Our 2022 40 Under 40 Awards featured young OPE leaders from across the country. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll highlight several of our 2022 award-winners here. Our winners were chosen not only for their numerous accomplishments and individual strengths, but also for their passion for their dealerships and outdoor power equipment – and the promise they bring for the future of our industry. Of course, you can check out the entire 40 Under 40 roster in our May/June issue.
President, Neil’s Small Engine, Inc. – Larose, Homa and Thibodaux, Louisiana
In August 2021, Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana. The second-most damaging and intense hurricane in the state’s history, it caused $55 billion in damages and multiple deaths. Just one of the many structural victims: Neil’s Small Engine – its main location and headquarters in Larose was entirely destroyed, while its two other locations were also damaged.
Within a week, however, Scotty Adams managed to get one of the locations up and running despite not having power for a long period of time, says a nominator. “He was able to obtain generators and chainsaws to make available to our clientele rather quickly after our initial inventory ran out. Plus, we had our business system up and running right away, making it easier for customers needing to use credit cards and those in need of repairs. Our third store was up and running soon thereafter – with limited resources, but he found ways to make it work.”
Today, Scotty is already preparing for the dealership’s future. He has obtained 17 acres on which to build their new headquarters facility, slated for 2023. He’ll be spearheading its design, which he says will incorporate features that will help Neil’s be more productive.
Scotty has been working at the family-owned dealership since his high-school days, and has “done all the work – from sweeping the floor to mechanic work, to accounting, parts, sales, pick-up/delivery and more, so I can jump in anywhere.”
He puts a major emphasis on customer service: “I tell our employees that our customers can buy the best mower on the planet, but if the dealership doesn’t take of the customer, they’re never buying that brand again. A bad customer experience hurts the brand and the dealership, too. But if you take care of the customer, they’ll buy from you again – that’s our main focus. I’m not trying to sell the mower to the customer, I’m trying to sell us to the customer.”
Taking care of the customer can range from free delivery and pickup while a mower is under warranty, a loaner program, and sometimes even helping out customers with machinery that’s out of warranty. “We keep the customers coming back by helping them out with issues,” says Scotty.
What sets Scotty apart, says a nominator, “is his understanding that changes are necessary to keep the momentum rolling. He’s not afraid to put new methods into action, and he has the ability to surround himself with the right personnel. He’s also not hesitant to listen to input from employees to make the workplace better and increase volume thus producing profitability.”
“I’m not afraid of change,” agrees Scotty. “It’s something I got from my dad, who isn’t afraid of change either.”
Primary equipment lines at Neil’s Small Engine include Ariens, Gravely, Scag and Echo.
NEIL’S SMALL ENGINE