The Outdoor Shoppe | Tara Hillier
Tara Hillier – The Outdoor Shoppe (St. Anthony, NL)
As a kid, who introduced you to snowmobiling?
My father always had snowmobiles and I began snowmobiling at a very young age.
Tell us about your dealership?
My father and business partner purchased this dealership in 1996. At the time, this was the oldest dealership in North America. It went from the oldest dealership to the newest dealership overnight. In 1999 we undertook major renovations, allowing for a much larger showroom and garage for the technicians. We also acquired Honda Power Equipment and Marine divisions. We stock a variety of generators, snowblowers, water pumps, lawnmowers and trimmers. We also carry the Husqvarna Power Equipment line and just recently acquired Husqvarna Construction Products.
Growing up, did you always want to work in the Snowmobile Industry?
Actually, this was probably the furthest thing from my mind. Growing up, my family wasn’t in this business, so the thoughts of being involved weren’t even there. When I graduated from Grade 12, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Computers were just coming on stream, so I decided to enroll in a 1 year computer course. That 1 year turned in to a 2 year Office Administration course and I went on to work in that field. When Dad acquired the dealership, I began to work here, handling accounts payable, receivable and payroll. When we started offering in- house financing, I moved into that role for a couple of years. Most recently, I took over as Manager.
What have been some of your biggest challenges over the years?
Trying to compete and keep up with the ever changing economy is always a challenge. Trying to keep customers shopping locally is becoming harder and harder with so many opportunities to shop online.
Is your dealership a family run operation, which family members work with you?
My father, Len Budgell is now sole owner and still spends much of his time here. One of his other businesses, Budgell’s Construction Ltd. has their office here in this building and my sister Sara works out of that office. My brother Nathan also works with the construction business
What have been some of the biggest changes you have seen over the years?
Skidoo has gone through many changes, from the Rev to the Rev-XP and now the Rev XS and Rev XM. BRP is constantly refining and revamping. Sleds are more sleek and ergonomic. Engines are now mostly Etec and 4 Stroke. With an E-Tec engine you get the best fuel economy and ease of use, best-in-class oil economy and virtually no smoke or smell. The 4 Stroke engine has advanced significantly as well with the ACE family of engines, the 900 and 600 ACE.