Industry feel, dealing with dealers and more new products

Industry feel, dealing with dealers and more new products

Day 2 of GIE+EXPO saw 80-degree temperatures and upbeat contractors.

October 26, 2012
Industry News

The word of the GIE+EXPO so far is “up.” As in, business is up, according to a number of contractors Lawn & Landscape mingled with during Day 2 of the show. While some contractors who offered snow services took a bit of a hit, they’ve righted the ship and have made better profits, overall, than in the past. They also are expecting an increase in business in 2013.

Read more about the rest of day 2, including what dealers are saying and what new products were unveiled.

Table to table. Dealers shared experiences before the opening of the main show at the Dealer Resource Roundtable Breakfast Thursday morning. In its third year, the breakfast brings together dealers to discuss important industry topics.

Throughout the breakfast, about 100 dealers moved from table to table to join in the conversation about hiring and retaining employees, dealer branding and advertising or EPA regulations, among others. But dealers weren’t just there to pick up advice from the discussion leaders.

“You always pick up something from another dealer,” says Kelly Sayles of Jackson Outdoor Equipment in Jackson, Miss.

The discussions flowed more smoothly than in years past, said Kelly’s husband, Bob, thanks to rotations for dealers between topics every half hour.

Dealers learned from each others’ experiences, from new industry players to veterans.

“Everybody needs words of encouragement,” said Ray Matsumoto, of Gardenland Power Equipment in Campbell, Calif.

The roundtable breakfast was sponsored by Stihl and Gravely.

New products

Gravely introduced the new Pro-Turn series of mowers for commercial consumers at an opening price point, joining the Pro-Turn 100, Pro-Turn 200 and Pro-Turn 400 series. The Gravely Pro-Turn series features a transaxle design by Hydro Gear. The new ZT-3200 integrated pump/wheel motors feature a 1.125-inch axle shaft for increased weight capacity and steel-cut gears for enhanced durability and serviceability.

Gravely also announced the launch of the 21-inch XD3 walk-behind mower featuring a 4.5-hp Subaru EA175V engine, focusing on user-friendly features for homeowners. Gravely’s XD3 features Rite-Hite handle bar height adjustment that allows operators to adjust the height of the handle bar quickly and easily while standing in the operating position. The handle bars can also be folded down or into an upright position for easier, more compact storage. The Pro-Turn 460 and 472 LP models bring a propane option to the lineup.

Mean Green Products introduced their new WBX-33 lithium-powered commercial walk-behind mower. The 36-volt electric mower comes at a 33” deck, running on one lithium energy module for about a 2-4hour running time at 4-5 miles per hour per charge. The mower causes zero harmful emissions, and runs at 73 decibels and 16 horsepower. Running the electric-powered mower compared to gas power saves an estimated $5.09 per hour. The aviation-inspired design brings it in at 365 pounds, lighter than gas models on average.

Each lithium energy module weighs 50-70 pounds and lasts up to 1,500 charge cycles, about 6,000 hours for each LEM80. It can be quick-charged in two hours up to overnight.

Vermeer introduced its newest brush chipper. With the ability to chip heavily branched material up to 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter, the Vermeer BC900XL can be used for line clearing and general cleanup needs.

The BC900XL features a large 9-inch x 14-inch (23 cm x 35.6 cm) feed opening to help boost productivity by reducing the need to trim heavily branched material before feeding it into the chipper. A 33-inch-diameter (83.8 cm) disc rotates at 1400 rpm and features two steel chipper knives with two usable cutting edges each. Two shear bars also have two usable edges to help extend wear life.

Another feature – the patented SmartFeed system – monitors engine rpm and automatically stops and reverses the single horizontal feed roller when feeding larger, hardwood material, helping to enhance chipping productivity. A 40 horsepower (29.8 kW) Kohler Command CH1000 gas engine provides the power to pull and process difficult branch material. The engine also offers a no-spill oil-filter-change feature for ease of serviceability.

On Friday. Aqua Paving Construction has been installing 5,000 square feet of permeable interlocking concrete pavement at the Ky. Expo Center this week during Hardscape North America in Louisville. On Friday at 11 am the Louisville Fire Department will demonstrate how permeable pavers aid in water runoff when 1,800 gallons of water are sprayed on the surface