Noticing a need in the Columbiana area, Mid-State Farmers Cooperative manager Chris Duke decided to open a lawn mower shop in his store. Bobby Lucas (pictured), the mechanic for the shop, said they opened in January and have already seen a great deal of business.
Mid-State Farmers Co-op’s Customer Appreciation Day was a great day for the store to promote its new lawn mower shop. Noticing a need for such a service in the area, Manager Chris Duke decided to move forward with his decision to open the lawn mower shop within his store.
"The lawn mower shop ties in with what we’re already doing," Duke said. We sell a lot of grass seed, fertilizer and pre-emergent, so our customers were already coming into the store to buy these products. But they had nowhere to get their lawnmowers serviced. We’re tying all these products and services into one package so they won’t have to go anywhere else. They can even buy their equipment here."
The shop opened January 5, and Duke has a well-experienced repairman in Bobby Lucas who, like Duke, realized the need for this service in the Columbiana area.
"We had several customers coming into the store requesting this type service," Lucas said. "We don’t have a shop in the area, so we’re providing a shop with dependable service to our customers.
And Lucas noted the customers seem to be happy with the shop.
"So far the customers we’ve serviced have been really happy," Lucas said. "And we’ve got a lot of customers tell us they’re planning to bring their stuff in soon."
Although their primary service is for lawn mowers, the shop isn’t just for mowers.
"We’ve worked on small tractors, 4-wheelers, weed eaters, hedge trimmers, chainsaws, go-carts, manure spreaders, John Deere Gators and just about anything you can use on a farm," Lucas said.
Lucas said they can service most anything up to a 35 horsepower tractor.
With spring just on the horizon, Lucas is already busy and expects to get even busier.
"Right now I’m getting something pretty much everyday or every other day," Lucas said. "When spring hits, we’ll probably have to hire another mechanic. I look for it to grow to the point we have to build another building before long."
Some services at the shop include blade sharpening, engine rebuilds, belt repairs, welding on the machines, oil changes, tune-ups and general service.
Lucas’s qualifications include certification in every field on mowers — Kawasaki, Kohler, MTD, Honda, Tecumseh.
Mid-State Farmers Co-op has also recently hired a new salesperson for the lawn mower shop. Joyce Falkner joined the Co-op team in March and is handling parts sales. She also handles over-the-counter parts sales. Soon, they will be selling parts over the store’s Facebook website.
Lucas is excited about getting the shop running and thankful to be apart of the Mid-State Farmers Cooperative team.
"I’m looking forward to the growth [of the shop]," he said. "I’m glad they brought me aboard. We’re like one big happy family; I couldn’t ask for a better place to work."
Grace Smith is an associate editor for AFC Cooperative Farming News.