COVER STORY- Stephens Garage Finds New Opportunities –
LUVERNE, Alabama – There’s always plenty of activity as lawn and garden and automotive customers come and go at the cool building on the south end of old downtown Luverne, with its county seat courthouse and two redlights, straddling U.S. Hwy 331 in south central Alabama. The building with its striking curved window and full lot of autos and tractors is the home of Stephens Garage and Small Motors, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022.
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Opportunity Knocks For Stephens Garage
Article by Dan Shell, Senior Editor, Power Equipment Trade
LUVERNE, Alabama – There’s always plenty of activity as lawn and garden and automotive customers come and go at the cool building on the south end of old downtown Luverne, with its county seat courthouse and two redlights, straddling U.S. Hwy 331 in south central Alabama.
The building with its striking curved window and full lot of autos and tractors is the home of Stephens Garage and Small Motors, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022 since owner Keith Stephens, 53, bought the building in 1997. Originally a Chevrolet dealership that dates back to the 1940s, the building and surrounding lots offer plenty of room to operate an automotive service center and lawn and garden dealership from the same facility.
Stephens worked at the dealership as a mechanic when he was in his 20s, then after the dealership closed he rented the service area and started the automotive service center.
The automotive business rocked along, with the operation doing service and warranty work for another car dealership that rented some of the lot; Stephens also expanded into working on industrial haul trucks and trailer trucks.
In 2010, he made the move into premium lawn and garden equipment. His late wife, Janna, managed a local Jiffy Lube near a small dealership and noticed the customer traffic at the operation. (She died tragically and unexpectedly in 2017 of a heart condition.)
Janna was the one who had the idea the garage ought to go into the lawn and garden segment, Stephens remembers, especially after the nearby dealership went out of business. Stephens Garage started with two product lines the business still has today: Husqvarna (the only handheld brand) and Ferris. The dealership added Mahindra tractors in 2019 and Scag mowers in 2022. The dealership also carries Kawasaki and Briggs & Stratton engines, along with Oregon aftermarket parts. In these times of parts scarcity and backorders, the dealership also works with RBI and NHC Distributors for their parts needs.
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