A 50th anniversary is a milestone well worth celebrating, and we have thoroughly enjoyed celebrating ours with you. But since we started the festivities on our actual anniversary date (April 1, 2016), it is time to move forward to the milestones of the future. This week, we have announced the winners in our final 50th Anniversary Event, the Looking Ahead STIHL Lightning Battery System contest. You can see the Dealer and Employee winners by clicking here.
We have enjoyed telling the stories of our history and reminiscing about the past 50 years of our relationship with STIHL and with you. We are delighted that some of you have found photos of yourselves or family members in our photo archives. It bears mentioning again that all of you: the Stihl family, the STIHL organizations in Germany and in Virginia Beach, our advertising and vendor partners, our past and present employees and each of our dealers, made our first 50 years the success that they have been.
So many people have been important in our success over the years that we have generally avoided mentioning them by name for fear of leaving someone out. The exception to that rule is Fred Whyte, former president of STIHL Incorporated, who passed away on July 7 of a rare and aggressive cancer. Fred took his first job with STIHL in 1971 and lived in Little Rock with his new bride, Karen. The friendship that developed in those early years and that continued through his final days was as important to Dorsey and to those of us at STIHL Southwest as Fred’s gifted leadership was to the entire STIHL organization. He was with us for 45 of our 50 years and will be greatly missed.
As we begin our next 50 years, we have abundant opportunities to build on the successes of our first 50. The launch of the STIHL Lightning Battery System this year shows how committed STIHL is to the long term success of independent STIHL dealers. When so much of the news is about retailers closing their doors under the onslaught from online retailers, STIHL believes in the value of locally-owned businesses and their contributions to our communities. For our first 50 years, our objective was to help our dealers to be successful. We are pretty sure that is going to work for the next 50, too.
It has been a privilege for the Glover family and our team at STIHL Southwest to serve customers, dealers, and the STIHL organization for 50 years. There have been highs and lows, of course, but we have consistently grown sales, supported our dealers and maintained one of the highest levels of sales per household in the country. We’ve been blessed with a high quality line of gasoline powered equipment that has been at the forefront of development in our industry. STIHL and STIHL SOUTHWEST have been successful because, while we have learned from the past, we’ve kept our eyes firmly fixed on the future. 2017 will be a new milestone for us and for STIHL as we take the next step into the future.
By early 2016, it was clear to us that to be prepared for the next 50 years and to support the launch of the new STIHL Lightning Battery Systems products, we needed more room. A lot more room. On December 16, 2016, we completed a 25,000 square-foot addition to our existing warehouse. The expansion more than doubles our warehouse space and increases our total facility size to 75,000 square feet. We now have the elbow room that we needed to ensure that we have the products our Dealers need, when they need them.
The STIHL Southwest Team
No one can be successful for 50 years without an excellent team, including those who are with us now and those who have worked with us through the past five decades. The photos below show our whole team and work groups, who work every day to provide great service to our Dealers and to represent STIHL with pride in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and east Texas.
LOOKING AHEAD STIHL LIGHTNING BATTERY SYSTEM™ SALES EVENT
Our Fifth Decade Event “Looking Ahead” celebrates the launch of the new STIHL Lightning Battery System™ products: truly a launch into the future for STIHL and our Dealers.
Dealers will compete based on their retail sales of STIHL Lightning Battery System™ units from March 1 to June 30, 2017. Dealers will compete against other Dealers in their sales bracket, so Bracket-B Dealers will compete against other Bracket-B Dealers, etc. First, Second and Third Place cash prices will be awarded in each sales bracket, so a total of 18 prizes can be awarded (Brackets AA, A, B, C, D and E).
In addition, Dealer employees also have a chance to win in the Double Your Prize Bonus contest. If employees of the winning dealership have completed battery training modules in iCademy, employees can Double the Prize with STIHL OUTFITTERS™ gift certificates. See contest rules for details to see how Dealer employees can qualify.