Hunt Forest Group has announced an agreement to acquire neighbouring John Deere dealership C Smart Agricultural Services, in line with Deere’s dealer of tomorrow strategy. This move brings together both agricultural and turf equipment sales in a single business covering most of central southern England, while simplifying all aspects of parts and service supply to customers in the area.
All Smart’s employees are being transferred as part of the sale, along with the three existing branch locations in Dorset and Somerset which will continue to operate under the business name Smart Ag Services. The expansion will see Hunt Forest Group nearly double in size, employing around 180 people in total.
Hunt Forest managing director Tim Hunt said: “We have always had close links with Colin Smart in the past and on a personal note I would like to thank him for continuing to help throughout this process and being so positive. We share the same core values that encompass our business ethics, staff and customers and I believe this has been key to completing the sale. The next steps will be very exciting indeed and we look forward to sharing and learning from each other as we continue to grow all aspects of our business.”
Hunt Forest Group supplies the full John Deere product range from six outlets covering Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey and the Isle of Wight. A John Deere dealer since 1971, the company today employs around 115 staff and has a strong focus on customer service, first established by the late Roger Hunt who also helped the Smart family set up its dealer business.
The company is particularly well recognised for support and sales of John Deere combines, self-propelled forage harvesters and Precision Ag services, with its specialist teams and experience. “This expansion of our business allows us to provide even better support to both our agricultural and professional turf customers across the region, with access to more machines, parts and technical know-how, as well as training and advice,” said Tim Hunt.
John Deere Limited division sales manager Joedy Ibbotson added: “This is another great fit for our dealer network, combining two businesses with common values based on delivering an exceptional customer experience with a focus on knowledgeable staff and connected support. The new, expanded dealership will be in a strong position to make the future investments required in facilities, logistics and advanced precision technologies.
“On behalf of the company I would also like to add our thanks to Colin for his valuable and longstanding contribution to the business, including 13 years as a John Deere service and territory manager in the south of England up to 1994, and then as a main dealer together with his wife Frances since 1998.”
Hunt Forest Group managing director Tim Hunt (left) and Colin Smart, managing director of Smart Ag Services.