Lo­cal busi­ness celebrates a mile­stone

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - Front Page -

AS MCGRE­GOR Gourlay celebrates 120 years in busi­ness this year, the North­ern Rivers branches are proud to also cel­e­brate their third an­niver­sary, open­ing in 2014 at Lismore, Al­stonville, Grafton and Mur­willum­bah.

Group gen­eral man­ager Josh McGre­gor is the fourth gen­er­a­tion of the fam­ily to work in the com­pany and is pleased to mark these mile­stones, thank­ing cus­tomers and staff.

“Keep­ing it lo­cal has been the key to the longevity and growth of the busi­ness, and gen­er­a­tions of great peo­ple are what has made McGre­gor Gourlay the busi­ness it is to­day. To be able to cel­e­brate 120 years of serv­ing the agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity is a tes­ta­ment to that,” Mr McGre­gor said.

From hum­ble be­gin­nings in 1897, JA McGre­gor & Co was es­tab­lished in War­i­alda, NSW, as a stock and sta­tion agency.

Over the gen­er­a­tions that fol­lowed, the busi­ness has be­come one of the most dy­namic, pri­vately owned ru­ral service com­pa­nies in Aus­tralia, em­ploy­ing more than 120 staff across 13 branches lo­cated across north-west NSW, the NSW North­ern Rivers, and the south-west Queens­land border re­gions.

The Al­stonville branch was the first of the North­ern Rivers stores, open­ing its doors in July 2014.

With a cus­tomer base go­ing back 40 years, the branch has grown its ties to the lo­cal hor­ti­cul­ture, sugarcane, mixed crop­ping, blue­berry and cat­tle in­dus­tries.

The Al­stonville team is led by Fiona Prior, who has had a long ca­reer in the agri­cul­ture sec­tor, lead­ing teams in many di­verse ag busi­nesses as far afield as far north Queens­land.

Fiona spe­cialises in the hor­ti­cul­tural and sugar cane sec­tors and her ex­pe­ri­ence serves her well in her cur­rent role as re­gional busi­ness man­ager for the North­ern Rivers area.

Fiona is joined in the team by Phillip McCarthy, Greg Barnes, Marg Bard­well and David Fry.

Phillip McCarthy is a third­gen­er­a­tion lo­cal with more than 30 years agron­omy ex­pe­ri­ence and spe­cialises in crop nu­tri­tion, pest mon­i­tor­ing and crop pro­tec­tion ad­vice, and to­tal farm man­age­ment in macadamias.

Greg Barnes has been in­volved in agron­omy for 17 years. With a broad knowl­edge of all lo­cal agri­cul­tural in­dus­tries in­clud­ing macadamias, live­stock and an­i­mal health, Greg is a key service pro­fes­sional for lo­cal grow­ers.

Broad­acre crop­ping across the North Coast is an ever-evolv­ing in­dus­try, with lo­cal farm­ers al­ways look­ing for new crops to trial in the coastal sub-trop­i­cal cli­mate.

This keeps the Grower Ser­vices Team busy pro­vid­ing agro­nomic ad­vice to pro­duc­ers about soil and plant health, insect and pest man­age­ment and plant species se­lec­tion.

“McGre­gor Gourlay is adapt­ing all the time to in­cor­po­rate new tech­nolo­gies, adding many facets to the agri­cul­tural ser­vices pro­vided and has re­cently in­vested in pro­vid­ing a spe­cial­ist team in dig­i­tal agri­cul­ture,” Ms Prior said.

“Our agron­o­mists have an out­stand­ing level of ex­pe­ri­ence across a wide range of crop­ping en­vi­ron­ments, pro­vid­ing grow­ers a prac­ti­cal, per­son­alised ap­proach to crop ro­ta­tion plan­ning that com­bines fi­nan­cial and agro­nomic ob­jec­tives with long-term goals while push­ing the bound­aries in pre­ci­sion tech­nolo­gies.

“We put a lot of trust in the peo­ple in our branches – we are only as good as the peo­ple in our team, which we are im­mensely proud of.”

Re­gional ac­counts man­ager Marg Bard­well is a third­gen­er­a­tion lo­cal with 20 years ex­pe­ri­ence in agribusi­ness and farm­ing. Marg joined the team not long af­ter the branch opened and en­joys the va­ri­ety and cus­tomer contact the busi­ness pro­vides.

David Fry is Al­stonville’s new­est team mem­ber, start­ing eight weeks ago.

Ex De­fence Force, David was thrilled to join the team in the role of in­ven­tory con­troller and is look­ing for­ward to get­ting to know the Al­stonville ag com­mu­nity.

The Al­stonville team prides it­self on find­ing the right prod­uct for the job while em­brac­ing the lat­est tech­nol­ogy in agri­cul­ture.

“From chem­i­cals, fer­tiliser and seed, to fenc­ing, an­i­mal health, pet food, pumps and water equip­ment, McGre­gor Gourlay stocks prod­ucts to meet all your agri­cul­tural re­quire­ments,” Ms Prior said.

“We are pleased to pro­vide our lo­cal pro­duc­ers and cus­tomers com­plete sup­port with the com­bined ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise of a lo­cal team, to­gether with knowl­edge from right across the McGre­gor Gourlay net­work.”

She said she was ex­cited about the fu­ture of the Al­stonville branch.

“It’s been fan­tas­tic to grow the busi­ness to the next level, and we’re in­cred­i­bly grate­ful to our cus­tomers for the sup­port they’ve given and the trust they’ve put in us over the years,” she said.

“It’s such a close-knit, sup­port­ive and friendly com­mu­nity, sur­rounded by a di­verse and ex­cit­ing ag in­dus­try. We’re very proud to be a part of it.”

Phone (02) 6625 8200 or visit www.mc­gre­gor­gourlay.com.au.

PHO­TOS: KATIE GOURLAY

TOP TEAM: McGre­gor Gourlay em­ploy­ees Mar­garet Bard­well, Greg Barnes, David Fry and Phil McCarthy.

McGre­gor Gourlay sup­plies farm­ers in a range of in­dus­tries.

McGre­gor Gourlay is cel­e­brat­ing 120 years in busi­ness.

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