In a time when local businesses everywhere are struggling, a couple are branching out.

A couple of local businesses are testing the waters and adding new products and services. Once such business is Federal Tire, 323 N. Washington Ave. in Wellington.

Husqvarna, an outdoors equipment company, is partnering with Federal Tire.

"Federal Tire is expanding," said Federal Tire owner, Gerald Gilkey. "We're going to be a dealership for their products." Recently, Federal Tire got in its first shipment of Husqvarna chain-saws, and lawn mowers.

"We've already sold a couple of products," Gilkey said. "...It's working out really good." Husquvarna Territory Sales Manger, Forrest Perich said Wellington was a good fit for the company.

"Husqvarna has been in business since the 1700's," he said. "The compnay has evolved over the centuries, producing firearms, sewing machines, and outdoor power equipment." Perich and his team were looking for a lawn mower shop in Wellington, discovered there had been one but it was out of business. Then they walked into Federal Tire.

"We are constantly on the look out for potential markets that we're not in," Perich said. "The Wellington market didn't have a lawn mower this made a lot of sense to grab somebody down there."

Also, Federal Tire is in the process of adding full-service mower repair to their list of services.
"One of the things we're doing right now is our employees are going through training, getting all of our certifications and what repair and sell, do warranty work [on mowers], the whole nine yards." Gilkey said. If all goes according to plan, they could be working on mowers, any make model or brand, by late Febuary or early March.

"We'll work on just about anything that comes through the door," Gilkey said. "We've got parts availability, we're going to be building our inventory as we go along."

The Gilkey's have gone through the transition of owning Federal Tire after purchasing the business from Grant Anderson last year.

"It's been good, you're always very nervous when you're going into a new venture or changing ownership of a business," Gilkey said. "It's been a little bit of a learning curve but I think business is doing well." The folks at Federal Tire are striving to continue the highest levels of service.

"We've made a few changes that I think are going to benefit our customers, and adding the mower service is another thing we can offer, and we'll probably be hiring another person," Gilkey said.

Another business that has added new products and services is Country Side Motors, 701 E. 16th St. They recently started selling Polaris All-Terrain Vehicles and Hustler Turf Equipment. Owners Country Side were unable to be reached for an interview.

In a time when it seems like a lot of local businesses are having a tough time keeping afloat, it's encouraging to see a couple are taking a leap and expanding.

"If people know me, they know that I'm not going to be satisifed with the status-quo," Gilkey said. "I'm always looking to be bigger, better and improve."