Nathan Kimmel Co. is one unusual firm.

First, there’s the obvious distinction: a nearly 16-foot dolly – more precisely known as a hand truck – that is parked in front of its headquarters on busy Santa Fe Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.

The giant landmark reflects the company’s status as one of the largest dealers of Magliner Co. hand trucks in the United States. In fact, the Standish, Mich., manufacturer awarded the huge dolly to the company 10 years ago.

“Putting it in front brought us so much business,” said owner Carol Kimmel Schary, who noted that the dolly is used as a point of reference when giving directions. “If people know they need to buy a hand truck, they come here because they already have us in their minds.”

However, selling hand trucks only amounts to a side business for Nathan Kimmel. In another distinction for the company, it is one of a relative few to make commercial-grade tarps used for large surfaces that need to be covered. They start at $265 for a 20-foot-by-50-foot piece and go up depending on material and size.

The company’s tarps, manufactured in an adjacent plant, have been laid down at Dodger Stadium and Yankee Stadium, and during the construction of LA Live and the Freedom Tower in New York.

Sales totaled $2.6 million last year, giving Nathan Kimmel yet another distinction: It was on the Business Journal’s list of the biggest 100 women-owned companies in Los Angeles last week, and in an industry – construction – where women still haven’t made much headway. Sales are projected to hit $3 million this year.

Schary took over the 56-year-old company when her father died in 1996. Among its 14 total employees are her sons Jason, 36, and Adam, 32, who help manage the business.

Nathan Kimmel sells other construction accessories, such as fumigation paraphernalia and safety equipment.

As for that giant dolly, it hasn’t gone unnoticed by other vendors who would like to boost sales. A glove vendor sent her 4-foot-tall safety glove that also sits at the headquarters, but it plays a definite second fiddle to the Magliner.

“Nothing has gotten as much attention as the hand truck,” Schary said.

– Yasmeen Al-Shawwa

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