The Petrikas family have been selling agricultural and landscape equipment for generations and now specialise in ride-on mowers. Throughout all the evolutions of their business, the fluctuating market, the changes in environment and the advancements in products, one brand has stood the test of time for them; Cub Cadet.
Dick Petrikas was an agricultural contractor who started his business in 1963 and began selling chainsaws on the side to other contractors and councils that he did work for. Based around the lush countryside of the Hawksbury area, North-West of Sydney, just by the Blue Mountains, Dick soon began diversifying and retailing other farming and gardening equipment. As the local landscape changed from an agricultural district to more of a lifestyle area, the business organically progressed towards selling small-tomedium sized tractors and ride-on mowers to farmers and large-block homeowners. Dick’s son Chris has now taken over running Dick Petrikas Propriety Limited.
“We never went with anything flash,” Chris said of the company name. “We started as a family business and there’s still family involved. I’ve worked in the business ever since being a kid. I’m a plant mechanic by trade, but I came into the business in what was meant to be a temporary role back in 1980, and I’m still here.
“I have done lots of other training and became a TAFE teacher in 1993 and am still a part-time teacher in agriculture and horticulture. Some of my specialties also include advanced chainsaw operations where I teach National Parks and Councils and all sorts of farmers.”
Chris’s brother – Dick’s other son – takes care of the contracting services that the company still offers. In total they have seven staff that work out of their large dealership in Tennyson.
“We’re not a store in a shopping centre,” Chris explained, “we’ve got an acreage with grass for people to drive around on, and when we’re repairing things we can literally test them on our premises.”
The Petrikases have been through a lot over the decades, from financial crises to viral pandemics. They’ve also seen their fair share of products phase in and out.
“We’ve gone through quite a few different mower brands over the years,” Chris admitted. “Years ago I said to my old man, ‘Why have we got all these mowers? We’d be better off letting a few of them go; they’re a pain in the neck for spare parts and support’. So we let a few brands go, plus a couple of brands changed owners and suppliers stopped bringing them in.”
Removing dead links from their supply chain and whittling down their product ranges to only stock the best, Petrikas found a dependable partner that they have always stuck with. Through the ebbs and flows, they have now been proudly and steadily selling Cub Cadet mowers for over 25 years.
“One thing you can’t deny with the Cub Cadet range, over the years they’ve been really reliable for the consistent supply of equipment and parts,” praised Chris.
And as for the manufacturer and official supplier of Cub Cadet, MTD Products, they’re just as invaluable, with Chris saying: “Compared to a lot of other suppliers, MTD Products do great; they identify parts quickly and can generally supply them instantly. They’ve been there for us for the long haul and I’m really happy with their overall abilities and support.”
Being based around the foothills of the Blue Mountains, many of Chris’s customers are dealing with some pretty undulating, steep terrain. Because of this their most popular machines are the steering-wheel, zero-turn Cub Cadet mowers. Chris likes selling these because of the secure, surefootedness they provide the operator.
“Steering-wheel, zero-turn mowers on steeper countryside are worth a look at for any customer,” he said. “The charm with these machines is, on steeper countryside for inexperienced people, it’s like driving a car, because they still have a steering wheel to hang on to. Whereas on a standard zero turn there’s nothing to hang on to – they’re holding on to the controls. Many weekend warriors end up getting into trouble in them. Plus a steering wheel machine is actually rated as much safer up to 20-degrees, or 25-degrees in some models.
“We’ve had customers that over the years have been using a standard mower and they’ve had to mow down these steep spots and slowly go around in circles to get through it. Then they get one of these steering-wheel, zero-turn machines and they safely mow the whole place without any dramas, plus they can turn around in a tight spot so they’re not backing and filling as much.”
The biggest seller for Petrikas for the last couple of seasons was the Cub Cadet RZT S 46 with the stronger fab deck. However, this season his clientele have been upping the ante with the Z-Force and even the Pro Z Series – the next sizes up and a little bit tougher again – being really popular.
“I think this is because there’s been more grass around,” Chris deduced. “There are also more people working from home. They’re saving an extra couple of hours a day not commuting, they’re spending more time and care on their land, so quite a few of them have decided to buy a decent mower instead of fighting with an old one. The other thing is, with the fires from last year, several people have been a bit anxious, so they’re keeping more of their grounds maintained for safety, and they need the right mower that’s capable of keeping their acreages in tune.”
With their deep-rooted family background and diverse experience across all aspects, the team at Dick Petrikas Pty Ltd can’t help but give good advice. So when they recommend paying attention to Cub Cadet’s range of steering-wheel, zero-turn, ride-on mowers, LCM readers should take note.
“One of our saving graces,” Chris concluded, “is we’ve been in the industry as an end user on a lot of the products ourselves. And then we’ve not only got product knowledge, we’ve also got hort’ and agricultural knowledge too. It’s great to pass all that on when someone is asking ‘what machine will suit my place?’.”
Contact Dick Petrikas Pty Ltd on (02) 4576 5555. For more info on Cub Cadet go to cubcadet.com.au