That's a hypothetical question a manufacturer posed to dealers during a recent conversation. His point: Many dealerships' 8 a.m.-5 p.m. business hours don't work for people with jobs. That means they will drive by your dealership with its "closed" sign straight to a major retailer, one with lights blazing and cash registers beeping.

Extended hours are a business decision you have to weigh as your busy season kicks off. It goes back to the overall strategy of understanding what it's like to be a rural lifestyler. With spring just days away, I thought I would share a glimpse into what's happening in my part of the country.

We recently got a slight reprieve from the two-year drought that has choked the life out of our property. Now that nearly 20 inches of snow from two blizzards has melted, we're finally feeling a bit of optimism.

I'm just itching to get back on our zero-turn mower, one of my favorite pieces of equipment. I think in the last two years, we've mowed less than a dozen times. We're anxious to fill the gaps where we removed dozens of shrubs and trees. We may plant larger trees to reclaim some shade, so that means our post hole digger will be put to work.

Our small pond has been dry for two years, but maybe spring rains will fill it. Our skid steer and chain saw will help remove the debris. And, it's also time to paint trim on the house. That could mean renting equipment to reach the heights.


These are just some of the tasks on our list. And by tasks I don't mean work. We love improving our property. It doesn't matter that our nearest neighbor is a mile away and sometimes the mail truck is the only vehicle to travel down our road. We have nobody to impress but ourselves.

Recent economic stats should boost your optimism, too. Rural lifestylers with long project lists may have money to spend. Figures from the U.S. Labor Dept. show the unemployment rate was 7.7% in February. That's the lowest rate since December 2008 and down from 7.9% in January.

So, I encourage you to think like a rural lifestyler when you're planning for the spring selling season. Maybe it is time to take another look at how late you stay open, how you're motivating your sales team, and how you're making sure rural lifestylers know about all the equipment, supplies and services you offer. 

Lynn Woolf,
Managing Editor
Rural Lifestyle Dealer