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Monday, July 18, 2016

Honoring Tradition; Embracing the Future

Dealer Spotlight - Saw House Power Equipment and Supply

For Jose and Hector Cantu, brothers and co-owners of Saw House Inc., the path to owning a thriving outdoor power equipment dealership was hardly typical. What started out as simple shelves of equipment sold from their parent’s garage in 1999 is now a booming business boasting more than $1 million in annual STIHL sales. These young entrepreneurs attribute their 17-year success story to their passion for customer service and commitment to going the extra mile for their unique, professional tree care customer base.

Early Beginnings
As teenagers, Jose and Hector helped their father, a mechanic, with hands-on work in his garage. As college students, they knew they wanted to be business men, and while working for a local STIHL dealer, they saw their opportunity to focus their business on tree industry experts and arborists. They then converted their parents’ 800-square-foot garage to service and sell chain saws. Once the “shop” was up and running, revenues consistently grew. Jose and Hector approached their regional distributor, Blue Mountain Equipment, to formally become a servicing STIHL dealer. They soon established themselves with a small, but loyal, professional tree care customer base.

Becoming a Community Fixture
In preparation for Hurricane Ike in 2008, Jose and Hector worked feverishly to prepare their shop to support their community and their customers. The day after Ike tore through Houston, Saw House was without power, but was open for business. Knowing commercial trucks couldn’t get into town due the large amount of debris left by the storm, Jose and Hector posted fluorescent signs with the words “STIHL chain saws,” along with their contact information at strategic locations around town, and they sold more than 2,500 chain saws in less than three weeks. To keep up with demand, they stayed open extended hours and even delivered product to customers. That extra effort changed the course of their business and solidified relationships with clients.



Following the STIHL Model
Jose and Hector found that STIHL provided a competitive advantage in product quality and  dealer support initiatives. The Cantu brothers utilize a wide variety of STIHL resources and tools to support their business and their customers. To stay informed and trained, Saw House employees participate in STIHL iCademy® online training and the brothers review modules with their staff regularly. Jose and Hector say their next goal is to be STIHL Platinum certified, and they are well on their way with a STIHL MasterWrench Service® certified technician on staff, and one in the certification pipeline. Jose and Hector are committed to these programs because of their people. “At Saw House, we are only as strong as our weakest link. People buy from people, not companies. Relationships matter,” said Jose.

The Value of Personal Connections
Making a personal connection with their customers extends past the typical business transaction. At Saw House staff are proud to know their customers on a first name basis. “We believe if we invest in our clients, they will return the favor,” said Jose. “If our customers have a problem, we believe it is Saw House’s responsibility to find a solution. If we don’t stock what the customer requests, we will make calls to other dealers to get them what they need.”
Looking to the Future

The brothers’ dedication to building relationships with their customers has proven rewarding. Saw House just recently completed a major expansion, adding 6,400 square feet. Jose and Hector are increasing the showroom floor to include new equipment options, and are expanding the service technician area to better support their customers’ maintenance needs. But all this success does not mean the Cantu brothers are complacent. Jose says, “It’s hard working your way to the top. Once you get there, you have to figure out how you’re going to stay there. Anyone can satisfy a customer, but customer loyalty is priceless. When you create loyalty, your customers believe in you and they believe in your product.”

To learn more about Saw House, visit their website: www.sawhouse.com

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