For some, it is relaxing to spend an afternoon guiding a lawnmower around the yard, feeling the vibrations of the internal combustion engine as the grass has a little taken off the top.
When the lawnmower breaks down, it can be a real pain. That is, unless you are familiar with F.M. Pile Hardware.
The family-owned business on the West Side is the place to go for lawnmower repair. It's been helping people get mowers in shape since 1990.
The store itself, which fronts Washington Street West and is also accessible from Horns Avenue in the back, dates to 1932. In the era of Wal-Mart, Lowe's and Home Depot, it is nothing short of remarkable that a good old-fashioned hardware store has not only managed to hang on, but also to prosper.
Friendly, personal customer service is the key. It's been that way through four generations of the Pile family.
Lawnmower shop manager Ted Pile - part of that fourth generation - said roughly 40 mowers come through the doors on a given day in the busiest season.
"We do upwards of 8,000 repairs every summer," he said. "I've got four full-time mechanics, four customer service guys and me."
Pile said the shop isn't limited to just repairing regular mowers. The mechanics handle riding mowers, weed trimmers, generators, edgers, blowers, pressure washers, saws and much more.
"Pretty much any power lawn equipment we can handle," Pile said. "There are certain brands of things we just cannot handle because it is too difficult to get parts. Sometimes when we get really busy, we are restrictive on the brands we work on because we just don't have the capacity to handle them. For two to three months we're really, really, really busy."
Pile said the most common problem with mowers involves the fuel system.
"Dirt in carburetors, old gas, rotten fuel lines, dirty fuel filters and things like that," Pile said. "Fuel systems are the most service-intensive part of any power equipment, be it a mower, trimmer, saw or riding mower."
Its reputation for equipment repair gives Pile a steady source of business from spring until fall.