Hudson Valley Power Equipment
Owner: Scott Tuthill
Employees: 3 full time, 2 part time
Annual Sales: $1 to $2 million
Sales Mix: 66% wholegoods, 19% parts, 15% service
Customer Mix: 70% commercial, 30% consumer
Shop Labor Rate: $65 per hour
Major Lines: Billy Goat, BOB-CAT, Redmax, Ryan, Snapper, Stihl, Toro, Wright
Everything about this outdoor power equipment dealing family has been about setting goals and working nonstop to reach them. Located less than an hour from Manhattan, and surrounded by the box store competition, they built a new dealership from the ground up to attract contractors and prosumers to the commercial-grade equipment that occupies 80% of the new showroom floor. When the green flag waves, the Tuthills are ready to go.
Having been in the industry since 1983, working his way up from the bottom of the dealership chain, Scott Tuthill of Hudson Valley Power Equipment in Monroe, NY, had developed a vision for what his own dealership could be. The vision began with a newly built outdoor power equipment superstore.
A STORE THAT SCORES
The dealership Tuthill originally purchased had been on its lot for 40 years, starting as a simple shop in a garage. “It was just one guy doing part-time work out of his garage,” says Tuthill. “The man he sold to built on, and later we purchased it.” When Tuthill purchased the business, it had seen several additions built on. They continued to work with what they had and installed new lighting, displays, counters and signage.
Business was booming and soon their sales would be too much for this building to hold. “We had a lease with the option to buy after five years,” says Tuthill. “Our fourth year we were already over a million in sales.” The year the Tuthills took over the dealership, the last owner’s sales were at $560,000.
“We were bursting at the seams and there was no way we could function anymore in that building,” explains Tuthill. He was lucky enough to find a piece of property only half a mile down the same stretch of road. On that lot, Tuthill built from the ground up what he envisioned to be a dealership that could compete with the best big boxes in town. Good thing he did, because he was surrounded by them.
In 2004 they moved into their new superstore. “We copied the big box store and did something modern,” says Tuthill. “We wanted to take it to the next level. Our last location was typical of the industry, but we saw the writing on the wall and knew that if you’re not clean and orderly you won’t attract customers—and you won’t last.”
The new store featured showroom-style lighting, public restrooms (the last store only had an employee bathroom behind the shop), clean and durable concrete floors, and equally durable steel walls.
I’ve been to many places that use nice tile or carpeting, and had been framed with drywall,” says Tuthill. “Initially, when you first put it in, it looks great. But after moving equipment around for two or three seasons, there is a lot of upkeep and it starts to look ratty.” Tuthill has maintained a bright but durable look in the dealership, rivaling the big box stores.
COMMERCIAL EQUIPMENT FOCUS
Tuthill attributes the sales success that necessitated the larger dealership to their focus on commercial sales. He wanted to be the go-to guy for commercial equipment, and that is what he soon became. “The business as it existed was not really catering a lot to commercial guys even though the area had experienced huge residential growth,” says Tuthill. “The easy commute to Manhattan made us a bedroom community for New York City.” Within two years of taking over, Tuthill switched sales from 80% residential and 20% commercial to 50-50.