By Steve Yablonski
Art McLaughlin, owner of Art’s Parts and More, began fixing things in his Minetto garage. As his business grew, he built a larger garage — and now he’s moved to an even larger facility at 193 W. Fourth St., in Oswego
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: 10 years. We started in April 1, 2012.
Q: Why did you decide to go into this type of business?
A: As a hobby, I was selling used lawn mower and snowblower parts on eBay. People would see me in my garage at home working on lawn mowers, snowblowers. They would stop and ask me if I fixed lawn mowers, snowblowers.
Q: Do you have background in this line of work?
A: Yes, when I was younger, I would fix my dad’s mowers.
Q: What did you want to be growing up?
A: I did not have any particular occupation that I wanted to be. I just liked fixing things.
Q: How much did it cost to get started?
A: When I started the business 10 years ago, it was in my home in a one-stall garage. Then five years later, I built a garage out back of the home since the business was growing and that cost was $20,000 to build the garage. Now it is 2022, five years later, we now have a business in the city of Oswego with the help of the grant from the city of $20,000 and a business loan from the Oswego County Federal Credit Union for $25,000.
Q: Did you have to buy a building or renovate one?
A: Art’s Parts and More did not have to buy a building. We are leasing a building that needed to be renovated to my business.
Q: Are you in Minetto and Oswego as well?
A: No, we moved to the city of Oswego as of May 1, 2022.
Q: Did you have to buy a lot of supplies?
A: Art’s Parts and More has purchased around $6,000 in inventory. Inventory consists of things like blades, belts, tires, oil and spark plugs.
Q: What are some of changes you have seen in the profession over the years?
A: Lawn mowers and snowblowers have changed over the years. They now have computers and fuel injections just like automobiles.
Q: How many employees do you have?
A: I currently have one driver for pickup and deliveries, one repair tech and one as the office administrator. I do a little of everything.
Q: How hard was it to get the business on its feet?
A: When we started in our home it was easy. Now being in the city of Oswego, we needed to go in front of the Planning and Zoning Board for approval.
Q: Who has helped you along the way?
A: My wife, Jacquelyn, is my biggest support. My children, Brandon, Brittany and Abigayle have helped with dismantling and working in the office. Without the help of Jim Bell, who is the owner of the building and Mayor Billy Barlow, who saw my vision and felt that the city of Oswego needed Art’s Parts and More, we wouldn’t be here.
Q: Do you have a presence online?
A: Yes, it is www.artspartsnmore.com We also have a Facebook page; Arts Parts and a Google account.
Q: What services do you offer?
A: We offer parts available for all outdoor power equipment including lawn mowers, snowblowers, zero turns, weed eaters, hedge trimmers, pressure washer, generators and now ATV and UTVs. We also do repairs on all your equipment and offer pick- up and delivery services just in case you are unable to bring something to Art’s Parts & More. When we have your equipment, we look it over from top to bottom to make sure you have your equipment back in tip-top shape.
Q: What is the best and worst part of the job?
A: Best is helping people save money; [instead of] getting new equipment they can have it fixed at a cheaper rate. Worst part is supply and demand — not being able to get the parts to fix the equipment in a timely fashion.
Q: What is your business philosophy?
A: I am here to help people and do what I enjoy: fixing small engines.
Q: What types of things do you work on?
A: We service and repair everything from compact diesel tractors up to 30hp and all the way down to your run-of-the-mill weed eater trimmer at 28cc.
Q: Are some jobs more difficult than others?
A: I’d have to say the most difficult jobs are rebuilding the hydrostatic transmission in compact tractors. You literally have to split the machine in two to get the transmission out for rebuild. It’s roughly a 15- to 18-hour job depending on how everything goes.
Q: What advice do you give people?
A: The best thing people can do to avoid repairs is do the maintenance as scheduled and use good oil and parts. Don’t get the cheapest thing out there— spend the little extra cash on the good stuff and the mower will last a lot longer.
Q: Do you plan any expansion?
A: At this time there are four of us working here. But, if things go well, then we will hire on as needed. I am looking into expanding more into ATV UTV repair and parts. We do service and repair on ATV and UTV right now but we would like to expand more into that market. We are an authorized Coleman Powersports warranty shop and we are looking to expand more into other brands of ATV and UTV like Polaris, Can-Am and Arctic Cat.