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I just found this forum. Hopefully I can learn a few things.

I am a retired automotive engineer. Since retiring I have been fiddling around with small engines on outdoor equipment. Mostly old B&S 5HP (man they must have built a billion of them). I recently inherited a couple of S200s in addition to my CCR2450 (a wonderful machine) that I am trying to bring back to life (neither have been used for many years).

This sort of a son-to-father interest.

About 15+ years ago, there was a small store down the street that claimed to be the "Largest Toro Dealer in the World" (remember this was before Home Depot and Lowes were wide spread). The name of the place was H&R Hardware. H was Harold, the original owner and R was Ralph his son. They invented the marketing phrase "We guarantee snow !" (If the Metro Detroit area did not get an "average" snowfall, you could get your money back !) Ralph also used to advertise on the local UHF TV channel back in the early 60's during the Red Wings hockey games.

So when my son turned 15, he was looking for a part time job and got hired there. Mostly unloading trailers and stacking blower and mowers. This place was so small they rented several storage lockers (2 car garage size) and filled them with blowers every fall. They liked my football player son, because even though he was short he could stack the boxes 7' high without a ladder !

As the snow season would approach, they started assembling machine to fill the showroom doing hundreds of tune ups. By the time the first snow flew you could barely walk through the showroom or the back room. My son was then on the assembly team.

After working there a short while we had a big snow storm. School was canceled so I dropped him at work at about 9AM. I picked him up after midnight (it was still snowing). The crew had assembled around 100 machines and being a macho football player, he started every one ... by hand. The first start on a brand new dry machine might take 10 or more pulls !!

He worked there several years, eventually moving to a place called Commercial Lawnmower. H&R sadly went out of business.

Now he works for a wholesale distributor, mostly commercial stuff. He still has his H&R "We guarantee Snow" letterman style jacket !

I'm sorry that EPA and CARB have killed off 2 stroke engines. Incredible power to weight ratio !

Any one have one of the new Toro 4 stroke single stage blowers ? What engine do they use ?

I know a couple of folks who have electrics and they say they aren't bad up to about 3-4" of snow.
 

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Welcome to the forum. Pretty neat story about your son's experience. Miss those old hardware stores, though I got to say, my local True Value comes close. Guy and his wife run it, and everybody there knows their stuff and will go out of their way to help you.
 

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Poor customer service along with over expansion led to his demise. Good to see people like that finally fail after years of treating customers like Jack asses! But then again you were the person poorly engineering substandard cars for the American public and now are sitting back on your heels with a government back pension..... SHAME ON YOU! Your a pathetic loser!
 

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Settle down Woodtick. He said he was an engineer not the Head of engineering. They gave out price points to build these things to and if you didn't do it you lost your job. If you want someone to blame look to the UAW and their leaching off the big 3. I'm not saying that they are white as snow or they didn't make crappy cars but for the last 15yrs they've been trying to play catchup with a huge piece of the price of every car going to the UAW. As much as I hate the GM chrysler bailout it finally kicked the UAW in the teeth and got them to let go of some of their crazy demands. but anways back to snowblowers there are other forums to talk about crazy automotive politics.

Note I didn't always live in ND I lived 20+ yrs in MI and have family there. So I care very much about the auto industry and what happens to it.
 

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Great story, to answer your question... I just picked up a Toro Power Clear 418ZE which uses the 87cc 4 cycle. I believe it's a B&S engine. First impressions - easy to start (1 pull), fairly quiet. From the vids I've seen online it seems powerful enough to handle a variety of snow. I haven't used it yet, and am anxious to see how it performs. I bought it to supplement my 2 stage so I'm not too worried about it handling anything more than 3" but I definitely will put it to the test. I'll post a review of its performance when I have more to share.
 

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Poor customer service along with over expansion led to his demise. Good to see people like that finally fail after years of treating customers like Jack asses! But then again you were the person poorly engineering substandard cars for the American public and now are sitting back on your heels with a government back pension..... SHAME ON YOU! Your a pathetic loser!
Get a grip dude. I have read the post from theoldwizard1 three times and find nothing in there justifying a response like the one you made. If you have a problem with Detroit or the auto industry take it to a foreign car whiner’s forum. This is a snow blower forum. I have been driving Detroit iron since 1968 and NEVER got a bad car. I bet you are a part on the “Hate America First crowd.

Theoldwizard1…great story about your son and welcome to the forum. I do remember the commercials with the snow guarantee as I spent my formative years in the Canton/Westland areas.
 

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I bought my Toro 521 2 stage from H & R Hardware back in 1985.....I still have it today and it runs like a champ. I think when Westland Lawn and Garden opened across the street from H & R .......it really put a squeeze on their business.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I bought my Toro 521 2 stage from H & R Hardware back in 1985.....I still have it today and it runs like a champ. I think when Westland Lawn and Garden opened across the street from H & R .......it really put a squeeze on their business.
Westland is still there across the street from an empty lot (Dave's is 1/2 mil down Inkster Road and Commercial Lawnmower is over on Plymouth Road)

In H&R's case "competition" had very little to do with it going out of business.

H&R went out of business do to a poor planned/executed business expansion plan. In 20 years I have seen 3 small businesses implode after trying to grow from a 1 location business to a 2 (or more) location business.

The family decided to build and open a store near Brighton. The problem was, instead of making it a separate "company" (I know, more paper work) they just made it part of the original. When the new store "failed", it dragged the old one down the toilet with it, even though the original store still did a fantastic repair business and good sales against the "big box stores".
 

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Poor customer service along with over expansion led to his demise. Good to see people like that finally fail after years of treating customers like Jack asses!
If this tirade is against the family that owned H&R, well you are entitled to your opinion. Any small business is not going to make every customer happy. I thought H&R treated most of their customers well.

But then again you were the person poorly engineering substandard cars for the American public and now are sitting back on your heels with a government back pension..... SHAME ON YOU! Your a pathetic loser!
Well, I worked for the American auto company that DID NOT need a government bail out !

I'm still shocked that the GM and Chrysler bond holders got next to nothing for their investments and the government's statement that this did NOT set a new bankruptcy precedent !
 
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