AUGUST 2022

COVER STORY- Alabama Dealership Tightens Up –

FLORALA, Alabama – Located at the very bottom of Alabama along a major highway, Stateline Equipment is growing with owners John and Lis McQuaig, who acquired the dealership five years ago. The two live locally and had grown tired of a more than an hour commute to the same car dealership where he was general manager and she was working in the finance department. The south Alabama lawn and garden dealership had been in business for 23 years when the couple began talking with the previous owner about buying it. Lis notes they saw lots of opportunity, and the owner was nearing retirement and not looking to expand. “We decided to take it and run with it,” she says.

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Stateline Equipment

Article by Dan Shell, Senior Editor, Power Equipment Trade

FLORALA, Alabama – Located at the very bottom of Alabama along a major highway, Stateline Equipment is growing with owners John and Lis McQuaig, who acquired the dealership five years ago. The two live locally and had grown tired of a more than an hour commute to the same car dealership where he was general manager and she was working in the finance department. The south Alabama lawn and garden dealership had been in business for 23 years when the couple began talking with the previous owner about buying it. Lis notes they saw lots of opportunity, and the owner was nearing retirement and not looking to expand. “We decided to take it and run with it,” she says.

They bought the dealership in time for their first spring-summer sales and service season in May 2017. “We cleaned and cleaned and cleaned,” Lis remembers, noting the dealership had collected quite a bit of junk and scrap metal over the years. Several of the big initial improvements were a coat of paint, building a wall to separate the shop from the showroom and paving the parking area and parts of the back lot as well.

While both husband and wife were closely involved in their new business, initially John worked full-time while Lis continued part-time at the auto dealership for a couple of years, moving into a full-time role at Stateline Equipment three years ago.

Being new to the lawn and garden business, Lis says they didn’t make too many changes the first year: Although she had a long list of things to do when they started, they wanted to see how the business ran and the way things worked before making major changes. Since then, in addition to the paving and paint, the new owners have:

  • Invested in a new Infinity computerized business management system from c-Systems, replacing the archaic blue screen system used previously.
  • Updated the former one-page web site with a bright and engaging site that offers plenty of information about the Stateline team and their products and services.
  • Expanded product offerings and markets by bringing in Spartan mowers and Spartan’s Intimidator side-by-side UTV line that put the business in the recreational equipment market.
  • Invested in the staff, reaching goals that included becoming a Scag Platinum dealer and Stihl Silver dealer (soon to be a Stihl Gold Level dealer by the end of 2022). The Briggs technician on staff has received Master Technician Certificate—“a celebrated milestone,” Lis says—and the dealership supports ongoing education and certification for other lines as well.

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