Impressive Growth at Charterhouse
By Becky Baldry
It's a fair bet that the majority of sports turf and grounds care professionals have used equipment form the Charterhouse Turf Machinery stable. The Surrey-based company was founded just over 20 years ago to distribute the phenomenally successful Verti-Drain deep aerator made by Redexim of Holland; Redexim's eventual acquisition of the business enabled Charterhouse to expand substantially with several specialist divisions.
Today, a spectrum of products is available to meet virtually all the requirements of Groundsmen, landscape managers, contractors, foresters and other professionals, as well as discerning homeowners.As Charterhouse Director, Philip Threadgold, a founder of the business, recalls, the decision to diversify was taken six years ago.
Another key factor in Charterhouse's expansion was the 1997 acquisition of the Michael Richmond Ltd business supplying forestry equipment. This led to the formation of the Charterhouse Richmond division, whose range has been broadened by some 30% for 2003.
Products include specialist items like portable sawmills and fall-arrest harnesses, to power tools, pruning equipment, fencing and power tools for a range of tasks undertaken by today's ground care professionals and greenkeepers.
Substantial investment in the Charterhouse Richmond operation includes an eye-catching, easy-to-read 2003 catalogue - dubbed by some as the Argos catalogue for foresters - and the implementation of measures to further enhance customer service, such as extended opening hours and a promise never to be knowingly undersold. Philip Threadgold reports that sales are increasing strongly, and that a new Field Salesperson has just been appointed for the important Surrey/Sussex area.
Charterhouse's Antonio Carraro Tractors Division, formed to distribute an innovative line-up of Italian tractors, has achieved great success. Designed for versatility and high work-rate, some models feature reversible operating positions for fast switching between front and rear attachments. Philip Threadgold is also very excited about the newly launched Multi-One range of powered work vehicles. Making their public debut at the recent Hirex@SED exhibition, these multi-tasking units can be fitted with a variety of attachments to undertake a host of landscaping, construction and farming tasks, extending Charterhouse's market reach even further.
Philip Threadgold emphasises that the success of the Charterhouse group has been due to understanding the needs of customers and maintaining close links with them. Dedicated dealer networks have been established for each division. "Charterhouse Turf Machinery have always aimed to be the experts in turf cultivation, and whenever we appoint a dealer we ensure they have thorough turf care knowledge.
"Dealer support is important to us: our annual Dealer Breakfast at BTME in Harrogate includes Awards for the top performers and informs salespeople about new products and market trends. We also run an extremely successful Charterhouse Salesman Award Scheme, whereby dealers and staff earn points for every sale, which can be converted to major prizes. For 2004, they have the opportunity to visit the Golf Course Superintendents of America Association (GCSAA) Show in San Diego."
After six years of rapid expansion, Philip Threadgold and his team are focused on consolidation, to ensure that Charterhouse maintains the highest possible level of customer service, that it has become well known for.