down to the best price for almost anything they wanted to buy. Southern had an interest in driving more business to their Leasing Professionals and so this very simple concept took off.
SMC’s Southern Suites creates approximately $300,000 – $400,000 annually in ancillary revenue for Southern Management. As a result of this very successful first year the company spun off from Southern Management and became Corporate Rentals in July of 2002.
Today, 10 years later Corporate Rentals has invested more than $750,000 in the development of this web ordering technology. More than 20 web sites are up and running enabling our corporate housing and our property management clients to work faster and more efficiently than ever before. Orders show prices and are confirmed in real time. Clients can track orders, amend them and with one click order a pick up in real time! Confirmations are immediate which means the Management Team at Corporate Rentals spends it time working quickly to service clients both in the field and in our distribution facility.