East Texas Farm & Ranch Living
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Service Power Equipment Company Tyler company fills niche for outdoor equipment sales, services By Jo Anne Embleton Jacksonville Daily Progress
local equipment company that caters to the needs of homeowners and businesses alike has filled a niche in specialized sales and services of outdoor equipment. Service Power Equipment Company, located at 125 FM 346 East, south of Tyler, originally was part of a small chain rental and equipment business founded in Sulphur Springs, but became an independent company earlier this year that is owned and operated by Tommy Richards, said manager Stephen Leach. “Now, we are focused on sales, service and parts,” he said. “We’ve been here for a little over three years, but we split off, started a new business in February,” said Stephen Leach, manager. The mother company – founded more than a dozen years ago – focused on equipment rental, but “with the rental business, you have to have a service department, and we already had the service side. But a lot of contractors would look back over their rental expenses for the year and (realize they) could have bought one for the cost of rental,” he said. “And when they started asking if we could get equipment for them, we started moving into that area, because the better option for them, often, is to buy.” Clientele from across northeast Texas purchase mowers from SPE, stretching from Dallas to Texarkana and Shreveport, to Lufkin; from Athens to Greenville to the Mount Pleasant/Mount Vernon area south to Smith County and the surrounding areas, he said. “Because we service and sell units at four locations, we did not expect to retain a large percentage of that,” Leach said. “Several other small dealers have gone out of business, and because of that, we’ve inherited their customers. People knew
Photo by Jo Anne Embleton
In addition to keeping a supply of items for certain name brand equipment, Tyler-based Service Power Equipment Company also focuses on sales and service of those brands, according to store manager Stephen Leach. come to us because we carried the parts they need, and we can do the service and warranties they can use from companies they purchase from. We are not the only game in town, but for the lines we carry (we are). SPE can service any and all types of zero turn mowers, but specialize in Grasshopper, Ferris, Snapper and Simplicity, and can handle the majority of small engines, not just mowers or zero turns. They also are an authorized ASV dealer, which is a line for track loaders and skid loaders. Other brands carried by the Tyler business are RedMax, Yanmar, DR, Troybilt, RedMax, Jonsered; they service Brigg-Stratton, Kawasaki and Kohler engines as well. The company has two sets of clientele: About 60 percent is comprised of homeowners with more than one acre, while the remaining 40 percent –
commercial landscapers/lawn care services and farmers – represent the highest volume of sales. “Our biggest sales is on the ASV forestry machines, and then commercial, you see a lot of zero-turn mowers,” Leach said. But the company is primarily targeting those homeowners wishing to make a serious investment in equipment that will provide years of service, he pointed out. “We want to help them find the right fit for what they’re going to do, and we have a knowledgeable enough staff to be able to do that – we listen first, and then make recommendations, because we always want them to be happy with their final decision. We want a repeat client base, not just a sale,” he said. The goal of SPE is to be the best in customer service, he said, adding that one of the seven-member staff is a master service technician. “We might not be the fastest or the cheapest” – the company’s goal is too stay under a two-week turnaround – “but our goal is to be the best,” he pointed out. SPE’s location at the intersection of U.S. Highway 69 and FM 36, just south of the Toll Road 49, is in a prime location, ideally
able to catch the eye of commuters. However, Leach said the biggest challenge they face “is getting people to know what we do here. “We’ve done (a variety of advertising), and somebody will still walk in the door and say, ‘I’ve lived here two years, and I never knew quite what you are!’ So, people have thought we were a tractor repair shop; they have thought we were mower sellers only, that we were used equipment dealers … our electronic sign outside gives the message, but people usually pass by so quickly that they can’t read it all,” he said. The other great challenge is handling growth. “We are a small business just going through the growing pains of getting the right people on staff,” he said. Service Power Equipment Company is located in southern Smith County, 125 FM 346 East at U.S. Highway 69). Summer hours are from 7:30 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The business is closed Sundays. To learn more, contact them at 903630-6147 or visit the Facebook page, “Service Power Equipment Company.”
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Photo by Jo Anne Embleton
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Service Power Equipment Company manager Stephen Leach looks over items stocked at the 125 FM 346 East store, located south of Tyler. The company originally was part of a small chain rental and equipment business but recently launched as an independent company to serve the needs of regional property owners and businesses.
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A special supplement to the Palestine Herald-Press focusing on East Texas Farm and Ranch Living.