CRESTVIEW — A community fixture for more than 40 years aims to offer top customer service in addition to its quality products.

Wise Equipment began as a small business selling Stihl chainsaws out of a Crestview barn in 1974. The business, founded by John Wise, flourished and had to move four years later to a larger area — the three city lots the company still sits on today at 1147 S. Ferdon Blvd.

Today, Wise Equipment is owned by Jim, Lynne and Edna Wise: John’s son, daughter-in-law and wife. Jim, a marketing graduate of the University of Florida, had approximately 20 years of retail experience before joining the company with his family in 1993, and has since managed the business' day-to-day operation.

These days, the business sells lawn equipment and related repairs and maintenance, with support for Stihl, Toro, Kubota, John Deere, Echo Bear Cat and SCAG Power Equipment, according to its website.

Wise Equipment currently has 14 employees, more than half of whom have been part of the staff for more than 10 years. Their combined industry experience reaches approximately 238 years, according to Jim.

“We have a wonderful staff,” Jim said. “They take a lot of pride in doing right and pleasing the customer. They know that the ultimate boss is our customer.”

The company regularly supports local military endeavors and aids local schools through various sponsorships. According to Jim, they will never say no to a student who comes into the store asking for support.

Although there are some local competitors in the industry, Jim said that hasn't affected business. Wise Equipment advertises in various ways, from newspaper, radio and billboard advertisements; and, Jim said, word of mouth goes a long way.

“If you do a good job, the customer will advertise for you,” Jim said. “What keeps us here is our service department. The service that we provide is what keeps us in business.”

And, according to Jim, Wise Equipment's customers make the business great.

“We literally have the best customer base in the world,” Jim said. “Our customers are just really, really good folks. We have enjoyed living here … and you have to have a service mentality to enjoy this business.

“The public is entitled to the best we have, so that’s what we try to give them."