R & B named 2018 Groves Small Biz of Year

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, May 2, 2018

By Lorenzo Salinas



For some people, storage is a matter of convenience; for others, like Rob Vensel, it’s his livelihood.

Vensel owns and operates R & B StorIt, a storage and U-Haul facility located on Main Avenue in Groves. R & B is the 2018 Groves Small Business of the Year.

“I feel like it means there are some people out there who have recognized my business, who have recognized me and supported me,” Vensel said. “I must be doing something right.”

R&B opened in July 2009 with Vensel and his father. It proved to be such a success that in 2011 and 2013 Vensel added more storage units to meet demand.

“I’ve done two expansions in what I think is a short period of time,” he said. “It attests to the business doing really well.”

Vensel explained that since the Groves community has supported him so much, he gives back what he can, including his time.

“They supported my business, so I try to give back to the community.”

Vensel volunteers heavily within the city of Groves. He is on several boards, including the Groves Senior Citizens Association, Groves Economic Development Corp., Groves Pecan Fest and the Groves Chamber of Commerce.

“Because I do have a business here, it helps me know other business leaders and leaders of the city,” Vensel said. “I’m in personal contact with most all the city leaders and a lot of business leaders.”

Vensel’s customer service motto seems to be treating everyone the same — with kindness and a knowledgeable hand.

Vensel said according to the U-Haul website, his business is consistently in the top 100 dealers month after month out of all the U-Haul dealers in the nation.

“And that’s for a little Groves business where I’m the only employee,” he said. “I just try to treat everyone with respect and try to give them the best service. I know it’s going to come back to you eventually.”

Storage at R & B has been at full occupancy for months now, something that had occurred even before Harvey hit and drove the demand for storage facilities.

“I was at 99 percent before the hurricane,” Vensel said. “Some people filled up before the hurricane; I was already filled up.”

Vensel estimates 75 percent of his clients come from within one to two miles of his business. The storage facility has about 130 storage units with two office buildings.

And while he may be the only employee of R & B and its U-Haul outlet, Vensel also runs a third business, R & B Supply. It sells industrial and commercial supplies including gloves, steel-toed boots, spray paint, fencing, power tools and generators. However, nothing sells as well as a certain essential.

“We sell the most toilet paper out of any supply company in the Golden Triangle,” Vensel said.

The business sells items in bulk, whether by the case, pallet or truckload.

“He’s just a good guy who’s really interested in the city,” John Terrell, president of the Groves Senior Citizens Association, said. “He attends the (Groves) city council meetings and he serves on the board for Groves Senior Citizens.”

Terrell points out that Vensel is the only U-Haul outlet in Groves and, at one time, was the only one in South County.

“He is the only one in Groves,” Terrell said. “So, he has that along with his storage facility. If people need to put something in storage, they could use his trucks.”

“Rob is a super nice guy. He’s always willing to help out,” Ronnie Boneau, executive manager of Groves Chamber of Commerce, said. “He’s worked real hard at his business. That doesn’t sound hard to do, but it is because you have to be available every day.”

For up-and-coming entrepreneurs, Vensel has some advice:

“Join your Groves Chamber of Commerce or whatever city you live in. Go to city council meetings; get to know your city leaders, especially if your business is going to be in the (same) city. Donate your time and give back to the community.

“And just treat everyone nicely. I really do think it comes back to you.”

Groves and the other Mid County chambers of commerce will host a banquet June 5 at Benton’s in Port Neches honoring those small businesses who have won awards.

The reception starts at 6 p.m. with the event officially beginning at 7 p.m.