Hoy’s brings in Stihl, new services to compete

Scott Swanson

Need some serious work done on that chainsaw? Lawn mower? Hedge trimmer? Need any of the above? Something else?

The days of having to leave town to make that happen may be past for many residents.

Hoy’s Hardware has introduced an entire wing of the store devoted to Stihl products and small engine repair in an effort to fill a need in the community and establish a niche with the arrival of Bi-Mart.

Hoy’s Manager Greg Mahler said he and his father, John, who has owned the store since 1971, decided on Stihl because of the company’s reputation.

“They’re rated No. 1 in the country by Consumer Reports in every one of the categories,” Greg Mahler said. “They have an excellent reputation.”

He said the selection, which occupies the entire back wall of the store, includes equipment for “all the way from homeowners to professionals and all the accessories that go with it.”

“Stihl separates themselves from other competitors in the workplace,” Mahler said. “You can’t just buy a Stihl component, pay for it and walk out the door. We have to put oil and gas in it and make sure everything is working perfectly. We have to show you how to operate it and how to do basic maintenance.

“There’s a whole checklist of things we have to follow that Stihl makes a requirement. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. We can’t cut corners. That’s how they differentiate themselves from their competitors.”

Mahler said he decided to get into high-end equipment sales and small engine repair because market forces demanded it.

“Everybody knows that Bi-Mart’s coming to town would pull some dollars in the area,” he said. Knowing the competition, we had to evaluate our services, our niches that our community had need of. We’ve been expanding our building materials and we’ve doubled our fasteners department. We knew those were areas Bi-Mart does not touch.”

With the recent retirement of at least one local small-engine repair specialist, who worked out of his home, Mahler said he saw a need.

“We knew there was no small-engine repair in the area and no quality equipment. One of the deciding factors in going into small engine repair was that there was almost no one doing it. When I did my research on it, I called up the repair shops and you’re looking at three or four weeks to get things fixed – they’re that backed up.”

The solution for Hoy’s was Reuben Rivas, an experienced small-engine repairman who recently moved back to Sweet Home, where he has lived previously and has family.

“He’s very knowledgable in small engine repair,” Mahler said. “He does good work for us.”

One of the biggest needs for customers, he said, is carburetor repair.

“One of the biggest difficulties consumers are not aware of is that a lot of these are gas-operated pieces of equipment and if you don’t drain the gas, particularly if it has alcohol in it, and you let it sit through the winter, it won’t start. That’s the kind of thing Reuben sees.”

Rivas has added chain and blade sharpening services, as well as custom saw chain-making to the store’s offerings.

Mahler said response from customers has been “excellent” in the approximately one month the store has been offering Stihl and the small-engine services.

“The logging industry has taken a hit over the years but we still have logging going on in our area,” he said. “Loggers, that’s their profession. They don’t want something they have to repair all the time. They want the most bang for their buck.

“Stihl’s unmatched. Their quality control is unbelievable. They strive for perfection. That’s their mission statement.”