Daniel Van Gilst and his wife Sara have owned Eastern Engines since 2018 and continue the long tradition of quality products and superior customer service that the business is known for was built on. Tinkess Photo
WILLIAMSBURG – If you travel County Road 31 and pass through the Village of Williamsburg, you are probably familiar with Eastern Engines. It’s that place just north of County Road 18 that always seems to have, depending upon the season, either snowblowers or lawnmowers and riding mowers parked out front. There’s usually a lot of vehicles parked as well, which is always a sign of a healthy and popular business.
Eastern Engines got its start in 1985 and was originally located in the Pinkus building (now Jay’s Tire and Automotive), a bit farther south, but was moved to its current location in 1989. Founded by Wim and Alie Berghuis, the business has been owned and managed since December 2018 by Daniel and Sara Van Gilst.
For many people, if their problem relates to outdoor power equipment, then Eastern Engines is the solution. They are a factory authorized full-service Stihl, Husqvarna, and Toro dealership.
If you somehow managed to miss the equipment parked out front, there is no mistaking the purpose of the business when you walk inside. They have just about anything you would ever need for lawn and garden maintenance (both human controlled and robotic), chainsaws from the smallest battery operated to the extremely powerful gas powered and all the safety equipment you could ever think of. And if it’s parts or service you desire, then you’ve come to the right place.
When asked what to him is the best thing about his business, Van Gilst says it is difficult to pinpoint what appeals to him. I’ve always enjoyed fixing things,” he said. “I enjoy being in the shop.
“Actually though, I’d have to say it is the people,” he adds. “There are so many really great people, and I enjoy working with them.”
Like most small businesses, Van Gilst has felt the effect of supply chain issues experienced by the manufacturers of the products he sells. Some, he says have gotten better, others, however, seem to be heading in the opposite direction. All you can do is work hard to source the things the customer is looking for and try to get it to them as quickly as possible or offer alterative solutions.
While no one can predict the future with any surety, Van Gilst says one thing is sure: the future of Eastern Engines will be in Williamsburg. “I would like to expand at some point,” he said, but I really don’t have the room. We need to stay in Williamsburg though, I don’t think we could have a better location for this business.”
Eastern Engines is located at 4301 County Road 31 in Williamsburg. They are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until noon. You can reach them by phone at 613-535-2488 or through their website at easternengines.com.
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Terry Tinkess is a professional photographer, educator and journalist. He has been making a living with a camera and keyboard since 1999 and has been featured in such publications as The Ottawa Citizen, Cornwall Standard Freeholder, The Globe and Mail, The Miami Herald, Ottawa Construction News, The Ontario Construction Report, Ontario Home Builder Magazine, Reed Construction Data, Canadian Potato Business and most recently, The Record and Eastern Ontario AgriNews. Terry lives in Ingleside, Ontario with his wife Brenda, Mia the anxious Pittie and cats Wally and Chubbers.