470 years of customer loyalty

Taken from The Farmer, March 2017

At the opening of Agrovista's new Shrewsbury depot, 10 long-standing customers were each presented with a thank-you gift by county NFU Chairman Andy Pillow on behalf of Agrovista's Depot Manager Tony Wiggin. Collectively the 10 farmers and contractors share over 470 years of continuous business with the national agricultural supply and advisory company.

Celebrating 60 years of custom apiece are Brian Davies of North Lynne, Newport, Steven Funn-Russel of Shifnal Farm Services and John Ridgway from Lower Health, Prees. Seven other farmers have each accumulated 50 years of partnership; they are Chris Taylor of Home Farm, Astley, Douglas Dale who farms at Bagots Park, Abbotts Bromley, Phillip Wright of Twycross. RW Leedham farming at Tamworth, Robin Marsh from Derby, Phillip Atkins of Rocester and Steven Sant from Newcastle under Lyme.

The presentation took place at the company’s new depot at Cartmel Drive on Harlescott Industrial Estate during their official open day on February 23.

 All 10 of the customers started trading with either Fisons or Boots - the two founding companies of the current Agrovista business. Fisons was a baker and malster that developed its business to include fertiliser supply to over 60% of the UK market by the end of the second world war.

The Boots business was originally set up by farm worker John Boot from Nottingham in 1850. The company sold animal health products from the high-street chemist shops. Almost one hundred years later Boots expanded to include direct to farm sales developed from warehousing located on railway sidings across the country. The chemicals, discovered from their laboratories, were sold directly to farmers.

Brian Davies is one of the depot's longest standing customers. He says that he remembers visiting the original Boots Farms and Gardens with his father: "It was situated at the back of Boots the Chemists on Pride Hill in Shrewsbury in the 1950's," he· said. Today his son Mark continues use both Agrovista' s crop protection supply service and agronomy advice.

Contractor, Steven Gunn-Russell's father Ian, started as a Fisons Farm Work Service Manager in 1950 supplying and applying crop care products. When this service was disbanded, he decided to launch his own business, Shifnal Farm Services, who undertakes contract work for Agrovista's Shrewsbury customers.

Prees-based John Ridgway - and now his son, Brian - have been buying crop protection products and contracting throughout North Shropshire from his base near Whitchurch since the 1950’s.

Vernon Taylor started dealing with Boots in the mid-sixties now his son, Chris, and his grandson, Nick continue to use Agrovista's agronomy services to support their large organic operation, TC & N Taylor Ltd.

“These enduring relationships have developed through and trust in a product and service that continues to delivery after so many years,” commented Shrewsbury Depot manager Tony Wiggin.

These and other Agrovista customers had an opportunity to see the new site and facilities firsthand.


16 March 2017

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