By Rachel Dutil | Photo by Jessica McCafferty
Issue: July 2022
Matthew McLane is a self-described “people pleaser” who truly enjoys seeing people happy at the end of the day. As the owner of McLane Power Equipment (MPE) in Plattsburgh he finds joy in helping customers find the right machine to fit their needs.
Growing up in Morrisonville, McLane spent 19 years working at a local John Deere dealership before branching out on his own in the spring of 2020, just as the pandemic brought life as we knew it to a halt. McLane joked that he attended the “school of hard knocks” rather than completing a college degree.
McLane Power Equipment is an authorized Toro dealership that sells and services lawnmowers and handheld power tools used in landscaping and lawn care. “We sell push mowers, entry-level zero turns, mid-size zero turns, and top-of-the-line zero turns,” McLane explained. “Toro, in my opinion, is the best,” he said, adding that he wanted to work with a company that had great warranties and would stand behind its products. “Toro does that.”
The Right Fit
McLane finds it rewarding to match customers with the right product. He doesn’t believe in upselling. Instead, he talks to customers about what they are looking for and works to match them with the equipment that will best suit their needs. “I want to make sure everyone is satisfied.”
When customers come into the MPE shop on Trade Road in the town of Plattsburgh, McLane and his staff ask them about their property. How much area is being mowed? Are there hills? Is the grass thick and luscious or is it thin? “It’s not about my needs, it’s about the customer’s needs,” McLane said.
A recent customer was looking at a big tractor with a cab and a 60-inch mowing deck. McLane was familiar with the customer’s property and told him that with the hills in his yard that size tractor would be too big. He also explained that with the cab on the tractor it would be difficult to mow around the trees in the yard. He’d have to cut a number of limbs to make it work. “As a homeowner you may not have thought of all those things. I want to make sure you know what is the best fit for you,” McLane said. That customer conceded that McLane was right and purchased a smaller tractor that would be a better fit for his property.
Toro riding mowers are built with a spring and shock system that ensures the rider’s comfort even when mowing uneven terrain. McLane explained 99% of the mowers he sells have the suspension system and, although he was a bit skeptical at first, the ride is smooth. Online classes by Toro assure employees have the skills to make sure each piece of equipment is in top running order.
When he first opened his business, McLane thought about what else he needed for his dealership. He had the lawnmowers lined up, but realized he needed handheld tools and opted to carry Echo products.
MPE now offers Echo string trimmers, leaf blowers, and chainsaws. In addition to gas-powered machines, they also offer a line of battery-powered machines which have great longevity and are a popular product line. “The ease of operation is unbelievable,” McLane said. The batteries are interchangeable so if you have a battery-powered chainsaw and a string trimmer, you could swap batteries from one machine to another to increase efficiency and save money. Classes available through Echo make sure employees and customers understand the many advantages of the wide range of their handheld products.
Although spring and summer are the busy times of the year for MPE, the company also sells snowblowers and snow removal tractor accessories. In winter the staff is busy with contract snow
MPE offers routine maintenance and repair services for outdoor power equipment, a part of the business that McLane thoroughly enjoys. “I get a lot of pleasure out of trying to figure out what the
issue is and how we resolve it,” he said.
As for his employees, McLane explained, “People skills are critical and mechanical skills are helpful, but they can be taught. It is relationships that make this business successful.”
McLane Power Equipment
20 Trade Rd.
Plattsburgh, NY 12901