CHESHIRE, Mass. — Two long-established, family-owned businesses in Cheshire, Mass., are joining forces to boost sales and better serve their customers.
Whitney's Farm Inc., operators of Whitney's Farm Market and Garden Center on Route 8, is poised to purchase H.D. Reynolds General Merchandise, a power equipment sales and service dealership near the Cheshire Town Hall.
Whitney's owner, Eric Whitney, didn't disclose the selling price but he expects to close the deal soon with George Reynolds, whose father started the business in the 1950s. The power equipment operation was an outgrowth of the H.D. Reynolds general store on Church Street that closed in August after 80 years. Whitney noted the sale doesn't include the mom-and-pop commercial building that dates back to 1844.
The two owners see the pending deal as a win-win for both businesses.
"H.D. Reynolds will remain the same. We're keeping the name, the staff and its current location," Whitney said. "We will be adding equipment sales at the farm market."
The H.D. Reynolds name being represented on Route 8 can only help the downtown business, according to Reynolds, who will continue to manage sales and service at the location.
"This is a very positive situation that has me excited," he said. "It will benefit the employees and customers."
Whitney's Farm is taking on a wide variety of premium brand names in residential and commercial lawn, garden and snow removal equipment.
The addition will complement the roadside retailing offerings of own-grown produce, grocery, deli, plants, garden merchandise, bulk, firewood and landscape services.
"We expect H.D. Reynolds will increase sales, especially to our landscape customers and contractors who come in for supplies," Whitney said.
He's planning an open house April 26 and 27 to introduce the power equipment line at the Route 8 location.
Whitney's Farm bills itself as one of the Berkshires' largest retail farm market and garden centers. Originally, the site just north of the Lanesborough town line was a dairy farm that grandfather Charles Whitney started in 1940. Peter and Eileen Whitney kept the dairy operation going until the 1990s when their son, Eric, and his wife, Michelle Whitney, transformed it into the market and garden center. The seasonal business reopens Monday.
The Whitney's Farm/H.D. Reynolds transaction grew out of a chance conversation last spring between Eric Whitney and George Reynolds.
"I was in the store buying a mower when George put the offer out to me. We had several more conversations after that and began working on a deal this winter," Whitney said.
Reynolds added: "If I didn't think [Whitney's] was a good fit, I wouldn't have brought it up."
Reynolds says his business has been growing, but at 70, he wanted a plan in place where he could stay active in the business the next five years, then gradually cut back his working hours, provided someone else owned or helped manage H.D. Reynolds. Whitney looks to assist Reynolds in achieving his goal.
"We'll try to help out with marketing [H.D. Reynolds] and give George some help," Whitney said.