Schuster's Outdoor & RV
Beatrice Business Draws Confidence From Weeklong NBDC Program
The owners of Schuster’s Outdoor & RV, Inc., in Beatrice received more than great advice during a week-long consulting program geared toward small businesses in Gage County and presented by Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) consultants.
“It was nice to have someone from outside take a look at what we are doing and see if we are on the right path,” says Carla Schuster, the company’s vice president and co-owner with her husband, Tim. “It was good to have the validation that we are taking the right steps to get where we want to be.”
Schuster says she worked with Sara Bennett, associate director of the NBDC office at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and one of nine NBDC consultants who took part in the project, held in November 2017. The consultants assisted a dozen small businesses during the week.
“Sara discussed expansion plans, financing options, new marketing avenues and ways to identify additional government contracting opportunities,” Schuster recalls. “She has a lot of first-hand knowledge that can benefit small businesses.”
Schuster’s Outdoor & RV sells all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), utility vehicles (UTVs), large capacity lawn mowers, golf cars, and used campers. The company also services ATVs, UTVs and mowers, and sells parts and accessories. The brands they represent include Textron (formerly Arctic Cat) ATVs and UTVs, Exmark Manufacturing Co. lawn mowers, Encore lawn mowers by World Lawn, and Yamaha golf cars.
Tim Schuster began the business in 2001 as a small engine repair shop, working primarily on ATVs and lawn mowers. After adding sales of used campers and used ATVs, Schuster’s Outdoor in 2011 became an Arctic Cat dealer and started selling new ATVs.
By the end of 2011, the business had outgrown its original 3,000-square-foot location and moved to a former armory building with more than 18,000 square feet of space.
In 2017, Exmark, an independent turf care manufacturer in Beatrice, recognized Schuster’s Outdoor as the New Dealer of the Year for sales west of the Mississippi.
To help identify more government contracting opportunities, Bennett directed the Schusters to Quentin Farley, NBDC procurement specialist, who assisted them in completing their System for Award Management (SAM) registration. This important step enables Schuster’s Outdoor & RV to do business with the U.S. government and its agencies.
“Trying to work with the government can be a daunting task” she says. “It’s nice to have someone to go to like Sara. She knows where to direct us and exactly what we need to do.”
The Schusters are active in the Beatrice community. Carla served six years as director of the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce Board and is a longtime member of the Beatrice Rotary Club. The business supports a variety of charitable organizations including the Beatrice Humane Society, Veterans Memorial Park, Nebraska Children’s Home, Children International, and the Beatrice Sertoma Club.
Bennett says she and NBDC will continue to work with the Schusters as they look for ways to expand their product lines and diversify their customer base.
Tim Schuster says Bennett and the NBDC are valuable resources for his and other area small businesses. “So often, you get focused on worrying about day-to-day operations,” he says. “It’s helpful to have someone there to open your eyes to the big picture.”