Karl's new venture sparked by lockdown
SAVING time on the road is one of the reasons agricultural mechanic Karl Peart has set up his own parts department store after experiencing difficulties during lockdown.
Mr Peart, who lives in Startforth, set up his own mobile agricultural and plant maintenance business eight years ago.
During lockdown he was kept busy with customers, repairing equipment on farms across Teesdale, working long hours, seven days a week.
He said: “A lot of my time on a job can be spent travelling to pick parts up.
“Only last week I lost about three hours travelling for the various different parts I needed.”
Although he is able to repair machinery in situ all over the dale, Mr Peart also has a workshop at Mark Tiplady’s West Roods Farm, in Boldron, and for his new venture he has converted part of the workshop to accommodate the new supplies.
He said: “It’s something I’ve been thinking of for a while now and I suppose I just needed a little push to go for it.”
The little push was the coronavirus pandemic, which saw some agricultural supply merchants limit their opening hours, making it difficult to access the parts he needed to complete repairs to machinery.
He added: “It has been different during Covid-19 because you know you can’t get the stuff you want straight away and it just made me decide to go for it.
“As daft as it seems, everything we stock here is something we use ourselves and it was a way to have the stuff I want but, in a quantity, and to give an extra service to my customers.”
The supplies store will stock mainly consumables such as oil, grease and welding parts as well as nuts and bolts. However, he will also be able to order in specific parts required for repairs work.
He said: “I wanted to make the job more efficient and be able to offer my customers a better service.
“When we first went into lockdown nothing really was an issue. But then the suppliers started to run out of stock and you were basically sat waiting for bits and they had shorter opening hours.
“If we can have the bare essentials on the shelf, just in case, then we’ll be stocking mainly consumables such as grease guns, oil and the like. We’ll be able to order parts in and it should be a quicker turnaround for them than ordering on the internet.
“The idea is to get the farmers to ring for us with the parts they need, then we’ll let them know when it’s in stock and we can allocate a time for them.
“All my business is by word of mouth and I’m a little old fashioned like that and I just want the word to get out about what we’re doing.
“Little by little we’ll increase the range, as people tell us what they need and want, but for specialist parts we just don’t have the space and they will have to be ordered in.”
Opening hours at the store will be between 8am and 5pm on a daily basis.
However, Mr Peart added: “Farming’s not a 9-5 job and if you need something it’s not necessarily during office hours. But if we can order it, it should be here next day.
“The great thing about the store is there is always someone here.
“If I’m out on a job then Mark will be around.”
To find out more about the parts store or to speak to Mr Peart ring 07792 530641.