Mower business has new owner

By GARY HENRY ghenry@prairiepress.net
Posted 12/16/19

CHRISMAN – An old business adage states nothing succeeds like success and that proved true for Mark Mattingly of Chrisman and Brian Steele of Kankakee.

Mattingly owned M&M Mower Repair …

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Mower business has new owner

Posted

CHRISMAN – An old business adage states nothing succeeds like success and that proved true for Mark Mattingly of Chrisman and Brian Steele of Kankakee.

Mattingly owned M&M Mower Repair in Chrisman, but he also has other interests such as an antique business and the recently developed Bloomfield Barn.

“The barn took off more than we anticipated,” said Mattingly and as a result he found himself pulled more and more away from the mower repair and new sales business.

“I only had time to service what I sold,” Mattingly said, which was a departure from his original plan to work on a variety of manufacturers.

Steele had a different problem. With just $200, he started a mower repair business from his home garage in Kankakee. As word got out, his business grew and he introduced new product sales but it was difficult trying to operate from such a small space.

Steele added the cost of real estate, construction expense and insurance rates at Kankakee made it impossible to construct a new facility but his volume of business was such that working out of the garage was impractical.

“I was trying to operate two businesses and working 18 hours a day,” said Steele. “It was way too much.”

The solution for both men came through a mutual supplier who brought Mattingly and Steele together, although they had known each other for some time through attending manufacturer’s training and other events related to mowers and small engine repair. In early November, Steele bought the Chrisman business from Mattingly.

“My wife and I wanted a fresh start. We talked with Mark and made several visits to Chrisman,” Steele said.  “My wife put a lot of trust in me. She said if I could do it in Kankakee, I could do it here.”

Mattingly wanted somebody who held similar beliefs about the importance of customer service to protect the business he built.

“I wanted to make sure my customers were taken care of,” Mattingly said, adding both men approach business with an attitude of the customer should always come first.

“What made me succeed was I put the customer first,” said Steele, noting some of his Kankakee customers have already brought equipment to his Chrisman location for repair work.

Steele plans to continue Mattingly’s original idea of providing repair service to all makes and models whether it was sold from the business or not. He is authorized to repair the products of 30 different manufacturers.

“I’ll be working with the big box stores,” said Steele. “Somebody can buy from Lowe’s or Menard’s and bring it here for warranty work.”

New product lines sold at the Chrisman store include World Lawn zero-turn mowers, two-cycle and four-cycle products from Maruyama and MTD mowers.

“I will continue to service all of the Big Dog products Mark sold,” said Steele.

Something Steele believes contributes to his success is an ability to troubleshoot and diagnose a problem in order to provide a satisfactory fix for customers. One of his biggest satisfactions is when somebody brings in a mower another service claimed was fixed and he finds the real problem.

“I’ve been told we are a dying breed,” said Steele. “It’s hard to find somebody who wants to learn to do this. It is not just changing parts. There is a lot of diagnostics involved.”

Steele kept the M&M Mower phone number of 217-269-2222 and the business hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday is by appointment for now although Steele may open some on Saturdays when the mowing season gets closer.