Saving time and money is something that Brad Grace is always looking to do for his business in Youngstown, Ohio.
Brad owns Grace Exterminating, but his business also does commercial slope mowing jobs in ditches during slow periods of the year. Brad has owned Grace Exterminating since 2005 and employs 23 people.
Brad attended the fall GIE Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, to see what kind of mowing equipment his business could use to make their mowing jobs easier.
“The week before we went, my salesman, Mark, sold a slope mowing job that we normally would do by weed eating. When I was at the show, I saw a remote-control Spider mower that would be perfect for this exact job. I met Chris Wilkins from Spider and we started talking about financing.”
‘It Was Just Meant To Be’
Brad’s first conversation with a financing source ended when terms weren't feasible for him. He thought about writing a check to pay for the mower all at once, or waiting until spring to make the purchase.
“This was my first time meeting Brad,” Chris said. “We hit it off when he came to the Spider booth. I explained what the machine could do and he really had a need for it. After talking with the first financing source, things weren’t going to work. That’s when we met Sherri Sandelin from Stearns Bank. She really saved the day for me and for Brad.”
Sherri Sandelin is an account manager for Stearns Bank’s Equipment Finance Division. She was attending the Expo to learn more about new landscaping equipment that could benefit her customers. When she overheard the conversation between Brad and Chris, she realized she could help.
Brad was shocked by how easy it was to work with Sherri and Stearns Bank.
“We chit-chatted for a few minutes and it only took three hours to get a (financing) deal done from start to finish. It was weird because it was just a freak chance of meeting her at that exact moment,” Brad said. “My wife got on the phone with her in Ohio, Sherri got in touch with everyone back in Minnesota and we got the deal done in Kentucky. How about that? It was just meant to be.”
Equipment Makes A Difference
Brad was able to take the Spider mower home with him to Ohio. The Spider mower is radio remote-controlled and designed for maintenance of all types of terrain. The Spider can mow fine turf as well as heavy brush on flat areas and on slopes of up to 55 degrees.
So instead of employees on the slope with weed eaters, Brad can get the project done with his new radio remote-controlled mower.
Chris visited Brad in Youngstown to show him how to use the mower. Brad was amazed how easily the job was done. Initially, he thought it would take all day. The Spider did the job in half the time.
“This thing just climbs, mows the brush – it’s the slickest thing I’ve ever seen,” Brad said.
Added Chris: “As soon as the machine started working, I could tell Brad was impressed. The guy was happier than could be when I left. It will save him a lot in wages and the machine will pay for itself in the first year. It’s an incredible piece of equipment.”
The equipment purchase would not have been possible without his chance meeting with Stearns Bank. Brad wouldn’t hesitate to work with Sherri and Stearns Bank again.
“I was blown away by Sherri and the entire process. I would recommend Stearns Bank to any small business owner,” Brad said.
As a salesman, Chris was surprised by how fast Stearns Bank went to work for his customer.
“I definitely want to work with Stearns Bank again because of this experience,” Chris said. “I’ve never seen a bank do what Stearns Bank did for Brad. Everybody was super down to earth and hungry to make a deal. They weren’t used car salesman. They were real people doing a phenomenal job.”