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Chandlers Country Stores - About Us

In 1935 Mr Desmond Chandler approached two of his old school friends with a proposition to assist him in his newly acquired venture of an Ironmonger's shop.  He had recently purchased a property at 91/92 Westgate, Grantham, with help and encouragement from his father and the Midland Bank. One of the friends was Mr Joe Pell, who at that time was employed at Garner's Ironmonger's shop in Melton Mowbray. The other, Mr Tom Caunt, was already employed by Mr Chandler at his Orston based Sectional Wooden Buildings Manufacturing Company.

Both were enthusiastic and prepared to join Mr Chandler in his venture. So the Ironmonger's shop D E Chandler opened, and in the 1940's all three joined in partnership together, continuing to develop and expand the shop, branching into farm machinery (later to acquire the Massey-Harris distributorship for the Grantham area), also fire grates, bathrooms, kitchens, Aga cookers and light fittings.

The catch phrase was "We sell everything from a Tin Tack to a Tractor".

1957 the distributorship for Esso Farm Fuels was acquired for Grantham and Bourne areas.

Then, in 1959 Mr Desmond Chandler retired leaving the business with Mr Joe Pell and Mr Tom Caunt - The Company retaining the name of D E Chandler - now well established in the area.



Chandlers Belton Depot
Chandlers Belton Depot 2008

The site at Belton was acquired in 1964 for the agricultural section of the business, and in 1970 the Massey Ferguson business from West Tractors Limited was purchased - giving coverage of central Lincolnshire through to the East Coast with Depots at Lincoln and Horncastle.

After training at Massey Ferguson in Coventry, Mr Pell's son Howard joined the Company in 1972 as a salesman at Belton, becoming Manager of the new Depot at Spilsby in 1973.  Later in 1973 the Company obtained Esso Fuels distributorship for Lincoln, Gainsborough, Immingham and Newark.

In 1983 the Company de-merged with Mr Joe Pell and Mr Tom Caunt dividing the Company between the two - now developing - families.  Mr Pell took over the whole of the Farm Equipment business and the head office for Chandlers (Farm Equipment) Limited was placed at Belton, with Mr Joe Pell as Chairman and Mr Howard Pell as Managing Director.  Mr Caunt took control of the shop at Westgate, Grantham and the Oil and Gas business.

The 1980's saw the Depots at Belton, Lincoln, Horncastle and Spilsby, all part of Pell (Holdings) Limited, develop complementary ranges of products to the Massey Ferguson dealership. With the emphasis on high tradition of value and service to the customer, the Company also started dealing in motor vehicles.

In 1983 Belton Depot became a Landrover Dealer and Subaru cars were added to the range at Horncastle in 1985 and Lincoln in 1987.  After closing the Landrover Dealership Belton became a Subaru Dealership in 1989 which was also the year the new showrooms were built.  Late in 1989 Chandlers bought the agricultural business from TMS in Melton adding to the geographical area of the Company.

Sadly, Mr Joe Pell died in November 1990 having gained the respect and admiration of employees and customers throughout the farming community.  The following month the Caunt family also shut the shop at 91/92 Westgate, Grantham and a chapter in history closed.

The Melton depot moved into new premises at Thorpe Arnold in 1993 which incorporated a car showroom and workshop facilities for Daihatsu. A new showroom facility was built at Lincoln for Subaru and Isuzu with the previous car showroom being developed into a Chandlers equestrian country store.

This continued growth saw Chandlers awarded the accolade of being the Top Performing AGCO Dealer in Europe in 1995. In 2001 Belton, Lincoln and Horncastle showrooms were refurbished in line with International Motors corporate image, also adding a new agricultural workshop at Horncastle and a country store, thus adding to the now developing country stores at Belton, Lincoln and Spilsby.

In December of 2001 we acquired from Boston Tractors two new Agricultural and Horticultural Depots at Holbeach and Barnack and in 2002 developed a country store at Barnack.

The addition of the Fendt and Challenger franchises over the following years further enhanced the product offering, especially in the rapidly growing high hp market sector, both brands from the "always growing" AGCO corporation. Chandlers are proud to have been awarded Challenger dealer of the year in 2004, 2006 & 2007. This did not reduce the effort being made with Massey Ferguson franchise with Chandlers also being awarded top UK volume dealer in 2004 for Massey Ferguson, which takes no account of the average tractor size being much larger in the east coast arable area, than the UK average tractor hp.

A period of consolidation followed - mirroring our farming customers - and with improvements to the depots at Belton and Horncastle leading to the closure of the branches at Lincoln and Melton. With the areas now more efficiently served by these larger better equipped branches, along with strong mobile workshop service support in these local areas, able to look after the larger tractors and machines directly on farm.

With every development the Company's policy of promoting staff from within wherever possible, and ensuring that managers and representatives all have grassroots experience has continued.

We can feel proud, when we look back over more than 70 years of experience of service to the farming community who we still continue to serve today and into the future.

Today seven family members are actively involved in the day to day affairs of the business including three of the third generation, Heather Glenn - Personnel Manager, Felicity Pell - Equine Manager, and Gavin Pell - Agricultural Sales Manager.

The longest serving member of staff to date is Neville Hodson, who started in 1952 as a delivery boy in the ironmongers shop at Westgate, Grantham, and retired as a Director in March 2003.

We currently have two longest serving members of staff, Jenny Austin and Geoff Sharp who both started at Westgate in 1963. 

 

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