By Steve Noe
For the past two issues of Outdoor Power Equipment, we’ve heard from some of the most well-respected executives about the state of our great industry. Personally, I would like to thank all of them for graciously taking time out of their busy holiday schedules to step up and share their unique insights and bold predictions for this year.
Now that you’ve had some time to reflect on 2013 and look ahead to the 2014 season, we wanted your perspective about the state of the industry, which is why our “Dealers’ Domain” question of the month was “How was business in 2013, and what is your outlook for 2014?” I’m extremely pleased to report that we received excellent feedback, with nearly 40 dealers submitting responses, and I’d like to thank all of them as well for taking the time out of their busy spring prep schedules to participate.
I don’t want to steal the thunder of those who did participate in “Dealers’ Domain” on pages 24-29. However, I did want to single out one observation made by at least a couple of dealers that I strongly believe will be working in your favor this spring.
I’ve lived in Chicago nearly my entire life, and I can’t recall a more brutal winter than our current one with Mother Nature throwing everything at us from polar vortexes and subsequent sub-zero weather to above-average snowfall and even rain. It’s been so dangerously cold here that school was called off for my kids for four days (twice on back-to-back days) in January alone. As of February 10, we had 20 days in which the temperature dropped below zero degrees. If that wasn’t bad enough, it seemed like every day that wasn’t below zero, it was snowing.
As you may have sensed, I’m suffering from a major case of cabin fever. I’m ready to be done with winter and can’t wait for spring to arrive. And once spring arrives, I’m really looking forward to spending as much time as possible outdoors and working on my yard. I can’t wait to fire up my mower for the first time and cut the grass. I’m also excited about putting my other outdoor power equipment to work.
“After the winter that we are having, people will be ready to get out in their yards, and that should be good for business,” said Ralph Miller, owner of Ralph’s Small Engine, LLC, in Elkville, Ill.
And in Batavia, N.Y., Guy Clark, owner of Cedar Street Sales and Rental, shares the same sentiments as we do in Illinois. “People are chomping at the bit for spring,” he said. “We need to be ready to hit the ground running as soon as it warms up, and we are. There is a lot of pent-up demand to get out in their yards, so early sales will be strong. As long as the weather is in our favor, I expect 2014 to be a very good year. Let’s hope for an early spring.”
Here’s hoping that spring does arrive early and the pent-up demand does lead to a great 2014!
OPE Editor Steve Noe