Art White

How has your dealership recently been affected by Big Box competition and what changes have you made to stay competitive?

"Big Box stores are just a newer gimmick. Yes, they can and do work and they can be successful in gaining business over others. They offer flexibility of hours for when someone breaks down on Saturday afternoon. The customer can buy a new lawn mower to get the lawn mowed for company on Sunday. There are people that like that ability and with the mentality of replacing instead of repairing, they are going to sell.

They have hurt some dealers more than others, but a dealer is another connecting point for many manufactures to end users for knowledge and service. However, some of the box stores are starting to service lawn mowers and we find them actually stocking parts for some of what they sell.

Some customers may feel they are getting a better price, but, every dealer has a neighbor that gives the margins away on the new equipment.

I have watched many types of business come and go through the years and the one that is still growing is the internet. It's not done yet and it's taking more profit from local dealers and big boxes. I have often found that many of them have great margins built in and the unsuspecting consumer is not taking the time to check what they are really paying for. It is not always cheaper just because you see it on the screen. With that in mind, education of the customer about the dealership is a must to retain them.”

Art White, White’s Farm, White’s Farm Supply, Canastota, N.Y.