Show Your School Pride!

Show your school pride with a customized Exmark Lazer Z or Radius Mower! With the purchase of select Radius and Lazer Z riders, you can get a Collegiate Comfort Seat upgrade for only $299 from now through May 31st! Not only do they have schools like the national champions, Alabama and SEC champs, Georgia, there are 30+ schools to choose from! For more information visit https://www.exmark.com/college

It’s Time for the Indie Again!

What is the Indie Award?

How many of you all have heard of the Indie Award? If you haven’t, you should know it is an honor to win. The Indy is presented by Independent We Stand. It is recognized as the Independent Small Business of the Year Award to win. Not only does it recognize small businesses for the work that they do, but also the relationships they build. The Independent We Stand association created this Indie “to help recognize a locally-owned small business that has gone above and beyond to deliver great customer service and community support.”

Past Winners 

The first Indie Award was presented in 2011 and do you know who it was awarded to? Take a wild guess. That’s right it was actually Howard Brothers Outdoor Power and Hardware and we could not have been more proud of our work! At the time we only had the first 3 locations in, Doraville, Duluth, and Oakwood, but we made sure we got involved in each city’s communities. Take a look at the other past winners:

2016 – Life’s Memories & More

What started off as scrapbooking for a hobby, became a full-time career and has helped create successful charitable initiatives. Since 2009 Bullock has sent more than 35,000 mostly handcrafted greeting cards to our troops and since 2007, her customers helped raise more than $11,500 for the Rays of Hope Foundation and donated more than 200 handmade pink scarves to the Pink Scarf Project!

2015 – A. Dodson’s

A. Dodson’s, is an apparel, home decor and gift shop, with locations in Suffolk, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va. Daily, the staff at the independently-owned shops provide customers with personal shoppers to help fill their clothing, décor and gifting needs. They also make philanthropy an integral part of their sales model to make an impact in the community.

2014 – Mike’s Community Cup

Mike’s Community Cup is a coffee shop that has been serving up joy in the SeaTac, Washington community since 2008. The seven-year-old coffee shop not only gives customers their daily dose of caffeine, but they also do great things for their local community. They have risen over $10,000 for community organizations, including local schools, hospitals, sports teams and many others.

2013 – Trio Hardware

The vast outpouring of support Trio Hardware & Paint received during the Indie Award is one of many examples of the loyalty their customers have shown for the store. In addition to being one of the founding members of the Plainview Chamber of Commerce, Trio sponsors the local high school robotics team, they give two scholarships yearly to a graduating male and female student, they hire locally, and they sponsor little league and soccer teams.

2012 – All-Points Personal Transportation

Over the years, All-Points has regularly provided free transportation to individuals in need, working with the Pretty In Pink Foundation, USO and the Wounded Warriors LogoProject. All-Points continue to pride themselves in having strong personal relationships with their clients and catering every trip to their specific needs.

Prizes

No good competition is the same without prizes, right? Here is what the 2017 Independent Small Business of the Year Award recipient will receive:

$50,000 Grand Prize Package Value

• Branding, advertising and public relations makeover the Meridian Group.
• $5,000 cash, plus $1,000 for your favorite small business support group.
• A certificate for $1000 worth of STIHL equipment good at any STIHL dealer in the US.
• A 12-month subscription and 3 months of managed marketing services from SnapRetail.
• 3 Day/2 Night stay at an independent beach resort hotel in Virginia Beach, a tour of the STIHL plant and museum and a gourmet dinner with the Independent We Stand team.
• Special plaque awarded to the winner to proudly display in their business.
• Public Relations and Social Recognition.
• Each Quarter and Semifinalist will receive a Premium Membership from Independent We Stand.

 

Afterthought

Now that you know what Independent We Stand represents with their Indie Award, it’s time to get out there and vote! Shopping local helps build stronger communities to thrive. We are sure there is some small business out there that has your earned your patronage, go out and show them you appreciate them. Keep these dates in mind:

NOMINATIONS & QUARTERFINALIST VOTING:
September 12 – November 12

SEMIFINALISTS VOTING:
November 20 – December 10

WINNER ANNOUNCED:
December 13

The competition has just begun! Go out there and support your favorite local small business! There is value in shopping local. Good luck to all the favorites!

Seriously, TAKE IT OUTSIDE

Because of Tropical Storm Irma, over 1.2 million Georgians experienced a loss of power. We were worried that these power outages would occur which is why we recommended  Honda Power Generators before Irma arrived. Now that the storm has passed we want to remind everyone to be safe while using their generators. Here is some information you may not have been aware of: your portable generator has the potential to kill you with carbon monoxide! The good news is though, you can prevent a fatal accident simply by TAKING IT OUTSIDE.

Take a look for yourself.

 

This information was shared from Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association’s Take Your Generator Outside campaign. Check out their website for more safety tips. We are always here to ensure our customers get the best safety tips.

What’s New With Our Brands

As you all may know by know, Howard Brother’s proudly stands behind the products we sell. We try to stay in the loop of all of our brand’s latest news so that we can keep our customers in the loop as well. So far, here are a few tidbits of information we’ve gathered up that you may want to know about.

Traeger

If you know us, you should know we’re all Traeger Grills fans, so obviously we keep up with Traeger news. You can imagine our excitement when we discovered that Traeger made a fun addition to the Apple iTunes Store! In addition to their popular Traeger app where you can connect to your grill, other Traeger fans, and new recipes, you can also download Traeger Grills Stickers
By Traeger Pellet Grills. Be a part of #TraegerNation and communicate with these fun Traeger digital stickers. How else would you share what you’ve got cooking for dinner? Make sure to check it out on the App store.

Honda Power Equipment

Since we’ve been on the lookout for Hurricane Irma, Howard Brothers has made sure to be stocked up with Honda generators to ensure our customers can still have power if an outage occurs. These generators have been flying off our shelves it seems like even after we prepared to order extra. Honda Power Equipment is quiet and powerful which is why both we and our customers depend on them.

Besides saving us during Hurricane Season, Honda Power Equipment has come out with a new version of it’s Robotic Mower and it is cooler than ever. We created a post on Miimo, Honda’s robotic mower, not too long ago if you want to brush up on some background information. The NEW version of Miimo is intended to look like Honda’s new Civic Type R. Take a look for yourself here!

YETI

We wanted to take time to highlight YETI and their tremendous Hurricane Relief efforts. YETI has teamed up with 3 vital organizations in Texas to help provide citizens with food, clothing, shelter, and the tools to rebuild for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Those organizations include Rebuild Texas Fund, American Red Cross, and Operation BBQ Relief. In addition to their partnerships, YETI donated 100% of it’s sales from YETI.com and their Flagship store on September 1st directly to relief funds for the Gulf Coast region. With all of their efforts, YETI managed to donate over $1.8M for Hurricane Harvey’s after effects. With hurricanes affecting so many this time of year, it’s great to see the help from bigger brands. Click here to learn more.

STIHL

Too often, big companies become too obsessed with greed that they put aside their corporate responsibilities. STIHL is NOT one of those companies and we wanted to ensure our customers knew that. STIHL Inc. (along with Goodwill industries) is being recognized by the Reusable Packaging Association for the 2017 Excellence in Reusable Packaging award. STIHL reduced the amount of cardboard returned for recycling by more than 760 tons per year! They did so simply by “using reusable plastic containers to move components between production lines and to ship and exchange components between manufacturing facilities”. This just goes to show the importance of environmental stewardship within their company’s core values. Check out Plastic News’ article to learn more.

 

That’s all we have for today. Make sure to keep an eye out for our next post. Our brands are always doing amazing things.

Summer Lawn Maintenance Tips

With summer here, people itch to partake in fun summer activities like going to the pool, or having barbecues. It is not all fun and games however. According to the Chicago Tribune, “The average American spends about 70 hours a year on lawn and garden care”. While we realize this number may seem awfully high, there are a few things you can do to help maintain a healthier lawn that will save you time in the long run. These summer lawn maintenance tips will give you back your time to enjoy the summer!

Keep Sharp Mower Blades

First off, this one should probably come as no surprise. Keeping sharp mower blades make mowing your lawn a million times easier. I mean just think about it, we’re even recommended to keep sharp razor blades for shaving so why would it be any different for grass? Yes this makes the job easier but it actually has a bigger significance. Dull blades will give your grass an uneven cut AND it will give entryways that make it easier for disease carrying organisms to enter. To avoid this, you want to keep a few extra blades handy and make sure you either replace or sharpen your mower blades after every 10 hours of work.

Cut at the Right Height

Probably one of the most common and major mistakes that people make with their lawn maintenance is OVER mowing their lawn. It can be easy to justify cutting your grass short so you don’t have to mow your lawn as often however, it causes more harm than good. It is actually best to leave grass at its tallest recommended height so that it can shade the soil which will then reduce water evaporation. Then it will lead to deeper roots and prevent weed seeds from germinating.

Research Your Fertilizers

As with any other product you buy always DO YOUR RESEARCH. Different fertilizers have different effects on your yard depending on the season and type of grass you have. Adding fertilizer can be a quick and easy fix to adding more nutrients to your yard, but too much fertilizer may cause damage. You also want to remember to use the right season fertilizer, they can make quiet the difference. Warm-season turf grows strongly during summer and needs nutrients.

Water Properly

Watering your lawn can be tricky if you don’t know how much water your lawn needs. As a rule of thumb, you want to make sure you water long enough to allow water to sink six inches deep. Watering deep will allow you to water less frequently. What time of day do you usually water your lawn, in the morning or in the evening? Experts say that watering in the morning is more beneficial because this way, your lawn isn’t too damp for too much time AND moisture will be retained a little longer as opposed to evaporating immediately. When you leave your grass wet overnight, you may be exposing your lawn to fungal disease growth.

Keep a Clean Yard

After fun summer activities it’s easy to forget toys and other gadgets in the yard. Remember to keep your lawn clear of any items that may damage your grass by picking up after you’re done! Even pet feces can be harmful and smelly so make sure to pick up after your pet goes potty.

 

As you can see, it takes more than just mowing your lawn regularly to ensure a beautiful yard. We hope we were able to give you insight with this information. It takes a lot of time and trial and error but with the right resources, you should have your summer lawn maintenance routine on lock down and a nice summer lawn in no time.

Cleaning a Mower Air Filter

It’s summer time and while some soak up the sun by the pool, others are hard at work trying to get the mower to start. After all, it’s like what one of our service managers said, “When the grass is green, there’s always an air filter to be cleaned!” Obviously there may be other reasons why the mower won’t start, but a dirty air filter is definitely one of the more common issues. Although a clogged air filter is not a critical situation, it could lead to dire consequences if it goes neglected.

Air Filters

So first off, you need to know what an air filter is. Simply put, air filters are important because they keep air and other junk particles like grass and dirt out of your engine in order to keep it running smooth. If you let the air filter clog up, you could face problems such as poor performance and fuel efficiency, a decreased engine life, or simple mower that won’t start. And what good is a mower that does not start? There are three types of air filters: paper, foam, and dual.

  • Paper Filters – Paper filters keep debris from entering the combustion chamber by trapping dirt on outside of the filter and allowing only intended air through compressed fibers with microscopic holes. These don’t require cleaning, just lift the cover, and replace the dirty filter with a new one. Typically they only need to be replaced one to two times a year, change them when they start to look dirty.
  • Foam Filters – Foam filters include a cotton fabric that must be oiled with motor oil which traps dirt and debris and cling to the outside. This type of air filter is renewable, just needs to be washed!
  • Dual Filters – A dual filter is just what it sounds like, two in one. First it air and other particles pass through the foam portion as a “pre-cleaner” then the rest passes through the paper element. These combinations filters offer the highest level of filtering by far.

 

Cleaning an Air Filter

To ensure your mower’s longevity, you want to make sure your filters are clean. Remember, paper filters are disposable, no need to clean them. Foam and dual filters on the other hand, requires a few things.

Foam Filters

  • First things first, make sure the your mower is turned off and engaged in brake. For a push mower, pull off the spark plug wire from the spark plug then unscrew the wing nut that holds on the air filter housing and remove the housing.
  • Next wash the filter with hot water and a liquid soap that works well on grease. Detergent works really well. Then you want to soak the filter into the water and soap mix making sure it is submerged all the way. Squeeze the water out of the filter with a paper towel. Remove as much water as possible, you can repeat the soaking and squeezing as many times as you want to get it as clean as you.
  • Next you have to add new and clean motor oil to the filter. The easiest and cleanest way would be to put the filter in a plastic bag and add the oil to the bag. You want to make sure you have the right amount of oil. Too much oil can harm the exhaust, causing it to emit black smoke and too little will allow particles to enter your engine. If you have too much oil you can just use the bag to squeeze out some oil or use a paper towel to wrap the filter and then squeeze it out.
  • Clean any debris from the rubber gasket that seals the air filter to the carburetor. If the gasket has tears or pieces missing so that it cannot create a tight seal, replace the gasket
  • Finally just put the filter back in place and you’re all set

Dual Filters

  • Separate the foam filter from the paper cartridge. Gently tap the paper filter on a hard surface to make the buildup fall off. You do not need to use an air compressor otherwise you risk damaging it, if the paper filter is torn you must replace it.
  • Check the manual to see if the foam filter needs to be washed and oiled. If so, repeat the steps you would do for a foam filter stated above.
  • Use a paper towel to simply wipe clean the area where the air filter sits but be careful to not push dirt into the carburetor.
  • Screw the filter back onto the housing. Make sure there are not gaps between the gasket and the housing to avoid dirt filtering in. Then you’re all done!

Conclusion

So hopefully after reading this post you’ve learned one thing….DON’T NEGLECT THE AIR FILTERS! Making sure you replace them when needed and keeping them clean will be better for your mower in the long run. You can even save yourself a headache and a few hundred dollars. In the case that you do have a problem with your mower, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Howard’s Brothers does Power Equipment Service Repair at all of our locations, we are always happy to help.