Upfront: A tale of two first halves

By Steve Noe

A year ago, I devoted this space to writing a column titled “Challenging first half.” Although you may not recall the specifics of the column, the title is self explanatory and you undoubtedly remember what made the first half of 2012 so challenging.

Following a relatively mild 2011-12 winter, the early spring weather triggered a much-earlier-than-expected start to the 2012 season. However, almost as soon as the season got started, it came to a cruel and sudden end with the arrival of record-breaking heat that gripped much of the nation, much of the summer, leading to drought-like conditions and the drying up of outdoor power equipment sales. In fact, it was so dry here in Chicago that I went weeks without mowing my lawn.

During the first half of 2013, the weather has been a much different story. In Chicago, we’ve had unseasonably cool and rainy weather, which has left many of my neighbors wondering if and when summer will ever arrive. I’ve also had a heck of a time trying to keep up with yard work. Since late April, I’ve needed to mow my lawn at least once a week. After breaking an annual family tradition of planting a vegetable garden last year, due to the heat and subsequent drought, I got motivated to resume the tradition this year and have been fighting a never-ending battle with weeds. (And at the end of the first week of June, due to the cool weather, I came down with a summer cold that I’m still trying to shake more than three weeks later.)

Based on the responses that I received to our four-question survey for our “Mid-year Progress Report,” starting on page 17 in this issue, I’m pleased to report that all of this unseasonably cool and rainy weather has contributed to a strong first half for many dealers. In fact, some dealers have been so busy with their business that they dropped me an e-mail to apologize for not having the time to participate in our survey for the “Mid-year Progress Report.” For those of you who did take time out of your busy schedules to participate in our survey, I sincerely appreciate you doing so. For those of you who did not participate in our survey, either because you were too busy or did not receive it, please feel free to e-mail your responses to me at snoe@specialtyim.com as I would still love to hear from you and will be happy to add your responses to the online version of the “Mid-year Progress Report.”

Hope you had a great first half and wish you the best of luck in the second half!

OPE Editor Steve Noe


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