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Eight jobs go as Ernest Doe snaps up Bartram Mowers

PUBLISHED: 10:56 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:51 06 September 2019

Colin  Doe, managing director of Ernest Doe & Sons  Picture; SARAH LUCY BROWN

Colin Doe, managing director of Ernest Doe & Sons Picture; SARAH LUCY BROWN

Eight jobs have been lost but a further 18 transferred after a farm and groundcare machinery dealer snapped up a Norwich and Ipswich-based garden equipment firm for an undisclosed sum.

Barry Bartram of Bartram Mowers  Picture: KEITH WHITMOREBarry Bartram of Bartram Mowers Picture: KEITH WHITMORE

Family-owned Ernest Doe and Sons, which has a turnover of £135m and is based at Ulting, near Maldon, has acquired Bartram Mowers after it made an approach.

Bartrams was founded in 1972 by Barry Bartram and operated out of premises at Norwich airport before moving into a new, purpose built 20-acre building on the southern outskirts of Norwich in 1979.

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In 1988, it opened a purpose-built depot at Ransomes Europark in Ipswich and traded in garden machinery brands including Honda, Hayter, ATCO, Ransomes Jacobsen, Husqvarna, Sanli, Westwood, Billy Goat, Bosch and Toro.

Neither of the sites formed part of the sale deal.

Bartram Mowers'  Ipswich premises  Picture: BARTRAM MOWERSBartram Mowers' Ipswich premises Picture: BARTRAM MOWERS

Ernest Doe, which employs 530 staff, trades from 19 locations across East Anglia, Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Of the 26 Bartrams employs, 18 are being redeployed across Doe's sites, and eight roles made redundant.

Ernest Doe said Mark Bartram, managing director at Bartrams, approached it to buy the business after it was told that Ipswich-based ground machinery maker Ransomes Jacobsen was expanding Ernest Doe's territory for its franchise to incorporate Suffolk and Norfolk.

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Managing director Colin Doe said: "The Bartram Mowers business is a good fit for Ernest Doe. We have three branches in Norfolk and three in Suffolk from which to support customers in the area."

Barry Bartram outside the old premises of Bartram Mowers in Anson Road on the Norwich Airport Industrial Estate in the mid 1970s  Picture: BARTRAM MOWERSBarry Bartram outside the old premises of Bartram Mowers in Anson Road on the Norwich Airport Industrial Estate in the mid 1970s Picture: BARTRAM MOWERS

The Bartram Ipswich depot has moved to Doe's Framlingham branch, but Bartram's Norwich site will continue to trade for three months before moving to Doe's North Walsham branch, he said.

As part of the deal, Ernest Doe has also acquired Bartram's established lawnmowersdirect e-commerce platform.

"With our network of established branches in Norfolk and Suffolk, we are focused on building on the high level of service Bartram have provided to their customers and are looking forward to fresh challenges as we enter this exciting new phase of our business," said Mr Doe.

Ernest Doe was founded in 1898. Colin Doe is the fourth generation of the family to run the business with his son, Angus Doe, who is service director.

Barry Bartram with with Jim Prior, then employment secretary, opening the Bartram Mowers premises in Norwich in February 1980  Picture: BARTRAM MOWERSBarry Bartram with with Jim Prior, then employment secretary, opening the Bartram Mowers premises in Norwich in February 1980 Picture: BARTRAM MOWERS

The firm is the UK's largest groundcare, agricultural and construction dealer and supplies a wide range of machinery, as well as selling outdoor clothing, footwear, garden sundries and hardware.

Bartram Mowers was founded in 1972 by Barry Bartram. The business was initially mainly based around the distribution of Flymo products through a network of dealers in Norfolk and Suffolk.

It supplies grass cutting machinery to the retail and professional trade and also distributes some of its domestic franchises to other dealers.

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