Otten's does not have a website, but customers are allowed to purchase items from them through stihlusa.com and gravely.com. They do, however, insist that a customer be in person at delivery time.
"The customer must pick up their order here or we must be able to deliver it to them directly," explains Otten. "We like to go over the pre-delivery check list and demonstrate proper operation of the equipment to them."
In an attempt to deal with the pressures of operating near big box stores and low-balling competition, the Otten brothers have experimented with products that promise higher margins. While it's good to look for new products and avenues for profit, it did not turn out as successfully as they hoped.
"We fell victim to cheap off-brand generators when we were looking for a way to increase profit margins," says Otten. "We want to supply our customers with quality products that meet their needs and have adequate support on our end."
When the product manufacturer started to get in the way of their promise of quality parts and service, the Ottens pulled back from working with the company. They wanted to maintain their focus on quality products, and also maintain the trust of their customers.
"Unfortunately, the companies we tried had dismal tech support and even worse parts availability," shares Otten. "One company did not even have and English-speaking person to answer our questions. We had to contact our supplier, and three or four days later we might get a call back with no parts available in the U.S."
The Ottens didn’t want the poor support of the new product lines to get in the way of their long-standing relationships with customers. Since the days their parents operated the dealership, they have always promised to be fair and honest with customers.
"Since the passing of our parents, not much has changes in our business practices," says Otten. "They instilled real good core values in our lives and we have continued to live by them. Be fair to your customers, be honest with everyone, and be friendly. Everything else will take care of itself."