Name: William Schuyler
Business: Schuyler Mower
Location: 120 North D St. Lompoc
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday
What products and services do you offer?
We are a full line power equipment dealer with products related to lawn and garden, rototillers, edgers, chainsaws. We service most of the popular brands of our equipment.
Who are your customers?
We have a mixed base of customers right now, homeowners, landscaping companies and maintenance companies.
How many people do you employ?
We have two full-time and two part-time employees.
How long have you been in business?
We have been in business for 51 years.
You have free articles remaining.
How did you get into this business?
I grew up on the Schuyler cherry orchard that no longer exists, but at one time was located in the northeast corner of town. I worked on the tractors and stuff.
Back in the days when forests were open, you could take mechanized equipment into the forest. We made what you call “tote goats.” It’s kind of like a large mini-bike. We were building them for different people and needed a couple of engines. Down on the 100 block on East Ocean Avenue was a camera shop owned by Tommy Yager. He had a building in the back where Clay Kern started Clay’s lawnmower shop.
So I went into Clay’s to buy a couple of engines for these tote goats. I bought them and mounted them up on the tote goats. The motors run really good, started easy but one of them kicked back so hard it would take the rope out of your hand. This wasn’t right, so I took it out of the tote goat and took it down to Clay and told him it had a problem. He said he would get to it when he had time. I said, “I and my dad want to go quail hunting, can I get it back by this Saturday?” He didn’t know if he could do that. I said, “why don’t I take it apart and see what the problem is?” So within a half hour or so, I found the problem and put it back together. So Clay said since you did a pretty good job with that, would you be interested in working part-time for me.
I had a full-time job with the post office and worked part time at Clay’s. After a couple of years, I told my wife that I needed to decide to work one place or the other. I made Clay an offer on the business and ended up buying it from him. That’s how I got into this business.
What do you like most about owning your own business?
When I was young growing up, I went to work for a company. The company needed to downsize one day. And they came by and said well, nothing against you but you are last hired first fired. We got to let you go. That never did set well with me. I figured I’m going to go into something that no one would tap me out. I figured I’ll go in business and when I’m ready to go, I’ll go. What I had hoped to do is what you call financially independent, where I’d have qualified help to run the business. And I did need to be here for daily operations. So, I haven’t done that yet. The other is that I can take time to work with the customers, because I’m not under any type of quota. My dad always said get into something you enjoy. I have enjoyed this business.
What do you find most challenging about owning this business?
Today it’s simply staying in business.
What do you do in your spare time?
I belong to the National Hot Rod Association. I enjoy drag racing, used to participate but now I’m a spectator. I still have a Ford 23T roadster as a show car for car shows. I am a 50-year member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. I’m currently on the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens. I stay a little bit politically active and work on campaigns. I still have a four-wheel drive vehicle and enjoy hitting the jeep roads in the backcountry. I have a motorhome and do a little motorhome camping now and then. I help with the Old Town Fair committee. I belong to the LDS Church and have a lodge position there.
If you would like to be featured in this column or suggest someone to be featured, contact Frank Young at email@example.com.