Southern Ont. Deere dealerships to merge

Two John Deere dealerships in southern Ontario have announced plans to merge in May, bringing 10 separate shops under one banner.

AgraTurf Equipment Services, which operates at Ayr, Courtland, Simcoe, Smithville and Tavistock, will combine with Elmira Farm Service and its stores at Elmira, Listowel, Mount Forest, Ospringe and Alliston effective May 2 under the name Premier Equipment.

“Establishing this new entity will position us to meet the long-term needs of the farming, commercial and residential customers in southern Ontario,” Brett Barriage, Elmira’s general manager and Premier’s CEO, said in a release Monday.

AgraTurf general manager Joe Fewer will be the new entity’s chief operations officer, Ian Verbeek will be chief sales officer and Alan Dueck will be Premier’s chief financial officer, the companies said.

“Aligning our teams gives us the opportunity to provide us the strength and the stability within our marketplace ensuring the future for our staff and our customers,” Fewer said in a video announcement posted on YouTube for the two companies’ 250-plus employees.

“What this boils down to is we are positioning ourselves to grow with (our farmer customers),” Barriage said in the same video.

“What this does not mean is that we become the feared ‘big corporate entity,'” Fewer said, adding the merged firm will continue to focus on local-level customers and continue its community outreach and goodwill initiatives.

Both companies noted a “collective history” in the region dating back to 1955 and both have been recognized through Deere’s “Dealers of Tomorrow” program.

Financial terms of the merger deal were not disclosed.

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