GMV in Hooglede opened its doors in 1978. Owned and operated by Patsy Verplanke, GMV is unique in two ways. First, Verplanke is very creative and aggressive, tells Erwin Vander Putten, commercial salesperson for the Walker master distributor in Belgium, Depiere. "The commercial market has a lot of potential here, and she is willing to do what it takes to capitalize on this potential." Among her marketing tools, he explains, are evening service schools in the off-season, open houses, attending national demo days in Brussels, and sending out direct mailers to potential customers, including area camps.
In addition, the store is really two stores under one roof. While Verplanke markets and sells outdoor power equipment, including an average of five Walkers a year, her uncle operates a completely separate service business that supports the store. The dual makeup allows both operations to focus on what they do best, selling and servicing power equipment.
"In Belgium, the trend, until recently, was to use tractors with bellymount mowers," tells Verplanke. "An outfront mower like a Walker is really an innovation. With more than 900 professional users in the area, we feel we have a lot of potential with the mower.·