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."
Farol will now manage a total of six John Deere agricultural and turf dealerships from the Midlands down through London to the south coast of England.
"Being awarded the new area of responsibility for John Deere's golf and turf product range in West Sussex is an incredibly exciting prospect for Farol Midhurst," says managing director Matthew Vellacott. "We will look to continue and build on the high standards of service established by Winchester Garden Machinery, and aim to grow the business with the additional benefits of resources and specialisms that come from being part of a larger group.
"Since Farol's debut in the professional golf and turf machinery business eight years ago, we have seen exceptional business and market share growth. This now contributes over £20 million to the group's turnover, which makes Farol one of the largest professional groundscare machinery dealerships in the UK.
"We believe that our industry leading machine technology and aftersales departments have been key to this success, and we now look forward to demonstrating this support to our new customers in the south of the country. This latest addition to the group will undoubtedly take our golf and turf business from strength to strength."
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 at Blashford, Sparkford, Tilshead and Isle of Wight, 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."