MILLION DOLLAR EFFORT

January 14, 2003 11:00 pm
ON A ROLL: Local Sears manager Terri Hocker said her favorite items to sell are lawn tractors. (The Observer/LAURA MACKIE-HANCOCK).
ON A ROLL: Local Sears manager Terri Hocker said her favorite items to sell are lawn tractors. (The Observer/LAURA MACKIE-HANCOCK).

By Ray Linker

Observer staff writer

Terri Hocker has been sales manager at the local Sears dealer store on Walton Road in Island City for eight years and held a similar position for eight years at Dolven's in La Grande.

But 2002 was the first time she hit the $1 million mark in sales.

Although the Island City store is a dealer store and not a full-fledged Sears store, it carries "the top six brand names in appliances and give people a lot of choices. And we can give them some really good prices," Hocker said.

One disadvantage to operating in a store with not as much floor space as other major stores, she said, is that the store is limited in what it has on display.

"If we don't have a stove or product a person wants, we can let them look in a book and select it."

It's not a catalogue, she said.

She gets some referrals through Sears.com.

She sells such items as large-screen televisions, lawn mowers and other outdoor equipment as well as refrigerators, washers and dryers.

"My favorite thing to sell is the lawn tractor mower," Hocker said.

But she doesn't put a lot of pressure on people.

"They know what they want and come in to look at it. When they say they want a lawn tractor mower, we ‘qualify' them, see if they need it or if something smaller would fit their needs. We question them and try to decide what meets their needs."

Last year, she said, she sold 65 to 70 of the riding mowers. They range in price from $1,000 to $3,000.

She expects 2003 to be "as good or better" than last year and plans to accomplish that by "continuing to offer customers what they want."

Topping the $1 million mark is great, but she's not about to stop picking up more tips on how to sell.

This week, she's attending a "dealer fest" in Las Vegas. There she meets other salespeople and exchanges tips, ideas and information on new products.

The local store, owned by Glen and Heather Null, is for sale through Century 21 Eagle Cap Realty in La Grande.

"I hope the new owners want to keep me," she said.