COVER STORY- Service Drives It Home For Colorado Dealership –
LONGVIEW, Texas – For Vietnam Veteran Leslie Lawrence owning a successful lawn and garden power equipment dealership wasn’t always part of his plan. In addition to his service with The United States Navy, Lawrence is a graduate of Texas A&M University—but he says he taught exactly one day before he had to quit. Teaching wasn’t for him.
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Leslie Lawrence Does It His Way
Article by Jessica Johnson, Managing Editor, Power Equipment Trade
LONGVIEW, Texas – For Vietnam Veteran Leslie Lawrence owning a successful lawn and garden power equipment dealership wasn’t always part of his plan. In addition to his service with The United States Navy, Lawrence is a graduate of Texas A&M University—but he says he taught exactly one day before he had to quit. Teaching wasn’t for him. Thankfully, his wife Jhonnie had a very good job as an RN, working in a local hospital all the way up to Clinical Supervisor, when in the early 1990s a little mechanic shop in their hometown of Gilmer, Texas came up for sale. Lawrence’s son, Richard, says really his dad bought the shop to piddle, work on something here and there.
Lawrence says he poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the little pre-fab building, with the desire to change the opinion of small engine shops. He says back then you always saw them cluttered with junk everywhere (including old, worn-out equipment), no air conditioning, and dirty floors. He didn’t want that to be his shop. So he didn’t let his place get dingy. The lights always shone bright—just as his faith in Jesus shone bright in his interactions with everyone he came across. In 1993, it was just Lawrence working the shop, with his oldest son Richard helping at night and on weekends when needed. By 1999, the “little shop” had made quite a name for itself and was growing quickly. Richard was needed full-time and made a quick transition as the Gilmer shop began selling more and more Snapper mowers.
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POWERlines: Git ‘Er Mowed & Git ‘Er Sold
When I visited this month’s cover dealer, Leslie Lawrence, he told me about how Toro helped him get in business. There’s a lot more to it than that basic sentence, but the gist was, after making such a great name for himself in small town Texas as an honest and hardworking sales and service center, Lawrence got attention from all sorts of folks—a local newspaper once drew a caricature of Lawrence that now graces the side of his building and the back of every Leslie’s Outdoor Power t-shirt.
But when some of the big manufacturers started looking to expand outward from the Dallas metroplex eastward, before you hit the Louisiana line, Lawrence’s name popped up.
Article By Jessica Johnson, Managing Editor, Power Equipment Trade
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following companies, who will be on exhibit at the upcoming Equip Expo, in Louisville, Kentucky, submitted editorial profiles to complement their advertisements placed in Power Equipment Trade October 2023.
INDUSTRYvoices: Valuing Your Business
Running your own business requires lots of investment in your life, money, time, and effort. Endless amounts of hours have been spent operating, maintaining, and adjusting the business to stay competitive, profitable, and valuable. After all your hard work and dedication, you may ask yourself, how much is my business actually worth? While most business owners could claim a ballpark value based on their income and assets, it is important to follow the correct procedures and have an independent business valuation.
Article by Ian C. Perry & Roman A. Basi
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