ANNOUNCEMENT – Hunt Forest Group expanded turf area and organisational changes
John Deere dealer Winchester Garden Machinery Ltd has decided to relinquish its professional golf & turf business at the end of October 2018, while retaining Deere’s full homeowner equipment franchise. Neighbouring dealers Farol Ltd and Hunt Forest Group will share WGM’s existing professional sales area of responsibility, with Farol’s Midhurst outlet covering West Sussex and Surrey and Hunt Forest Group at Chilbolton taking on Hampshire.
Winchester Garden Machinery has been supplying and maintaining garden and commercial grass care machinery since 1969. It will continue to trade as a main John Deere homeowner dealer, specialising in walk-behind mowers and lawn tractors, from its three domestic machinery sales locations at Winchester and Liss in Hampshire and Sunningdale in Surrey. The business also includes a Forest & Arb Sales division, which was introduced in the early 2000s.
“After over 20 years of supplying and supporting the professional golf & turf sector, Winchester Garden Machinery Ltd has taken the decision to relinquish the franchise for this side of John Deere’s business,” says WGM dealer principal Andrew Hoskings, the company’s owner and co-founder with industry stalwart Robin Nettle, who sadly died of cancer earlier this year. “This decision has not been taken lightly, and with the growth in other sectors of our business – domestic, forestry and commercial – we will continue to be strong trading partners with John Deere on homeowner equipment.
“We will continue to support John Deere’s professional machinery with warranty within the valid dates and undertake service work as required. Winchester Garden machinery is very proud of its association with John Deere and of our reputation as one of the UK’s largest specialist dealers of lawn and garden machinery, and we look forward to the future with confidence.”
R Hunt Ltd and New Forest Farm Machinery Ltd recently signed an agreement to merge their two businesses under the new name Hunt Forest Group from January 1, 2019. R Hunt has been a John Deere agricultural equipment dealer since 1971 and currently runs four outlets covering Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey and the Isle of Wight. New Forest Farm Machinery trades from two outlets in Hampshire and Somerset and has been a John Deere agricultural dealer since 1979, and a professional turf dealer since 1986.
“This new area of responsibility sees our business expand its professional turf coverage and capability into Winchester and East Hampshire by adding the John Deere turf franchise to our existing Chilbolton facility,” says Hunt Forest Group managing director Tim Hunt. “We will be providing full sales, service and parts support for all John Deere professional turf products from Chilbolton, alongside our other outlets from November 2018.
“Following the recent news regarding the creation of Hunt Forest Group, we are able to quickly leverage the experience and staff within our new organisation. We are pleased to say we have immediate coverage for the new professional turf area of responsibility in Hampshire, with knowledgeable staff who will already be very familiar to many customers. We are very excited about the opportunity this brings and look forward to our customers and Hunt Forest Group growing together.”
Hunt Forest Group will also use this as a catalyst to realign some other areas of it’s business. Effective 1 November all depots will become outlets for turf equipment except for North Warnborough.
Specifically, the Isle of Wight will become a full turf outlet and will have access to franchises currently held by NFFM as a direct account. This should help alleviate handling delays from the mainland where at all possible. Logistically, all turf customers on the Island will enjoy local service and support which should make it easy to do business with Hunt Forest Group.
As Hunt Forest Group looks to optimise our franchises over the coming months, we will also roll out access to some of those held by each business to increase our coverage and capability. This means for example we will stock a number of items such as Yanmar diggers and Greenmech chippers at each depot to create customer awareness and make these brands available to all.
To support these changes and to ensure focus on the necessary areas, Ed Smales will become Turf and Construction Sales Director. Ed’s responsibilities in addition to those he holds today will be to primarily manage the turf and construction areas of Hunt Forest Group to ensure continued growth, profitable market share and customer satisfaction.
“Tim Hunt added, we have a business built on quality of service and customer satisfaction. Having industry leading agricultural products has helped us grow and maintain an enviable position among our peers and adding not only John Deere turf but also construction to our portfolio will help us take Hunt Forest Group to the next level. It’s a hugely exciting for all of our staff and management team and we look forward to realising our ambitions”
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