Weno Power Equipment looks a lot like many other successful lawn and garden equipment dealerships of similar volume. But in some aspects, they look very different.
Located between Greensboro and Winston-Salem, NC, in the city of High Point, Weno Power has been around a long time; 57 years to be exact. It's a multi-generation dealership. They've built their reputation on service and parts availability. In fact, like many dealers, they've seen a revenue shift toward parts and service over the last few years. And even though they specialize in commercial, namely landscape contractors, they've also seen a slight shift toward more homeowner business.
On the other hand, Weno Power doesn't have a spacious showroom. They don't sell three or four riding mower lines, nor do they sell big tractors or skid steers. And, even though they do several hundred thousand dollars in parts and service business, they do not have a computerized business management system.
No sir. Weno Power Equipment does it their way. They're highly focused and a bit old-school, but it seems to work.
"One thing I've learned over the years is that when one part of your business drops off, another one usually rises," says David Garner, the third-generation owner who took over in 1996. "You need a lot of different pieces to put this puzzle together, especially in a place like North Carolina where we don't get much snow.”
A little of this and that
Weno Power focuses on five main equipment lines: Cub Cadet, Walker, Honda, Echo and Stihl. Garner says these lines allow the dealership to draw in several types of customer segments, including both residential and commercial lawn maintenance contractors, and both mid-market and high-end homeowners.
The dealership also sells generators, tillers, chipper/shredders, concrete saws, fertilizer spreaders, fun-karts and trailer accessories, in addition to selling and renting aerators and dethatchers. While these categories don’t put up huge numbers on an individual basis, together they are a sizable piece of the revenue pie. “We even stock a few snowthrowers every year—because we want to be that dealership customers think of first when they need something,” Garner explains.
Weno Power Equipment has also begun selling smaller compact utility tractors. The tractor market is actually where the dealership established its roots many years ago. Weno Power used to be known as Garner’s Motor Service, and was an award-winning Case dealership. But by the 1980s they moved away from the Case line—and the ag business in general—to make a push into lawn and garden. They changed the dealership name to Weno Power Equipment, a play on the phrase “we know power equipment.”
Now the dealership is back into tractors with the Yanmar brand. “Right now we’re focusing on just the smallest model, the Yanmar Sc2400,” Garner points out. “We need to see how it goes before moving into the bigger models. There is a lot of competition in those higher-horsepower categories, so we’re taking our time in building up our tractor business.”
Garner has also been taking his time in implementing some facility renovations at his decades-old dealership. That’s for good reason. First, Garner is a conservative businessperson who doesn’t like to take on a lot of debt. Secondly, and more importantly, he’s been waiting to see how a highway project turned out.
The City of High Point widened the highway that passes in front of Weno Power Equipment. Garner wasn’t sure how the change would impact the flow of traffic in and out of his dealership, not to mention the physical size of his parking lot. Now that the highway project is completed, Garner is ready to revive plans for a project or two of his own.
For starters, he’s looking to have new siding put on the building’s exterior, just to freshen things up a bit. Going forward, a new warehouse could be built behind the dealership; a concrete slab already exists, and shipping containers are sitting there now. Garner is even thinking about tearing down his house, which sits on the same plot of land. That section of the property could be used for yet another storage or service building, or even additional parking.