RICHVILLE — A business that started out as lawn mower parts salvage has grown over the past six months into everything from service work for small engines to an eBay storefront, with an Internet catalog in the offing.
"At this point we are trying to branch into anything that will bring customers in the front door," said Eric J. Edie, founder of e-Edie's Inc., the parent company of Northern New York Parts, 461 County Route 13. "I expect the bulk of the sales for us will be online selling all forms of small engine parts, new and used. Our goal is to become the largest distributor of small engine parts in the north country."
Mr. Edie started the business with hopes of creating at least two jobs, one for his son, Robert J., and the other for a neighbor, Claude Ashley, who was laid off from a timber company in the Adirondacks.
That hasn't quite happened yet. Robert Edie was working part time in the shop, but his role with the company likely will increase as he recently lost his full-time job.
There hasn't been enough work to hire Mr. Ashley, but Mr. Edie said he hopes by the end of next year to have created two full-time slots and three part-time jobs.
Mr. Edie's idea of a "green" company that would sell used lawn mower parts expanded to service work as customers wanted installation. He started making arrangements with distributors for new parts.
"Business was sporadic, to say the least, and honestly, there was not even enough money coming in to employ one person full time," Mr. Edie said. "So we took our parts and started selling on eBay with around 1,700 items running all the time there."
Mr. Edie, who earned a bachelor's degree in information technology from SUNY Canton after he was disabled as a zinc miner, previously had started e-Edie's Inc. as a Web development company, so selling on eBay and creating a usable Web site came easily. He also has a business account with Amazon for online sales.
"Every package that leaves the shop gets a business card placed inside it with our Web address and phone number," Mr. Edie said. "We are seeing more return customers doing e-mail and phone orders."
The online catalog, with help from daughter Erin J., may be ready after the holidays.
The hardest part in establishing the business locally has been to let people know it exists and to attract buying customers, Mr. Edie said.
"What I can tell you from the local economy is that people don't have a lot of disposable income to spend," he said. "We are finding more people coming to us trying to sell stuff just to get money for Christmas than bringing in stuff for repairs."