BATAVIA — As soon as February vanished and March appeared, it was time for Cedar Street Sales & Rentals to celebrate a 30-year anniversary at 111 Cedar St.
On Friday, the company, 111 Cedar St., run by co-owners and managers Guy Clark and his sons, Adam and Connor, had a chance to celebrate that milestone.
When they had a few minutes to step away from helping a customer or checking on a delivery, they gathered with the county Chamber of Commerce to do so. Cedar Street began with a grand opening on March 1, 1993.
Why has Cedar Street Sales lasted 30 years? “We’re non-commissioned sales staff. We always look out for our customers,” Connor Clark said. “We’re easygoing, we always try to help people out any way we can.”
If someone comes into the store looking for a mower, any of the staff will help that person, Guy Clark said.
“You don’t need to go back to the same person. It’s just like dealing with a friend. There’s never, ever any pressure on anyone,” he said. “If there’s a problem, ever, it bothers all of us. We want to resolve it right away. You’ve got to be fair.”
Adam Clark said the company has been a big part of the community and a member of the county Chamber of Commerce. The business is now family-owned. Adam Clark said both he and Connor grew up working there. Adam started working there full-time in 2013 and Connor in 2016 after he graduated from SUNY Oswego. Both earned degrees in business administration.
Cedar Street Sales has about 10 employees right now, all local, the family said. It has grown from the days when Guy Clark was the only employee.
This week was a short week at the store for Guy, who said he returned around midnight Tuesday night from the Dominican Republic, where Cedar Street had been recognized again for as a Top 50 Cub Cadet equipment dealer nationwide. Cedar Street earned this honor 27 years since it started selling Cub Cadet equipment.
“We didn’t start selling them right away. The first year, we were just a rental store,” he said. “We didn’t sell lawn mowers.”
How is the business Cedar Street is in different than it was 30 years ago?
Adam Clark said battery-powered equipment is one difference.
“Battery-powered equipment was unheard of in 1993 for outdoor equipment. That’s where everything is going these days, towards battery — whether it’s hand-held or riding mowers ...” he said. ”As far as sales go, online presence is huge. Online wasn’t a thing in 1993. The box stores are pretty prominent online. We’ve got to have an online presence.”
Guy Clark said Cedar Street has been an aggressive advertiser for a long time.
“Now, you’re doing online things, you’re doing digital marketing, you’re doing so many things,” he said. “You have to advertise a lot, no matter what you do for a living.”
Looking ahead, Adam Clark said there will likely be a swing to more battery equipment than gas equipment, at least among hand-held equipment.
The company has always been innovative, Guy Clark said.
“We’ve been the test place for lots of new products. The manufacturers like us,” he said. “We’re always open to new stuff.”
Connor Clark said the rental department of Cedar Street helps the company a lot.
“The rental, we look at it as more helping people than it is a huge revenue source,” he said Thursday. “Someone just walked in and their basement was flooded. They have 20-something inches of water in their basement right now. They needed a pump right now. They walked in, we got a pump and got them out as quick as possible. That mentality goes over to the lawn mower side and or the chainsaw side. People just walk in and, yes, it is a product we’re selling, but we’re also helping people out. People buy these things because if you don’t have these, you’re going to have lawn that’s 2 feet tall or you’re going to have an overgrown forest in your backyard if you have trees.”
Guy Clark said some of the longtime customers have been coming there since the day Cedar Street opened. The children and grandchildren of original customers come there now, too.
“Every week, we get people who have been coming here for 20, 30 years,” he said. “There was tremendous support from Day 1 from the community, no question about it. Now, we’re into second- and third-generation customers — grandkids of people who used to come. Also, we’re very progressive. We have a test-drive park out here, probably the first one in the country. We have our new warehouse across the street ... an incredible showroom, very unique.”
Guy Clark said he has a mechanic background, but not the business knowledge that Adam and Connor have, which is needed these days.
“You can’t just wing things anymore. They’re (Adam and Connor) very progressive, smart, looking at so much data when you place a big order,” he said. “I’m blessed that these guys are taking over and they work hard.”