Business Profiles


last updated 09/12/2020

Powering Ahead


last updated 09/12/2020

High standards mean high performance for Stihl Shop licensees

Onkar Singh: 'Even with a five-week lockdown, the business thrived.'

Stihl Shop is one of the most highly-recognised brands in New Zealand, and to a man who had spent his working life with Air New Zealand, that was important. ‘When I started looking for a business of my own, a strong brand that is held in high esteem was vital,’ says Onkar Singh. ‘I spent thirty years as a qualified aircraft engineer, with various management roles and opportunities overseas, and I knew that a good brand matters. It meant I had a clear idea of what I was looking for.’

Onkar and his wife, Sukhi, had often discussed owning their own business. ‘The more we talked, the more we realised a model with all the support and structure in place would suit us best. Stihl Shop stood out as having what we felt we would need as first-time business owners and, having been around machinery all my life, it seemed like a natural fit.’  

Stihl Shop has been a successful supplier of outdoor power equipment since 1926, and created its own licensed network of specialist stores to help provide customers with the best possible advice and support, as well as spare parts and servicing.

Looking out for each other

With strong roots in the Waikato, and family still farming in the area, Onkar was pleased to find that the Stihl Shop at Te Rapa was available to the right buyer. ‘Peter and Dale Banks have had this purpose-built store for 13 years, and they were as keen as Stihl Shop that it should pass into the right hands,’ says Onkar. ‘They wanted to protect their staff and reputation, built up over many years by passionate and hands-on owners.’

But Stihl Shop didn’t gain its reputation for excellence by allowing just anyone to become a licensee. ‘We had to go through a long process of due diligence by Stihl Shop before we were accepted into their family,’ Onkar smiles. ‘We spent a lot of time talking to other licensees, who are a very close-knit community who look out for each other – they protect their brand, too.’

Covid-19 also slowed things down, but gave Onkar and Sukhi time to do their own due diligence. ‘The key thing for Sukhi and me was the numbers,’ he says. ‘We went through everything with a fine-tooth comb and found all the numbers were above board. We did a great deal of cash-flow forecasting, targets and goals, and even with a five-week lockdown, the business thrived. Throughout it all, Stihl Shop stores continued to trade online and many are experiencing record growth.’

Smooth Transition

The deal done, the couple were delighted by the transition into business ownership. ‘Not only did we receive excellent training from the company, but Peter and Dale could not have made things easier. It was still a massive learning curve but they gave us a whole heap of guidance: Peter stayed with us for six weeks full time after we finally took over in October, Dale for longer, and they will both be on call for us until the end of the year.’

Stihl Shop now has 75 outlets throughout New Zealand and still has opportunities for licensees to open new premises or take over existing stores as their owners retire. Passionate retailers are also invited to convert to the brand, with an investment from around $400,000 depending on location and store size.

‘Stihl sells the best outdoor power equipment there is, and our reputation and high-profile promotion brings new customers in all the time,’ says Melissa Teague, Business Development Manager. ‘By being hands-on, and having a thoroughly professional approach to sales and service, licensees keep them coming back. It’s that which has made the Stihl Shop brand  so strong.

‘For people with those skills and a track record of achievement, we have opportunities throughout the country. Contact us to find out more.’   

See this advertorial on page 9 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 29 Issue 4

Contact details for Stihl Shop

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