By Joe David
Special to the Times-Democrat
A long-time arborist and landscaper, founder Michael Wintermyer spotted a gap for professional-quality service and equipment for tree professionals and landscapers.
So in 2008, he opened Arbor Tech Supply in Remington to provide both professionals and homeowners with the high-level gear and power equipment they need for their work and projects.
"It is very useful to have a supplier nearby to visit where I can go to handle and evaluate their equipment," said Scott Johnston, owner of Johnston Tree Care in Marshall. "It beats selecting a product from a catalog."
To make certain that professionals like Johnston have the power equipment they need, Wintermyer turned to Husqvarna and Stihl and became a registered dealer for both.
By joining with the two respected companies, he was able to introduce to the local market what many of the large big box hardware stores couldn't: high-end equipment at fair market prices.
According to Anita Gambill, public relations specialist at STIHL Inc., "While the specific criteria [for becoming a registered dealer] may vary from territory to territory, a key requirement is providing service after the sale."
Servicing and selling such top-quality products like Stihl and Husqvarna isn't in itself enough in Wintermyer's mind to succeed. He believes it is urgent that customers understand how to operate powerful machinery safely.
According to Wintermyer, many major manufacturers willingly assist with this by providing the dealers with an intensive, in-depth training program. This is something that many large chain-stores rarely take advantage of.
In order to sell and service products knowledgeably, Wintermyer is selective about what he sells.
By maintaining a small inventory, he and his staff are able to learn their products well and be fully familiar with how to operate them safely.
This provides them with the advantage of helping their customers make sound decisions.
To Wintermyer, this is a important for building customer loyalty. Also, to avoid any regrets after the sale, he makes it a point, whenever necessary, to give his customers a crash-course on how to operate the machinery professionally.
High-performance products can be useless or dangerous to someone not properly taught on how to operate them.
Providing knowledge is one of the key services that Arbor Tech offers. In the event that the customer needs more information, Arbor Tech also has a small library of publications to share with its customers.
Adding on that knowledge base, Wintermyer is now considering plans to build a classroom on his property, which will be used for formal training programs.
"It isn't enough to be able to operate machinery safely" Wintermyer said. "I want my customers to be aware of safe and sound ways of protecting the environment.
Beginning soon, Arbor Tech will start renting quality machinery to its customers.
By expanding into the rental business, he can offer his customers access to professional-quality equipment without tying up their capital in equipment they may use infrequently.
Arbor Tech Supply is located at 11494 James Madison St., Remington, VA 22734
Phone: (540) 439-9038, (877) 506-TREE (8733)
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