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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Independent We Stand Visits STIHL Dealers on Their Sixth Road Trip

Chris and Sue Bridger, Munn Lawn & Tractor
Last month, the Independent We Stand team completed their sixth road trip, known as the “Main Street Make Us Better” tour. The team traveled over 2,000 miles, bringing awareness to the Independent We Stand movement. They interviewed business owners– from Detroit to Boston- about the impacts that small locally-owned businesses can have on local economies. Over the course of five days, the team interviewed over 40 independent business owners, including four STIHL dealers. Many of these dealers spoke on why the ‘buy local’ movement is so important; while, others spoke on how they got involved in their business. Regardless of the topic there was no shortage of passion among these small business owners.

The team started their trip in Auburn Hills, Michigan where they met Sue and Chris Bridger of Munn Lawn and Tractor. The Bridgers had recently purchased the business from Chris’ friend and former employer. Sue talked about what consumers can expect by shopping at their store as opposed to a national competitor. She says, “People need to understand we have everything- from the beginning- to the end- from the sale- to service, to the warranty, to the parts.”

Joe Lally, North Royalton Power Equipment
After leaving Michigan, the team headed east. Joseph Lally welcomed them at his dealership in North Royalton, Ohio. When Lally talked about his business and his customers, his dedication to his community showed. He raves about his customers who have supported him through the years. He says “We have a great core group of customers and they've established a good relationship with our employees.” Lally adds, “Most of our new customers are referrals, which is always a nice compliment.” At the next stop on their journey, the team met Gerry Weaver, owner of JB Zimmerman who says “Chain stores have come and gone, but the one factor that stood through all the ups and downs has been the mom and pop shops.”
Gerry and Wes Weaver, JB Zimmerman

With seven children and a 9,500 square foot business to run, Gerry and Linda Weaver still find the time to help out those in their community. The Weaver family contributes to local schools, and fire and rescue departments– to name a few. Gerry explains that in a close-knit community like New Holland, it’s important to give back to your neighbors.

The team’s final interview, before heading to Boston, ended in Mystic, Connecticut with Scott Neddeau, manager of Cash True Value. In the 35 years Scott has worked for Cash True Value, he has seen many of the same faces, and now has second generation customers. When asked about why consumers should support locally-owned business, Neddeau points out that it “keeps the money and jobs in town.” Neddeau adds, “It is important to have groups like
From left to right: Bill Brunelle, Independent We Stand,
Scott Neddeau, Cash True Value,
Rick Canzellarini, STIHL Inc.
Tara Mazzarella, Independent We Stand
Independent We Stand to help educate consumers on shopping locally.” 

While in Mystic, the Independent We Stand team also spoke with Rick Canzellarini, the regional marketing manager for STIHL Northeast - Cash True Value’s distribution center for STIHL products. Canzellarini believes in “re-educating America on the importance of buying locally,” from stores like Cash True Value and other locally-owned STIHL dealers. He goes on to state, “buying locally is what’s going to rebuild the economy.”
For a recap of the entire trip click here.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses, across the country, engage their communities and encourage customers to buy local. For more information about the movement you can visit them at independentwestand.org