Upfront: Plenty to celebrate in the new year


FOUR GENERATIONS: OPE Magazine Founder Bill Quinn, left, and son Rix, right, recently welcomed the fourth generation of the Quinn family when Rix’s daughter Katie, middle, gave birth to Aria Catherine.By Steve Noe

With 2013 now in the rear-view mirror, many of us in the outdoor power equipment industry have reason to celebrate in 2014.

For starters, we proudly celebrate the 55th anniversary of this magazine, which was established by Bill Quinn as Lawn Equipment Journal in 1959 and then appropriately renamed by him as Outdoor Power Equipment 10 years later. Incidentally, Mr. Quinn also recently celebrated becoming a great grandfather with the birth of Aria Catherine to his granddaughter Katie and her husband Tyler on Nov.14. Mr. Quinn is in excellent physical condition, according to his son Rix, and is looking forward to celebrating his 102nd birthday on May 15.

Established in 1839 and incorporated in 1900, Brinly-Hardy Company, a longtime Louisville, Ky.-based and current Jeffersonville, Ind.-based manufacturer of primarily lawn and garden tractor accessories, will celebrate its 175th anniversary this year. “It’s kind of a big deal for us, and we think it’s kind of a big deal in our country,” said Jane Hardy, CEO and chairwoman of the fifth-generation company, during a press conference at GIE+EXPO 2013. “I’m hoping somebody someday will go through the data and figure out how many companies can claim 175 years of single ownership under the heritage that we have.” To commemorate its anniversary, Brinly-Hardy plans to hold an event called “Brinly Runs Home” at the Louisville Slugger Field, which was the location of the company’s warehouse for nearly 100 years.

The Toro Company will celebrate its 100th anniversary in grand fashion in 2014 with the expected completion of a $25-million, 75,000-square-foot expansion to its headquarters in Bloomington, Minn., this summer. “We are investing in our Bloomington facility to enable our businesses to continue to meet the needs of our customers,” Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO, said at the ground-breaking ceremony Sept. 5. “With the anticipated growth of our businesses, through ongoing product development and the addition of recent acquisitions taking us into new markets, this investment will help to expand our technical capacity and further the innovation our customers expect. As we celebrate our Centennial (in 2014), this project will help position us for the future and reinforce our commitment to innovation, our customers, and our employees.”

Servantage Dixie Sales Inc. of Browns Summit, N.C., will also celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2014. Founded as an automotive parts and service company in 1914, Dixie Sales Company Inc. (DSC) gradually became involved in the lawn and garden parts business in the early 1970s before selling off the automotive business nearly 21 years ago to fully concentrate on the lawn and garden business. By the mid-1990s, DSC became one of the largest OPE distributors in the United States due to its exceptional customer service, and it continues to raise the bar on customer service under its current name, Servantage Dixie Sales Inc. The company is planning to celebrate its 100th anniversary with it business partners throughout 2014, according to its Senior Advisor Jim Starmer, who became the third generation of his family to join DSC in 1969, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and DSC co-founder Leander H. (Jack) Starmer and his father Ernest Starmer, who worked at DSC for nearly 60 years.

To Brinly-Hardy, Toro, Servantage Dixie Sales and undoubtedly countless others companies and individuals in our great industry celebrating notable anniversaries and major milestones in 2014, I would like to commend you on your tremendous success and wish you nothing but the best of luck in the future. Happy New Year!

OPE Editor Steve Noe


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