Steve Steigler’s friends jokingly call him the mayor of Orange.
Walk into Outdoor Power Equipment and it’s easy to see why.
A lifelong resident of Orange, Steigler seemingly knows everyone who walks in through the door and greets them with a handshake – sometimes a greasy one if he’s been in the back working on a mower.
“Everywhere I go, I feel like I’m a politician, shaking hands,” Steigler, a wrestling coach at Prospect Heights Middle School and a travel soccer coach, said with a laugh.
Longtime owner of Custom Care Lawn Service, Steigler bought Outdoor Power Equipment in March 2015 and has transferred his knowledge from years of mowing to his customers.
For 12 years he operated the landscape business and bought his blades from Village Motorsports, a relationship that led to a unique business offer – a chance to buy the business when they decided to just focus on motorsports.
“I thought I’d just keep on cutting grass forever, but I enjoyed the equipment side of things,” Steigler said.
Steigler started from scratch, building his team with longtime friends like Kim Downin and new faces like mechanic Tommy Hicks.
“We got lucky when we found Tommy,” Steigler said. “He’s a top notch mechanic. We just mesh really well together.”
It’s a lot like family at Outdoor Power Equipment, where a pair of pups greet visitors at the door with mascot OPE curled up at Steigler’s feet for a mid-morning nap.
While it feels like just another day at home, Steigler admits that it’s been a learning experience going into the equipment business.
“You have to take it one day at a time, the time management aspect of it is one of the more difficult aspects of it,” Steigler said.
Steigler wears a lot of hats – owner, salesman, mechanic, but his favorite part is customer service.
If he isn’t friends with someone who comes through the door, he quickly becomes one. His experience in the landscape business allows him to relate to problems homeowners face when it comes to serving equipment – and a lot of those can be alleviated by proper care.
“Most times you find animals’ nests in places where they shouldn’t be,” Steigler said. “The majority of it is the lack of preparation going into winter. They want their equipment to run and it won’t, and they don’t understand why. You have to put some additive in the fuel or it will go rotten.”
While the crew likes getting their hands dirty on the repairs, OPE also is an authorized dealer of Hustler, Toro, Grasshopper, Walker and Echo. They also carry a full line of arborist supplies, pressure washers and pretty much anything outdoors. Plus, if there’s a problem a customer doesn’t want to face, Steigler can just call in his Custom Care Lawn Service crew to help.
“If you don’t want to do it, we will,” Steigler said.