Walking into Ernie’s Tool and Specialty Company is an experience that leaves a lasting impression upon customers looking for nearly anything from hand tools to engines. The atmosphere is homey with a solid foundation of friendly service; customers entering the store or calling the shop are instantly greeted like an old friend. It’s a small store and one of a kind in Augustine, Florida, but has nearly everything under the sun available for customers that range from do-it-yourself homeowners to those working in the construction field. Ernie Burnett, owner and founder of Ernie’s Tools, started his company in 1981, fresh out of school with a vision to begin his own tool repair company. His desire for his own tool business was sparked from the foundation laid by his own family; he had grown up in a family whose hands and minds were fluent in the language of tools.
Since the 1950’s, the Burnett’s interest centered around electric motors, tools and equipment repairs, and their involvement contributed to the future business that Ernie was destined to start. This knowledge and passion was passed to Ernie, who knew the intricate world of repairs from first hand experience and wanted to provide a tool service that would assist the numerous tasks and challenges his customers presented. Ernie’s Tool Company had a successful start, but still harbored the hope of further expansion. Expansion indeed arrived as the tool repairs shop branched out over the past thirty years, encompassing a wide range of products and services that has now formed Ernie’s Tool and Specialty Company.
When asked about what has made his company flourish over three decades, Ernie Burnett gave a simple but solid reply. “Hard work, determination, and knowing that there is nothing too big to tackle has given us great success.” That hard work can be understood when Burnett also states that there are only five employees. “We’re a family,” he says, which furthermore fuels the friendly atmosphere and the impeccable customer service his employees provide on a day-to day basis. While his company is local and is not seeking to expand into a chain, the dedication and grit of a small employee base further testifies to what makes Ernie’s Company so unique and inspiring. They aren’t a big company yet Ernie’s has the admirable flexibility of a small business that has grown to accommodate a large range of customers. While they are primarily able to cater to construction groups, Ernie’s also benefits the local customer base that stops by to purchase tools for home projects.
There are engines to fit construction and industrial equipment as well as agricultural equipment, lawn mowers, water pumps, compressors and cement mixers while the generators offered suit both the professional and the do-it-yourselfer. Power tools such as saws, drills, grinders and shears are widely available, as well as much needed safety gear. For the tile and stone tools category, Ernie has saws, blades, nippers, trowels, polishers and more that will help his customers get the job done. While the list of services and tools goes on, one thing remains stationary. That hard work and determination grew a seasoned local company that serves not only professional construction groups but the customers (average joe) next door seeking repairs.
ERNIE’S AND COUGAR MOUNTAIN SOFTWARE
Shortly after Ernie started his company in the early eighty’s, he began to search for the perfect software program that would accommodate the growth he envisioned. “I wanted to computerize my company,” Ernie says, “and so I started with one particular software that ran out of space. I ended up having to add a hard drive and pay five hundred dollars for it. I knew I needed a more complete and integrated software program.” His quest brought him to discover Cougar Mountain Software in 1985. Ernie even recalls talking to Bob Gossett, the founder of Cougar Mountain. It wasn’t long before Ernie was sold on the promise of the Gossett’s solid accounting program, and utilized all of Cougar Mountain’s products.
Today, Ernie has upgraded to the Cougar Mountain Software Denali system, and primarily uses the Point of Sales and the account payables and receivables. “It’s a very stable product,” Ernie praises when discussing Cougar Mountain Software. “It’s very easy to learn. It also has a nice double entry for the accounting system. It’s altogether a very good network with lots of levels of service.” Ultimately, Ernie explains that the software has helped him grow and expand with his company, and the results are promising. After thirty one years, Ernie’s Tool and Specialty Company is ready to continue growing well into the future. In the same manner that Ernie’s company provides the tools for success to each of his customers, so Cougar Mountain Software has given Ernie the accounting tools to build a solid, successful business.