Accounts of dealerships around the country
by Service Dealer Editor, Steve Gibbs
Steve Gibbs

The judging has taken place for the Dealer Of The Year awards and, as ever, the panel were privy to stories of dealers thriving, pushing onwards into new endeavours and planning for the future.


This week, it was that time of the year when I'm privileged to be able to join the judging panel for the magazine's Dealer Of The Year Awards.


I'm not sure why I'm taken aback by this every year - because I should be used to it by now - but the standard of nominations that the awards received this year was truly exceptional. It is genuinely such a pleasure to work through so many inspiring accounts of businesses and individuals, around the country, continuing to produce such incredible work. In a period where a lot of what we are told about the state of the country is pure doom and gloom, to hear about our readers thriving, pushing onwards into new endeavours and planning for the future, is a delight. 


Not that I'm looking for sympathy (!) but being part of the judging panel for the Dealer Awards is, as ever, a taxing operation and one that comes with a tangible weight of responsibility. However, after a meticulous and fair process, the panel finally made their choices, whittling down all the entires to the finalists and, eventually, to the winners in each category.


The judges (after the hard work was completed!). L-R: Laurence Gale, TurfPro editor; Steve Gibbs, Service Dealer editor; Keith Christian, ex-BAGMA and new Service Dealer contributor; Duncan Murray-Clarke, Service Dealer owner.


The panel were privy to accounts from our dealer readers themselves about their businesses and their valued team-mates, from their supplying manufacturers and from their satisfied customers. Listening to all these voices and their informed perspectives was a delight and of great benefit to the panel, allowing opinions to form and constructive debates to lead to definitive conclusions.


The final result is a cohort of businesses, stars, technicians and leaders who are truly worthy of industry-wide recognition.


But I want to stress, it's not just those who will have their names read out in a couple of week's time who are the sole winners here (I mean, they kind of are because we only have one prize per category to hand out - but you take my point!) Rather it's the UK independent dealer network as a whole that should feel immense pride and satisfaction at a job well done. 


I'm sure day to day, dealers can feel undervalued, under appreciated and indeed, under immense pressure. It must often feel like a thankless task, dealing with frustrations generated both from customers and (occasionally!) suppliers. Every year though, we hear more and more accounts of tremendous entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation within the network. To have this recognised by peers, colleagues and the wider industry is, I feel, a truly worthwhile endeavour. Similar to every year, the winners chosen represent firstly their own businesses, but also importantly, they represent the wider dealer industry.


Everyone reading this today will know how hard they've worked again this past year, surmounting their own hurdles and ticking off their own achievements. As we get into the back end of 2023, it's worth taking a moment to reflect on these moments and to offer yourself and your team a well-deserved pat on the back for not just making it through, but for shining.


That's certainly what we'll be doing in a couple of week's time at the Awards ceremony. We look forward to celebrating with everyone then.

'Baton passed on' in UK

In our WEB ONLY story, company says that for existing UK dealers of the Cramer brand, the transition is expected to take place from early 2024.


Shutting doors before Christmas
James Hayes in the showroom

North Devon dealership has informed its customers that the business will be closing down before the end of the year.


Hayes Machinery, based in South Molton, North Devon, has informed its customers that they will be closing their doors for the final time on Friday 22nd December 2023.


Hayes Machinery owner, James Hayes


In a statement posted to the dealership's website, they say the decision to cease trading was made "due to continued market pressures and a change in business direction away from the retail and service of new equipment."


Addressing customers, the statement says, "If you currently have an order with us or a machine in for repair/service, please don’t panic, we have NOT gone bankrupt or insolvent. We will be in contact to either fulfil your order, complete your repair, or if you so wish, you may cancel."


Hayes go on to confirm that ABA Groundcare ,who are based in Tiverton, will be taking over their servicing and repairs going forward. They will also be taking over Hayes's phone numbers, website and Facebook page.


The statement also thanks customers for their business and support - as well as thanking team members. It says, "Whether current or past members, they have been the backbone of the company and we take great pride in having had them as part of our extended family. New positions and opportunities have been offered or are being sorted for them all. We would never leave a member of our team stranded."


The statement also confirms, "Just for the record of the rumour mill, all our suppliers have been informed and are paid up to date."


Service Dealer spoke to owner James Hayes this week who confirmed that whilst the dealership would be closing, he and his team would be continuing with their Machinery Nation social media enterprise. "We have bought a new property where we will be based that has lots of space for filming," James told us. "We will be upping our content next year and look forward to producing videos with manufacturers both established and new to us."

Watch Husqvarna speak to Service Dealer
Husqvarna's Johnny Snowball talking to Service Dealer owner Duncan Murray-Clarke

Service Dealer caught up with Husqvarna's Johnny Snowball, who told us about what's been going on at the company recently - as well as their thoughts on sustainability, the customer experience and employee well-being.


Service Dealer owner Duncan Murray-Clark caught up with Husqvarna's head of business unit professional UK, Johnny Snowball, at the recent SALTEX exhibition, who told us about what's been going on at the company recently - as well as their thoughts on sustainability, the customer experience and employee well-being.


Johnny tells Duncan that during the past year they have grown their customer service team, aftersales and field support. He says, "A lot of the back-office functions aren't visible to the dealers, but it makes a difference to their experience."


Watch the full chat below or on Service Dealer's YouTube channel.


Johnny Snowball from Husqvarna talks with us at Saltex Conference 2023

Business of the Year
The dealership's team collect their award

Business was judged on their history, vision, management, financial performance, customer service and as an employer.


Swadlincote-based dealership Masseys Home and Garden Store, recently scooped the top award of Business of the Year at the East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire Awards dinner.


Peter Massey and the team collect their award


The company was classed as a medium sized business (20-100 employees) and the winners of all 7 categories were re-judged to come to the final decision of overall Business of the Year. Masseys were judged on their history, vision, management, financial performance, customer service and as an employer. The judges were complimentary about the dealership in all departments.


Director, Peter Massey, said, "When I walked in to work the next morning, all my work colleagues were paying me the compliments. I had to point out it was as much about what they do, and how they look after our customers, keep the store full and tidy and how they work with our suppliers, as it is about the directors and managers."


Peter continued, "It’s also an award almost eighty years in the making. My Grandfather started the store from a terraced shop. Over the years each generation of staff have pushed the company forward, increasing stock ranges, delivering excellent customer service. We as a company have moved premises twice, always staying on the same road, keeping that vital link to the local community as well as attracting customers from all over the midlands. 


"We have created the need for expansion by gradually increasing our customer offering, rather than taking the ‘build it and they will come’ attitude of the large chains (across all retail) then wondering why they sometimes fail and close having no link or history with the local community. We are proud of our South Derbyshire heritage and support several local charities."


Peter concluded, "The award is a huge moral boost for the whole company and a nod to our excellent suppliers. It’s also a boost for Swadlincote and retail in general at a time when the press is full of depression for the high street."

Showroom and people investment
Dealership expands with Honda appointment

Dealership has invested over £50,000 in a new customer experience as part of the appointment, and has redeveloped its showroom and storage facilities.


GGM Groundscare have announced that their depot in Haydock, which has been established for five years, has been appointed as a Honda authorised dealer for the lawn and garden range.


The new Honda business will serve customers in Warrington, St Helens and Wigan and has just invested over £50,000 in a new customer experience as part of the appointment. They have also redeveloped their showroom and storage facilities at the premises.

As a result of this announcement, GGM say they will be recruiting for several new roles including sales, service and admin.

The development of the new Honda franchise and newly improved Haydock showroom has been overseen by Thomas Gibson. He said, “This is an extremely exciting time for the business to coincide with our five years at Haydock. As a customer and staff centric organisation, it gives us the means to offer new opportunities to local people in the form of both job opportunities and service levels. We’re looking forward to developing the Honda brand and welcoming customers into our showroom.”


Stuart Edgar, Honda dealer manager said, “We are delighted to establish this franchise with GGM Groundscare. As a forward-thinking organisation, we are confident that they are a great choice to represent our lawn and garden product range, drawing on their expertise and knowledge of garden machinery and their excellent customer service reputation with customers. 

Chris Gibson, managing director of GGM added, “This an extremely exciting time for the GGM Group. We already have a strong and competent team that is capable of delivering first class customer service and support, with professional groundcare machinery and the Honda business will only add to this”.

For 2023's edition

The organisers of the recent SALTEX exhibition have released a statement addressing both the quantity and quality of this year's visitors.


The GMA, organisers of the recent SALTEX exhibition, have said that this year's show saw over 7,900 visitors to the two-day event.



In a statement the Association say they were pleased not just with the quantity of visitors in the face of Storm Ciaran, but also the quality

Geoff Webb, CEO, said, “The show data demonstrates that SALTEX continues to deliver on an extremely high level of quality attendees: 25 percent of visitors hold senior managerial positions at their place of work and nearly 80 percent play a role in the purchasing decision-making.”

This year, say the GMA, the show saw visitors attend from across the UK, plus it saw a growing international attendance - with a 20 percent increase in visitors from around the globe.

Geoff Webb added, “SALTEX has delivered for the industry once again - it’s the perfect platform to showcase the UK turf sector globally and is a success story for the UK as a whole. For the show to maintain its position as the leading free grounds management show in Europe is testament to how highly regarded and valuable the show is perceived to be in the industry.”


SALTEX returns to the Birmingham NEC on 30-31 October 2024.

And mini excavators
Lovol tractors

Importing dealership says that franchise opportunities are available for the range.


Severn Farm Machinery Ltd, based in Pontesbury near Shrewsbury, have announced that they have become the UK Importer for Lovol Machinery - which encompasses the full range of tractors as well as mini excavators.



Chris Willner, director at Severn Farm Machinery, explained, "The tractors range from 25HP up to 130HP. We have units in stock and also demo units available. We keep a large parts inventory and can supply a full range of implements."


Chris went on to say that UK franchise opportunities are now available for the tractor and mini excavator range.


Lovol will be exhibiting at Lamma 2024, showcasing a range of tractors in varied specifications and Severn Farm Machinery will be there to speak to visitors. 

And confirm new date

Building on the feedback received from the first edition, the organising team say they working to implement improvements for next year.


The organisers of the new GroundsFest trade show have confirmed that the date for 2024's edition will be slightly earlier than this year, with it scheduled to take place at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, on September 10 and 11.



Building on the feedback received from the first edition, the organisers have also said they are working to implement improvements to the show. One of the significant changes is the introduction of what they describe as a "more free-flowing layout." They say the addition of a new entrance is intended to reduce the walk to the event.


The camping zone is set to see new facilities and the festival area is also in for a makeover, with plans underway to introduce new attractions. 


Organisers have also said that they have seen an over 90% rebooking rate from exhibitors and, according to the post-show exhibitor survey, 93% of exhibitors generated new sales leads.


Marketing director of the show, Chris Bennett, said, “The only way to evolve GroundsFest is by listening to the industry. This commitment to responsiveness and adaptability ensures that each edition of GroundsFest is a reflection of the evolving needs and desires of the landscaping and grounds management community.”

Launch of Farming Simulator Kids
Farming Simulator Kids

Game promises to educate and entertain kids in a child-friendly environment.


Giants Software has announced a brand-new game, which they say will introduce the next generation to the world of farming and nature - Farming Simulator Kids.



Promising to educate and entertain kids in a child-friendly environment, the gameplay focuses on audiovisual presentation instead of text. Virtual neighbours - including some anthropomorphic animal characters - display their needs for help and ask young players to harvest crops or prepare a delicious sandwich.

Children explore farm locations to grow and harvest healthy crops, or care for farm animals like cows, chickens, or geese in their stables. As big tractors and other vehicles are a must, kids can operate a variety of machines by John Deere, all while creating educational farming stories that are rewarded with achievements and can be captured with a video creator mode. 


"We're thrilled beyond measure to introduce young children to farming in a playful and sheltered way," says Thomas Frey, creative director at Giants Software. "With John Deere as our ideal partner for Farming Simulator Kids, we're creating an educational and unforgettable - even inspiring - farming game for young players, one that may even nurture their general interest in farming.”


Stefan Mügge, manager marketing communication at John Deere added, "It is a pleasure for us to support such an appealing project, which introduces children to agriculture in a playful way and awakens their interest in food production."


The game will be available on Nintendo Switch and mobile devices in spring 2024.

Embrace the changing seasons with confidence
Kress One-hand Chainsaw KG343E

When the Autumn challenges start piling up, Kress tools are here to make your life easier.


When the Autumn challenges start piling up, Kress tools are here to make your life easier.



Introducing the Kress One-hand Chainsaw KG343E - a game-changer in tackling the challenges of fallen branches during autumn. This powerful tool redefines the task of cutting branches, making it a breeze to transform them into manageable pieces. Equipped with a powerful brushless motor and a self-lubricating chain, the Kress One-hand Chainsaw eliminates the struggle with unwieldy branches. Ideal for pruning, trimming and delimbing, the Kress One-hand Chainsaw is a versatile solution for various tasks in your outdoor space.


When it comes to reviving your garden furniture from the challenge of Autumn dirt and leaves, the Kress Portable Power Cleaner KG633E is your go-to hero. This powerful tool blasts away grime, leaving your outdoor spaces looking as good as new. Say goodbye to the hassle of manual cleaning and discover the efficiency of the Kress Portable Power Cleaner.

These handy tools are powered by Kress's KrossPack battery - an innovation designed for seamless compatibility across all tools in the Kress 20V and 40V ranges. Whether you're tackling high-energy-demanding tasks or simply aiming for extended runtime, the KrossPack is your reliable companion, offering a 2.0Ah, 4.0Ah or 8.0Ah solution. 

This versatile battery platform empowers your 20V and 40V devices, ensuring a shareable and expandable power solution. No more juggling different batteries for various tools - KrossPack simplifies your experience, providing a unified power source for enhanced efficiency and productivity. Experience the freedom to switch between tools effortlessly, knowing that Kress has your back.

Kress is leading the charge with a breakthrough innovation in battery-powered technology, built to deliver peak performance and power.

Learn more: kress.com/en-gb/

New battery-powered ride-on mower
Yard Force

Developed with dealerships in mind, the new ProRider E559 has enabled the company to connect with even more businesses to stock its products and discuss opportunities.


Yard Force is successfully expanding its UK dealer network following the introduction of its new battery-powered ride-on mower. Developed with dealerships in mind, the new ProRider E559 has enabled the company to connect with even more businesses to stock its products and discuss opportunities.



An internationally recognised brand, Yard Force specialises in battery-operated outdoor equipment, its evolving range features more than 60 high-quality products, from robotic, cordless and electric mowers to trimmers, blowers and pressure washers, all backed up with guarantees.


Mariana Hall, director of Yard Force UK said: ““We are extremely pleased to welcome additional dealers to our network, including Isle of Man dealership Motors & Mowers. Our range provides options for both domestic and professional users; therefore, dealerships have a wide range of options available, and, as a manufacturer, we are able to develop exclusive products for businesses looking for certain products to either meet demand or set them apart.”


The new ProRider E559 ride-on mower is a powerful, efficient, and eco-friendly solution for lawns up to 8000m². The fast-charging single 56v 50Ah lithium-ion long-life battery will deliver a huge 2800Whs of power to achieve 90 minutes of run time on a single charge and is tried and tested to provide flawless performance for more than 4,000 charging cycles. Its high spec and competitive price makes it an attractive option for stockists and customers. 


ProRider joins a wide range of battery-powered mowing options, including robotic and cordless options featuring innovative technologies and ergonomic design. The brand’s CR20 and GR40 ranges feature a full line-up of products with interchangeable batteries of either 20V or 40V, providing dealers with plenty of options for their customers.


Yard Force provides additional support for dealer partnerships with joint marketing campaigns, including email, social and POS displays.


To register your interest in working with us please visit

Servicing Dealer Industry First, Profit Second
Gardentrader continues to reinvest all revenues


That’s the philosophy of Garden Trader and we have maintained our affordable annual subscription at £96 for the whole year.  This equates to 26p per day and an average of just 83p for every potential customer the site delivers to dealers. Garden Trader has 160 skilled dealers subscribed up and down the UK and they are all benefiting from the 1m+ dealer search impressions the site generates each year.  People want to buy from people and this highly targeted website is delivering quality leads to subscribed dealers for just 26p per day. 

Our 2020 Summer research showed that on average, each Garden Trader dealer will be sent 114 new customers (or people with a buying intention walking through your door) per year.  This works out at 83p for each new customer. A subscription rate designed to be all inclusive delivering unrivalled online results.  


This site was purpose-built just for skilled servicing ground care dealers by the team that bring you Service Dealer Magazine. It is easy and quick to register and costs just £96 + VAT per year for a full listing.  As this dealer site is designed to promote the UK dealer network, all revenues in 2022 will continue to be reinvested into promoting the site online and so supporting the dealer network.


Join the country’s only independent specialist website, created by the team that bring you Service Dealer. Join our subscribed Garden Trader dealers now by clicking on “Register Dealership” and let's fight back against the zero value retailers.


Map of dealerships registered with Garden Trader



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Service Dealer November / December 2023