Schaefer’s Indiana Turf Outdoor Power Equipment, Fort Wayne, is celebrating over 100 years in business. Four generations of the Schaefer family have grown the business into what it is today.
Ryan Schaefer has been at the helm since 2009. His focus is on building quality customer relationships and selling American-built products such as Gravely and Ariens outdoor machines.
“We are one of the larger Gravely and Ariens dealers in the northern Indiana market. These are our bread-and-butter brands,” he said.
Besides consistently achieving outstanding sales, Ryan works on building customer relationships.
“What I always tell people is, ‘You never buy a piece of equipment. You buy a dealer. Parts and service matters. All equipment makes tall grass short. If you are comfortable with the person you are dealing with and you are comfortable with the service side of it, the sales part of it is nothing. It is really the parts and service that makes the big difference,’” Ryan said.
Ryan’s close-knit family and his early introduction to the family business have helped him.
“One big thing I was blessed with when I took over the business was having a mentor like my father (Steve), but especially a mentor like my grandpa (Elmer). It was a really good blessing to sit and talk with him and to learn. He was a man who had been through wars, the Great Depression, and the ups and downs in the economy,” Ryan said.
The dealership began with his great-grandfather Fred Schaefer in 1919. It was incorporated in 1929. Elmer took over running the business in the 1950s and 1960s. Steve steered the business throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Now, a possible fifth generation of the Schaefer family currently includes three boys ages 10, 6 and 5.
Finally, Ryan knows potential customers can easily get information about outdoor power equipment anywhere. From traditional word-of-mouth to modern online searches, equipment specifications are readily available. Additionally, these same sources often provide helpful reviews.