Larry’s Crystal Ball

Beverly Written by Beverly Leavitt July 4, 2022 Member Updates

The outside of Hyde Park Equipment dealership with kubota equipment out front.

Larry Annaert has a crystal ball. It’s just a little fuzzy. 

He’s made some great decisions in his career and some that haven’t panned out as well. But he’s made one of his best decisions to date (in our humble opinion) as he joins the 2022 CEEDA board

The Rewards 

Larry started his career in 1983 after graduating from college. He joined his father at their family-owned business, London Ford, as a municipal and turf equipment salesman. 

Kubota was always the competition, but when Larry’s father retired, he decided to buy Hyde Park Lawn and Garden—a Kubota dealer just down the road. 

Now known as Hyde Park Equipment, Larry and his team have expanded their line to include municipal, turf, construction, and agricultural equipment. 

“Kubota’s product drove that change. They were expanding their commercial and construction lines. They’re very forward-thinking, and we have to meet their expectations. We have a good market share in turf, municipal, and construction; now we’re getting better at ag.”

The Hyde team has slowly gained more ag customers by selling them lawnmowers and other small equipment and then following through with excellent service.  

“Ag customers are very loyal to their colours, but once we’ve built their trust through service, we keep them.”

A Clouded View 

When Larry says his crystal ball is a little fuzzy, it’s because he hasn’t always gotten it right. 

“I cut back our orders when COVID hit, and that was my mistake. People were spending money because they were stuck at home working on their landscaping projects, putting in pools, and updating their driveways.

It wasn’t only homeowners; it was the construction services they were hiring out. Our whole business exploded.”

Since then, Larry’s team has worked within supply chain shortages that have caused longer wait times than ever before. 

The Latest Prediction

Larry’s hesitant to say, but he predicts what he’s calling “a lesser economy—where we’ll see less business in the next 12 months than we did in the last.”

“London is in a construction boom, so that will be steady for a few years to come, but we’re already seeing our consumer line dropping as people return to work and travel. That’s why we’ve diversified rather than having all of our eggs in one basket.”

He’s also thinking about how inflation will affect his employees.

“We have to maintain our staff’s lifestyles, or they will go elsewhere. We’re a family-run business, and we want our employees to be happy. 

It’s not as simple as saying, ‘we’re going to raise our prices.’ I don’t know what’s ahead, but we must be cautious moving forward.”

Risky or Calculated?

In 2018, Larry built a second location in Elgin County, where he and his wife were born and later raised their own children. 

When asked about opening this second location, Larry says: “I’m a risk-taker, and I was once told that if I don’t go out on the limb, I won’t taste the fruit. I know what I’m good at, and I stick within my comfort zone. I know the equipment business, and that’s not a risk to me.”

He did it once and worked out, but would he do it again? 

“I assume moving forward that we would look at any opportunity. Now we have a management team with shares, so they can take the next big risk.”

Insurance Policy 

When Larry talks about his CEEDA Membership, he refers to it as his insurance policy. “You can always call Bev—you know you’re going to be a pain in the ass, but she’ll never let you think that.

We’ve built business-to-business relationships through CEEDA that we still deal with today—like our insurance company.”

We can’t thank Larry enough for joining the CEEDA board this year (and for all of his kind words!). 

Join us in welcoming him and introduce yourself in an email to larry@hydeparkequipment.ca.