Iconic business sold to Canadians
AFTER more than 30 years serving North Coast farmers big and small, the iconic Rural Buying Service has been sold to Landmark, part of Agrium, a $15 billion Canadian company based in Calgary, Alberta.
Landmark takes over on February 1 and according to Rick Price, Region Manager for Landmark, customers will notice the difference straight away with Saturday trading starting on February 4.
Landmark is also planning a large capital injection for the venerable North Coast institution.
"We will be undertaking a comprehensive upgrade of the stores over the next 12 months," he said.
"This is a good area for our company to be involved in as there are a variety of rural businesses here including horticultural, macadamia, dairy and lifestyle farming.
"Plus the Northern Rivers is seasonally more reliable than most other areas so the revenue flow is more manageable."
According to the company's website, Landmark is Australia's largest distributor of farm merchandise and fertiliser, with 2000 employees servicing 100,000 clients in a national network of around 400 locations
North Coast Rural Buying Services was started in 1970 by Don Smith in a small shop at 65 Casino St, South Lismore.
The company has branches at Lismore, Alstonville, Murwillumbah, Arundel, Harwood, Woolgoolga and Wardell, employs nearly 50 staff and has more than 6000 members.
Mr Price said the current director of Rural Buying Service, Peter Fletcher, and his wife, Heather, would be staying on in the business for the short to medium term.
"We will be retaining all current staff and because our organisation is larger we can offer more training and promotion opportunities for them," he said.