Celebrating the reopening of his successful lawn equipment repair business, Doug Feldmann says his versatility and ability to branch out have contributed to his success.
Doug Feldmann, right, owner of Feldmann Power Equipment Repair in Brighton, gets help from his technician son Alex, 18, left and his father, Wayne, at the shop, 808 N. Main St.
"My brother used to work for me years ago, and he always said if there was a waterway coming through here, I would probably be working on barges," Feldmann said, laughing.
After a short hiatus, Feldmann Power Equipment Repair is up and running at 808 N. Main St.
"A lot of people get confused when it comes to Main Street in Brighton," Feldmann said. "We are next to Huebener Dairy and Seniker-Edwards Century 21, so we are easy to find."
Feldmann provides service for most makes and models of lawn equipment, mowers, tillers, utility tractors, gas and diesel engines, and ATVs. The business also provides welding and fabrication services as well as a full parts department.
"We have a great reputation in the area, I think," he said. "When I first started my business, I was very John Deere-oriented, and a lot of people still know me for the work I did then."
Feldmann opened his first shop in Brighton back in 1999. Around 2006, he moved to a larger location when he took over the old Country Town Store location in Godfrey, and now has returned to his old stomping grounds.
"I have an associate's degree in auto diesel technology," he said. "I started out working for the original owners of Country Town. I was the manager of parts and service there."
Having free rein to operate the departments as he wanted, Feldmann gained a lot of experience during his six years with the company on running a business, and when Country Town changed ownership, he decided the time was right to branch out on his own.
"I thought it was a great time to try starting our own family business," he said. "I was more or less running my own business within Country Town; just about the only thing I was not doing was writing the checks. I was on top of what was going on around there anyway, and I think that gave me the (preparation that I needed to run my own business)."
Feldmann said his shop is very much a family affair, with his father, Wayne, and his stepson, Alex, working alongside him. Wife, Sheryl, and daughters Sarah and Elizabeth also provide support and assistance when needed.
"A family business is a great thing to have nowadays," Feldmann said.
Wayne Feldmann is retired from a long career with the Ford Motor Co. and works with his son full time. When not working at the shop, Alex McClary is attending college to earn a degree in welding technology.
"He is learning a lot from school, and also gaining invaluable hands-on experience here," Feldmann said. "It is good to build a solid foundation, and I think he has a great career ahead of him."
At the end of the day, Feldmann said his career is built on earning the loyalty and trust of his customer base.
"We really work hard to provide good service," he said. "Out of 2,000 customers, we might have one that is unhappy."
Feldmann Repair finds most of its business comes from the Brighton area, with a growing base of customers from the Alton and Godfrey areas as well as regions north of Brighton.
"I grew up here, and built my (client base) here," Feldmann said. "That made it an easy transition when the time came to open my own shop. My reputation was already established here. People knew that if they brought their equipment here, it would be fixed as quickly as possible and it would be done right. Our success rate at the shop is very high, and I think that has really helped us a lot."
The experienced technician said customers should not wait until their riding mower quits when the yard is half-mowed before tracking him down.
"If you can't remember the last time you had your equipment serviced, then it is time to call us," he said.
Feldmann Power Equipment Repair is open 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. until noon on Saturday. For information, call (618) 372-4400.