In 1966, Dorsey Glover took a leap of faith and traded his small town law practice for an entrepreneurial venture introducing loggers to the new-fangled STIHL chainsaws. In the beginning, he continued to practice law since he had a family to support (wife, Elaine, and children, Susan, Nancy and Bill – all under age 6). But it wasn’t long before he realized that the woods were much more fun than the courtroom, and that he enjoyed “making his case” to loggers and chainsaw dealers more than to a judge and jury.
Bumping down dusty logging roads, Dorsey and his first salesman, Neal Calley, put STIHL chainsaws in the hands of loggers, who were impressed with the quality and innovative features of these German-engineered saws. Some of those loggers became the first STIHL dealers in this part of the country.
Those early shops didn’t look much like STIHL retailers today and chainsaws were mostly displayed on shelves or counters or, at more creative dealerships, with the bar stuck in a slot in a tree trunk. From the beginning, STIHL saws looked different from the Poulan, Homelite and McCulloch saws that were common in these parts, and their bright orange and gray color scheme displayed well among the others.
It was a decade of learning and organizing, not only for Dorsey (how do you create a business from the ground up?) but also for small chainsaw shops around the area who saw the potential in these high quality, high performance German chainsaws.
STARTING THE JOURNEY MERCHANDISING EVENT WINNERS
Territory 1, Martin Weaver
Malvern Power Equipment, Malvern, AR
Territory 2, Billy Tutt
Rabalais Small Engines, Alexandria, LA
Territory 3, Jude Vidrine
K & D Rent-All & Hardware, Baton Rouge, LA
Territory 4, Clayton Magee
Frederick's Sales & Service, Brandon, MS
Territory 5, Sean Kinney
4 Seasons Equipment Company, Tupelo, MS
Territory 6, Monte Woody
Yeager Ace Hardware, Van Buren, AR
We enjoyed reading the entries we received for the Merchandising Event, many of which included some of the dealer’s own history and success with STIHL and their plans for future growth. Many who entered had given a lot of thought to what they needed and how it would improve their business.
We are pleased to congratulate these dealers as the winners of the Merchandising Event in each of our sales territories. Each will receive a $5000 credit on a customized upgrade/installation of STIHL merchandising equipment.
Thank you to all who entered and congratulations to the winners!
Take a look at some our favorite memories from this decade...
Old STIHL Logos
The early STIHL logo is shown on these items from the 60's and early 70's including patches, a matchbook and Dorsey’s original business card from Ward Chain Saw Supply, which became STIHL SOUTHWEST in 1971. The STIHL"goodie bags" were used at dealer meetings, state and county fairs, chain saw competitions and similar events throughout the territory. This knife was made in Solingen, Germany, famous for the quality of its knives.
Chainsaw artist, Jack DowD
Jack visited STIHL SOUTHWEST in 1975, where he did a series of carvings for us at the Arkansas and Louisiana State Fairs. These photos show six of Jack’s carvings that are on display in the lobby of STIHL SOUTHWEST today. We also have an article from the Arkansas Democrat in 1975 while Jack was visiting. Those were Jack’s early days but he has gone on to considerable renown as an artist and sculptor, and his work has been shown at museums and galleries throughout the country. For more information on Jack’s work, visit his website.
Early oil cans
These oil cans with the early STIHL logo are from the 60s or early 70s. One has been converted to a bank with a coin slot in the top.
Chain saw age
Chain Saw Age was an important industry publication in STIHL Southwest’s early years. They wrote excellent articles about STIHL SOUTHWEST’s 1971 and 1972 dealer meetings.
Chain Saw Age was acquired by Hatton-Brown Publishers and is now printed as part of Power Equipment Trade. These articles are reproduced with their permission.
electric cut-off saw and case
In the early days, STIHL American authorized J.C. “Jack” Reade of Reade Electric in South Carolina to distribute STIHL electric products throughout the United States. We sold some of the early electric chainsaws which were used in lumber mills and other continuous use applications, but we sold few, if any of the cut-off saws. This one, which we still have, may have been ordered for inventory and never sold.
The Forest Elf – A Gift for Dealers
This “forest elf” was produced by STIHL in the early 1970s and one still lives at our office today. The second photo is of a group of award-winning dealers at our 1974 Dealer Awards Banquet – note that each has received their own “forest elf” in appreciation for their efforts.
1972 Dealer meeting
An announcement of our 1972 dealer meeting featured a bagpipe “extravaganza” by Fred Whyte, who at that time was a representative of Stihl American (and is now the recently retired president of STIHL Incorporated).
We’ll let this speak for itself, except to say that if Dorsey wrote a dealer meeting announcement today, we don’t think he would change a word.