The role of Wieland’s Lawn Mower Hospital - Pekin changes with the seasons.
The store, which sells and services lawn equipment, has just completed a busier than usual winter of repairing snow blowers. According to Store Manager Todd Beecham, Wieland’s Pekin location serviced nearly 200 snow blowers this winter.
“We hadn’t had any type of measurable snowfall in the past three or four years, so we really had hardly any snow blowers to do,” he said “I think every snow blower that hadn’t seen the light of day in the past five years came in this year.”
The two full-time and one part-time employees at Wieland’s were also tuning up lawn mowers brought in by owners who favor the proverbial ounce of prevention to a pound of cure. As the covering of snow melted away to expose spring grass, more lawn mowers have come into the store for either proactive maintenance or reactive repairs.
“We probably took in 45 mowers since (last week),” said Beecham “Last weekend was the first nice weekend we’ve had, and people went out to get the mowers out and clean up their yards and maybe do some mowing to even up the high spots and low spots. When (their mowers) wouldn’t start, here they came.”
Wieland’s offers a wide variety of services for lawn equipment ranging from basic maintenance such as cleaning lawn mowers, changing the oil and sharpening blades to major repairs like transmission replacements.
“We don’t really rebuild engines any more,” Beecham said. “We either replace them with a short block or a new engine.”
Beecham estimated that Wieland’s does approximately 60 percent of its business for the year in April and May, because of a tendency for lawn mower owners to not ensure their machines are in working order until they need to use them.
Spring is a busy time not only for servicing mowers but also for selling them.
“I guess it’s (a matter of) out of sight, out of mind,” said Beecham. “People really don’t think about coming in and buying a lawn mower in the winter. Once spring hits, it’s fresh in everybody’s mind and then (business) comes in hard.”
The most common problems that Wieland’s employees encounter are related to fuel systems, Beecham added. Improper maintenance of the fuel system, improper storage of the mower, and poor-quality fuel are typical contributing factors to fuel system trouble. Less common problems include wildlife infestations and the consequences of distracted mowing.
“We’ve seen wasp and mud daubers build nests inside of the mufflers, we’ve had people come in who didn’t see the dog chain and ran over it and wrapped it around the blade, and mice nests,” he said. “Every year, they come in where the whole underside of the housing is just packed with mouse nests and they’ve chewed up the wiring. Sometimes, you open (a lawn mower) up and (mice) come jumping out at you.”
In addition to selling and repairing lawn mowers and snow blowers, Wieland’s also sells and services chainsaws, string trimmers, leaf blowers and lawn tractors.
The Pekin location at 301 S. Second St., is one of three stores. The original store is located at 7806 Pioneer Lane, Peoria, and the Washington outlet is at 1201 Independence Court. The Pekin store, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, has been open for 14 years, according to Beecham. Experience and attention to customer service are what he believes sets Wieland’s apart from other businesses of its kind.
“George (Hancock, the store’s full-time mechanic), has been working on stuff for close to 30 years, and I’ve been in this business for 37 (years),” he said. “Of course, in this business, service makes a difference. You can buy a Toro mower at a lot of different places, but it’s the people you deal with and can take care of you on the service end that sets (a store) apart.”
For more information about the store, visit www.wielandslawnmowerhospital.com.