Harrison Outdoors employees Ricky Cone, customer service representative; Gaynell Partain, customer service representative; Patrick Stark, parts manager; Ross Harrison, owner; Chris Edmondson, service manager/technician and Alex Parker, technician, pose for a photo on Friday at the store’s new location. / Nick Griffin
CULLMAN – Friday morning was the grand opening for Harrison Outdoors, formerly Greencraft Mowers, and customers found their way to the new location as soon as the doors opened. Owner Ross Harrison has shifted to the new location at 1631 Second Ave. NW, just around the corner from the original Greencraft location at 1414 Sportsman Lake Road NW.
Rebranding has been on Harrison’s mind ever since he first bought the business.
“I’ve been thinking about it since I bought my uncle out in 2013. Obviously, I wanted to recoup some funds before I just jumped into a new facility, but I really got serious in the last year. We’ve just outgrown where we were; it’s an outdated facility, we needed more room, we needed something up to date and we needed to be able to provide better efficiency on service and a cleaner sales facility so that’s what we did. This deal worked out to lease this building the first of the year, so we’ve been working hard since January 1 to be able to open before spring.”
The old location is still being put to use, for the benefit of the new facility. Because the new location is close by, Harrison and his staff have been able to use the original building as a warehouse and an extension of the new facility. The proximity to the old store also means that customers new and old won’t have to learn any new directions to find the new store.
“I didn’t want to go far. We’ve been established; this is an established business that was started in the late 80s and so we obviously get a lot of new customers, but we also have a lot of old customers that are very familiar with where we are. So, I didn’t want to have to train every old customer we had that’s 10 miles away or however far they are,” said Harrison. “The big advantage is we are very close to where we were, basically just around the corner and also our buildings almost touch in the back, so it gives us the ability to have a warehouse basically at our sales facility and not have to go to an off-site location to get products that are in storage.”
The aesthetics of the new location are something that Harrison thought was very important and help separate the new store from the original. The new location is larger with new floors and a sleek look that Harrison believes his customers will notice as soon as they walk in. The fresh, clean look will not only be a plus for the customers up front, but also for the technicians working in the back.
“In doing this, I had an intention to make it nice. I didn’t know to what extreme that would go. I was talked into doing some extra things that originally, I had not planned on, but now I’m glad that I did after seeing the facility; that would be doing the floors like we did, doing the metal across the walls, just making it look modern,” Harrison said. “When I try to come up with these ideas I put myself in the shoes of the customer and a place that I would want to go in and feel comfortable buying whatever the product may be and so I wanted this to be a clean, well-organized facility. My main goal that I’ve told all my employees, myself included, is I want to be able to provide the best customer service around. Cullman is very word-of-mouth advertising, and obviously if you treat someone the way they want to be treated, they’re going to recommend you because they had a great experience there and so that’s what we’re trying to do. The number one thing walking in the front door is a cleaner, larger showroom that’s welcoming to customers. They don’t feel like they’re cramped, they don’t feel like they’re having to trip over items to look at what they want to look at and we can provide better service in the shop. It’s bigger, it’s going to be able to provide more efficient service just because the technicians have more room to work in their areas and a cleaner shop environment also, not just the sales side.”
Harrison is optimistic that the move, along with the re-branding of the business, will make for some new growth and new clientele going forward.
“When I purchased the business, I changed the corporate name to Harrison Outdoors because obviously I wanted to grow the business, but I didn’t want to be just a lawnmower shop or just a chainsaw shop; I wanted to be somewhat of an outdoors store,” Harrison said. “Now I’m not talking about selling fishing equipment; I’m talking about things that go along with lawn equipment. Some things that you’d see on your patio whether it be chairs or grills. Just small things like that, that go along more with an outdoors store, not just what people think of as a lawnmower shop. It’s kind of a difficult change because people know Greencraft Mowers and that’s why we still have it on the sign, but we would like to eventually get the mindset that we are Harrison Outdoors.”
Find out more at www.harrisonoutdoors.com or www.facebook.com/Harrison-Outdoors-156783531365138.
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