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.
Owner, Hedge To Edge Inc., The Mow&r Shop – Monticello, Illinois
Mowing lawns since the age of 12, Scott McFarland was still in college when he incorporated in 2003 as Hedge To Edge Inc., a lawn and landscape management company. But, he says, there was another goal he aspired to: having an OPE dealership.
“I have always had an inkling to own an equipment dealership. Growing up, my father managed a John Deere lawn and garden dealership, and I would spend weekends alongside watching and learning from him.”
It was while he was at the GIE+Expo in October 2019 that he struck up a conversation with the Toro representative there about his idea for a dealership.
“I spent all winter planning, then I bought out a local repair shop – The Mow&R Shop (Monticello outdoor Wares & Repairs), whose owners were looking to retire,” he says. “We received our first delivery of new Toro equipment on March 20, 2020. The following day, on March 21, the state of Illinois was put on a shelter-in-place order for Covid-19. Scary times to be starting a new venture! I guess you can say I have never learned what a ‘normal’ year looks like with the dealership – this is my normal.”
Despite the pandemic challenges, Scott persevered and “was able to grow his business more than 30 percent in very challenging times due to supply-line issues throughout the year,” says a nominator. “He’s always using social media … and works with the community to promote his business.”
Scott stresses that he’s not doing it alone: “Never underestimate the value of a strong team – I couldn’t do anything without them. I once heard ‘You can’t push a rope,’ meaning you lead from the front or by example, not the back. I don’t ask any of my employees to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. I also think there is value to tapping into the skillsets and ideas that employees bring to the table. God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason, so listen twice as much as you speak.”
Hedge To Edge and the Mow&r Shop are now “a one-stop shop for peoples’ lawn and garden needs – we can do the work for them, or provide them the equipment, supplies and hands-on knowledge,” says Scott. “My son is now helping with equipment assembly, just as I did with my dad. Because we, like everyone else, are dealing with a labor shortage, my dad is now working in the office of my business, so it’s very full circle.”
The dealership currently offers Toro and Echo equipment, and also sells a variety of landscape supplies, including bulk products (mulch, rock, sand), seed and fertilizer. “I’ve run a lot of different brands of equipment over the years, so I have that experience as a practitioner to back up my recommendations, not just a sales pitch,” he says. Future plans include offering rentals and, in five to 10 years, a second location.
HEDGE TO EDGE