Charterhouse Turf Machinery was established twenty years ago in Godalming, Surrey, as the UK distributor for the revolutionary ‘Verti-Drain’ deep aerator made by Redexim BV of Holland. Charterhouse was Redexim’s first overseas distributor.
Aware of the need to diversify, Charterhouse developed its own machines to complement the original tractor-mounted verti-drains. These included slit aerators, overseeders and top-dressers.
Having established an extensive UK dealer network, export markets were explored in Europe and the rest of the world. By the late 1980s, dealers were in place throughout the Continent and the Bunton Company were selling Charterhouse products as own-branded items in the USA.
Adapting to the 1990s recession, Charterhouse Turf Machinery undertook a strategic review of its operations, to match the company to the changing market place. This culminated in Redexim being invited to become a shareholder in 1993, acquiring full ownership in 1997. This gave Charterhouse Turf Machinery the substantial financial resources needed for future growth, in line with the plan to develop a broad based business covering all sectors of the turf market.
Charterhouse Turf Machinery was able to diversify into four separate divisions: Professional Turf Machinery, currently managed by Nick Darking; Antonio Carraro Tractors, headed up by Colin Gregory; Connoisseur Products under the control of Peter Clark; and Charterhouse Richmond Mail Order Sales, managed by Glynis Chitty. The company now employs over 20 staff at its headquarters in Haslemere, Surrey
In January 2002, Mr Cees de Bree, president of Redexim, appointed Philip Threadgold to head up Charterhouse Turf Machinery and to co-ordinate future expansion. Philip, one of the company’s founders twenty years ago, has for the last five years been working for Redexim Charterhouse in establishing and running its North American operation. He will now operate on both sides of the Atlantic, developing Charterhouse Turf Machinery in the UK whilst continuing operational control of Redexim Charterhouse in the USA.
Philip Threadgold believes the company has a strong, broadly based platform for further development. “Charterhouse Turf Machinery should be seen as a group of four mini-companies operating within the grounds care and landscaping sphere. As with any diverse operation, some people only know us for one of our ranges or products. We are strongly associated with the Verti-Drain, which has become a generic term for deep aeration, but in fact we have no less than 60 other products in the Professional Turf Machinery Division. We aim to project an image that better reflects our breadth and depth, which means significant, positive changes. That’s why we feel as if we’re looking far ahead to the 22nd century.
Charterhouse has streamlined its operation to enhance service to customers at home and in overseas markets. “My job, aided by my dedicated staff,” continued Philip Threadgold, “is to integrate and maximise our resources, and exceed customer expectations. We have modified our field staff operation, so that sales people are now responsible for all products within their regions, rather than covering the whole country with just one line, as before. This means dealers see only one representative instead of three, and maximises efficiency. Our staff also relish their additional responsibilities.”
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