Archive for October, 2010

Economic Growth On Fast Track

October 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Well that is wishful thinking, but it was on a faster pace in Q3.

The economy grew at a slightly faster pace over the summer as Americans spent a little more freely. The Commerce Department said Friday that the economy expanded at a 2 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter. It marked an improvement from the feeble 1.7 percent growth in the April-June quarter.

Still, the economy isn’t growing at a strong enough pace to make a noticeable dent in high unemployment and nearly 15 million Americans are out of work.

Consumers helped boost last quarter’s economic growth with 2.6 percent growth in spending. That was better than the second quarter’s 2.2 percent growth rate and marked the biggest quarterly increase since a 4.1 percent gain at the end of 2006 before the recession hit.

Full Article from AP: Economy Grows At Slightly Faster Pace In Q3

Categories: News

PLANET, the Professional Landcare Network Hits 5 Year Mark

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

PLANET the Professional Landcare Network is celebrating their 5 year anniversary.

See the timeline of the first 5 years of PLANET here.

The past 5 years have gone by quickly. PLANET has come a long way, and we could not have done it without our members!

PLANET, the Professional Landcare Network, is an international association serving lawn care professionals, landscape management contractors, design/build/installation professionals, and interior plantscapers. PLANET provides its members with a good business foundation to help them evaluate, plan, and better manage their companies. Member firms have direct access to marketing tools, industry specific business publications, updates on legislative issues, and networking opportunities that can assist them in becoming more profitable.

Congrats PLANET!

Categories: Landscaping

Independent We Stand, The Power Of Buying Local

October 14, 2010 1 comment

Aztec Rental has joined the Independent We Stand movement!

What is Independent We Stand?

Independent We Stand is all about independently owned businesses across the country reaching out to their communities and educating their neighbors about the many benefits of “buying local.”

You can support the cause and help revive the local economy by shopping at your friends’ and neighbors’ stores. Buy their products. Eat their food. Use their services. In turn, these locally owned and operated businesses will continually pump your hard-earned dollars back into the local economy by way of taxes, payrolls and purchases.

This means more money for roads, schools, services and new jobs in your community.

Independent We Stand recognizes all socially responsible businesses, both large and small. The movement focuses on helping the little guys not just survive, but thrive…and all the while helping them to contribute to their community.

Small business owners think money spent in your community should largely stay there, not always go home with strangers who hail from heaven knows where.

These locals aren’t just “moms and pops.” They’re all about family—brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, cousins, neighbors, friends—all the people who make your community a wonderful place to live. They’re scout leaders, volunteer firemen, Little League coaches. They’re the folks who sing in the church choir, rescue animals and help feed the less fortunate.

It’s time for you to refuse to fuel this recession any longer and help get the economy back on track.

What are the benefits and importance of buying local?

Local businesses across the country now have a new champion in the form of Independent We Stand, a national movement of independent business owners educating their communities on the benefits of shopping at local stores.

“This project began as a way to inform friends and neighbors on one of the best ways to revive our economy: buy local,” said Bill Brunelle, Independent We Stand spokesperson. “Buying products and services from people who work and live in your town means more money goes back to your local area. Through taxes, payrolls, and the business owner’s own local purchases, that reinvestment stays where you live, making your own community a better place.”

Independently owned businesses provide numerous benefits to their local economies that most people might not be aware of. According to recent studies*:

The Economy

  • Small business accounts for 75% of all new jobs.
  • When you spend $100 at an independent business, $68 returns to the local community. Spend that same amount at a national chain and it drops to $43.
  • For every square foot a local firm occupies, the local economy gains $179 vs. $105 for a chain store.
  • Locally-owned businesses reinvest in the local economy at a 60% higher rate than chains and Internet retailers.
  • Small businesses employ just over half all U.S. workers.
  • Small businesses create more than half the nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Locally-owned and operated businesses create higher-paying jobs for you and your neighbors.
  • More of your tax dollars are reinvested in your community to fund local schools, hire more police officers and improve roads

Sources: U.S. Chamber of Commerce – Small Business Nation; Civic Economics – Andersonville Study of Retail Economics. Civic Economics – San Francisco Report on Retail Diversity. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Buy Local Berkeley.

The Community

Did you know independent locally owned and operated businesses…

  • Are run by your neighbors—maybe even friends or mentors? They genuinely care about the well-being of your community because it’s home to them, too.
  • Are among the first to offer their communities a helping hand? Research shows they donate to local charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
  • Add character, quality and charm to your community, not to mention more choices? Often these smaller shops carry items that bigger stores don’t sell—usually because there’s not enough of the really good stuff to go around or the profit margin isn’t high enough for the big guys to stock.

The Environment

  • When you shop at independent locally owned and operated businesses, you are contributing to a smaller carbon footprint. Products often require less packaging and don’t travel as far.
  • Many independent locally owned and operated businesses can be found in established business districts, which mean less infrastructure, less maintenance and less wear and tear on your community

The Independent We Stand website also provides tools for businesses and consumers to further the cause. The newly launched site,, features a database of locally owned businesses across the country, a resource center for business owners to share news and statistics on the importance of buying local, and posters and flyers to help promote the message.

“All socially responsible businesses, big or small, help our economy remain vibrant,” said Brunelle. “Our goal with Independent We Stand, however, is to give locally owned, independent businesses a bigger voice to talk about the important contributions they make.”

Independent We Stand is funded in part by STIHL Inc., a manufacturer of outdoor power equipment that has never sold its products through mass merchants and sells through thousands of independently owned servicing dealers across the country.

stihl aztec rental

With STIHL, the #1 selling brand of handheld outdoor power equipment backing the movement, you know its strong!

Why does Stihl, one of the worlds most recognized companies only do business with independent dealers?
Read This: STIHL in “Box Stores” – Negative Ghost Rider

For more information, to pledge your support for locally owned businesses, or to register your own business in the database, visit  You can also follow them and join the movement on Twitter [@IndWeStand] or Facebook [/independentwestand].

We joined and so should you!

[Aztec Rental]
[Independent We Stand]
[Stihl Outdoor Power Equipment]

Categories: Aztec Rental, STIHL

Even Higher Levels of Ethanol Fuel Coming, Could Damage Your Equipment

October 13, 2010 4 comments

Your equipment might be in harm’s way with the decision of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve higher levels of ethanol in gasoline for use in 2007 and newer automobiles.  The approval is going to bring a 15% Ethanol fuel (E15) to the pumps, a 5% increase to the current Ethanol Fuel (E10) already being sold.

The use of E15 or higher ethanol blended fuels in outdoor power equipment or small engines could cause performance issues, damage the engine, and void the manufacturer’s warranty.  As we know from our posts, Equipment Repair and Warranty Work & Fuel Is Biggest Factor In Engine Problems, fuel related issues are not covered by warranty.  All equipment from lawn mowers to chainsaws and utility vehicles to generators are in the risk of damage scope.

There are problems that can occur with the use of E10 Ethanol fuel already, so the use of E15 will only enhance these issues.  We broke down the four main problems that the E10 Ethanol fuel could cause and the ways to combat it:

Ethanol 101: 4 Main Problems With Ethanol Fuel (E10)
Problem 1: Debris In Fuel
Problem 2: Excessive Water In The Fuel And Phase Separation
Problem 3: ETHANOL Fuels Break Down Quickly
Problem 4: ETHANOL Causes Lost Power, Performance And Decreased Fuel Economy

Click Here for full post on: Ethanol 101: 4 Main Problems With Ethanol Fuel (E10)

With the probability of many people having equipment issues with the use of E15 extremely high, The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) issued a consumer alert on new Ethanol fuel. []

OPEI Issues Consumer Alert on New Ethanol Fuel The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) has advised outdoor power equipment users to be aware of new fuel coming on the market with higher levels of ethanol that could harm equipment sitting in their garages, tool sheds and maintenance buildings. Over two hundred million pieces of outdoor power equipment could be at risk of product failure or voided warranty, including chainsaws, lawnmowers, utility vehicles, generators, snow throwers, trimmers, edgers, pruners, chippers, shredders and blowers.

This advisory comes after the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve higher levels of ethanol (E15 or 15% ethanol) in gasoline for use in only 2007 and newer automobiles.

Until recently, the maximum allowable limit of ethanol in gasoline was E10 or 10%. That means, all engine products in use today, with the exception of “flex-fuel” automobiles, were designed, built and warranted to run on gasoline containing no more than 10% ethanol. Use of E15 or higher ethanol blended fuels in any engine product, with the exception of a “flex-fuel” automobile, could cause performance issues, damage engines, and void the manufacturer’s warranty.

OPEI advises consumers of the following measures to protect products and prevent voided warranties:

1. Read and follow the owner’s manual. It will clearly explain what fuels can be used to ensure a properly functioning product.

2. Do not put any fuel containing more than 10% (E10) in small engine products (EPA’s decision only applies to 2007 and newer highway vehicles), unless otherwise stated.

3. Check the pump to be sure that it is dispensing E10. Some gas pumps at local gas stations may offer both E10 and E15, or have blender pumps that dispense mid-level ethanol fuels for “flex-fuel” automobiles. Higher ethanol fuel (E15) may be less expensive than regular (E10) fuel, but putting E15 into an E10 approved product could cause product failure and void its warranty.

4. Many consumers fill their vehicle gas tank and the gasoline can at the same time. Be sure that the gas can is filled only with E10 fuel.

“The Department of Energy’s (DOE) own testing has shown that putting anything other than E10 in non-road, small engines can cause performance irregularities and equipment failure,” said Kris Kiser, executive vice president at the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. “Consumers need to understand this or they could encounter performance irregularities, increased heat and exhaust temperatures, failure or unintentional clutch engagement when using outdoor lawn and garden equipment.”

OPEI supports Congressional efforts towards energy independence and the use of biofuels, including ethanol, and manufacturers can design and build future equipment to run on specific blends. However, current equipment was not designed to run on any fuel exceeding 10% ethanol.

Bottom line, stay away from the use of the 15% blended Ethanol Fuel (E15) in your small engine and outdoor power equipment, it can only bring bad news.  So, make sure to pay attention to what fuel you are putting in your equipment and fuel cans.

[Ethanol 101: 4 main problems E10 can cause]
[Don’t Shoot The Messanger: Equipment Repair & Warranty Work]
[Biggest Factor In Engine Problems Are Fuel Related Issues]
[Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)]

Construction Employment Approaches 14-Year Low

October 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Construction employment approaches 14-year low, with another 21,000 jobs lost in September and unemployment rate climbing to 17.2 percent.

The number of people working in construction is approaching a 14-year low now that the industry lost 21,000 jobs in September, while construction unemployment is at a September high of 17.2 percent, according to an analysis of federal employment figures released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The construction industry continues to suffer from declining investments in construction and broad uncertainty about the future of many federal infrastructure programs and tax rates, association officials noted.

“It has taken less than four years to erase a decade’s worth of job gains as the industry suffers from declining private, state and local construction demand,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “No other sector of the economy has suffered as much for as long as construction.”

Full Press Release: AGC of America

Categories: Construction, News

August Construction Spending Up, A Smidgen

October 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Smidgen or mile, up is up!

Total construction spending edged up 0.4 percent between July and August to $812 billion, driven by increases in public construction activity including stimulus and base realignment projects, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned, however, that private residential and nonresidential spending both continued to shrink as private-sector demand for construction remains extremely weak.

Private residential construction dropped 1.7 percent during the past year while private nonresidential spending dropped 24 percent, Simonson noted. The economist added that all 11 categories of private nonresidential construction in the Census Bureau’s press release had declined from a year earlier, most by double-digit percentages.

Full Release: AGC of America

Categories: Construction, News

STIHL Puts Green Behind The Orange

October 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Stihl – The Road to Green is Orange

At STIHL, we invest considerable resources in making energy-efficient products that minimize our impact on the environment. We’re committed to developing powerful, fuel-efficient outdoor power equipment while using production practices that are environmentally responsible. After all, taking care of nature is the very basis of everything we do.

Over the past several years, STIHL has made significant investments in research and development to address our environmental footprint. STIHL is dedicated to developing products that are environmentally responsible. We are proud that our product line features some of the best available technologies and some of the cleanest running outdoor power equipment available today. STIHL will continue to work toward socially responsible environmental stewardship both in operation and manufacture. We are also working to increase environmental awareness in our vendors and business partners. After all, taking care of nature is the very basis of our operation.

Stihl has put together an interactive online brochure featuring “greener” outdoor power equipment products. 

Click here to open brochure: STIHL-The Road to Green is Orange

Greener Products From Stihl

Categories: STIHL