Talking Shop with Ferguson’s Automotive & Marine Supply
Thanks a ton for taking the time to sit down with us, Deren! Let’s start by learning a little bit about your business. When did your business open?
My grandfather Hollis Ferguson started the company in 1954. My dad, Gene Ferguson was a boy at the time but was around to help out. In the 1980’s is when my grandfather retired and moved to Georgia and that is when Gene Ferguson and my mom Cheryl took over the business. My brother has worked here for 34 years and I have been here for 30 years. Gene and Cheryl retired about 5 years ago, they still give us great advice if we need help with anything. We are a true mulit generation family owned business.
Do you have employees? How many?
We have 10 employees.
Tell us about your business, including the type or products or services you offer?
When we first opened we strictly did automotive specializing in auto parts. Then as time went on and more and more auto part stores popped up, we realized we needed to change the business, we focused more on the marine and trailer industry. We started doing hitches first then hitches turned into trailers and then lights, tires and hubs and so on. In a nutshell, we do just about anything trailer related from boat trailers to utility and equipment trailers. In addition to trailers, we still sell a large number of automotive parts like oil, filters, belts, etc.
We also do quite a bit of airboat parts including airboat gauges. We also work with local ranchers with items like hydraulic hoses and bearings for their equipment. We also sell a full line of Continental boat trailers. Also, what’s nice is we have a huge fenced in back lot behind the shop where our customers can easily drive their trailers in and drop their trailers off for repair.
What makes your business unique, what is your specialty?
I feel like it’s the personal touch you get. An owner is always here. Our team knows that the goal is to help our customers as much as we can. We can’t always get to everything right away but we try to do the best we can. One example, we had an older gentleman pull up yesterday that was having some lighting issues. I went out there and worked on the lights and had him going right away. He’ll never forget the service he received and he told us that. That’s why he keeps coming back.
What has been your biggest success to date?
It would be moving into sales of trailer supplies and repair. I think adding trailer service to the business has been good for both us and our customers.
What has been your biggest challenge?
It has to pricing as far as keeping up and being competitive. I do a lot of research when prices are changing. I research what our competitors are selling items for. We always want to be competitive and fair. That’s the way I would want to be treated and we try to treat folks the way we would want to be treated.
Does your business give back to your community?
Yes, we donate to the Central Florida Shootout fishing tournament. We donate to some of the legion posts here locally. We have supported the local youth sports teams, High School teams and golf Charites.
Can you describe your customers?
We have people that want to pay someone to just handle the issue they are dealing with, and then we have the do-it-yourselfers that enjoy working on their own trailers. We have a lot of fishermen, boaters, and lawn care professionals. We have customers that their grandkids are our customers now. Their grandfather’s use to bring them in and now they have kids. It’s pretty special when you think about it.
Why do your customers select you over your competitors?
Price wise we are very competitive and I think a lot of it is we have been doing this long enough that we are very knowledgeable. People can bring stuff to us like odd ball bearings and we know what it is and can help them. Usually, we can figure that stuff out, that’s part of it. We have people that come from all over like Orlando and Fort Pierce looking for help with specific items. I think that’s where we really stand out.
Being a successful business owner, what’s your best advice for someone that wants to star their owner business?
I think the biggest thing is you have to have patience and really work your business for it to be successful. A lot of people start businesses and they just want to hire a bunch of people and let it go but you have to be hands on. You need to find people that are knowledge of your product and you have to have people who are in invested in the business like you are. I feel our employees are like family. We try to help each other out as much as possible. As far as advice for someone starting up, you have to work your business to be successful.
That’s awesome, Deren. Thanks for chatting with us, and for all that you do! We highly encourage readers to check out Ferguson’s for any trailer, automotive or marine needs. Find their store or get in touch with them here:
Ferguson’s Automotive & Marine Supply
1315 W New Haven Ave, Melbourne, FL, 32904
Mon – Fri: 8am – 4pm
Sat: 8am – 12pm