P J Gaul & Co is a machinery and equipment dealer in the north of Scotland, supplying an array of products for agriculture, arboriculture, forestry, equestrian and smallholding needs.
Although boss Alan Gaul is the president of the local Turriff agricultural show, being a newcomer in the industry, it’s the first time P J Gaul has exhibited at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair, headline sponsored by NFU Mutual.
In advance of the show, in just a fortnight‘s time, The Game Fair Trade News caught up with him to find out more about the business…
TGF Trade News: Firstly, Alan, what persuaded you to set up a business in the wake of a global pandemic?
Alan Gaul: My family have been farmers in Turriff, Aberdeenshire for the past 200-plus years and now I manage the traditional northeast of Scotland farm.
In order to guarantee the survival and future of the farm I felt the need to diversify. Having seen traditional small holding farming decline over the years I felt that this was a necessary step to maintain and preserve the family heritage.
I always wanted to work for myself so that I could take my ideas and knowledge and make things happen. We needed to look at diversification away from traditional farming at the family ran home farm and from my 20-plus years sales and service experience in agriculture and plant I felt there was gaps in the market for niche products and services primarily in agriculture smallholding products and in firewood/ arboriculture and small-scale forestry products and services.
TGF Trade News: What else do you offer in terms of services then, outside the usual machinery supply?
Alan: Our managed services include mobile wood processing, remote controlled embankment mower operation, paddock maintenance, vegetation and tree management and the use of our hire equipment with/ or without an operator. In addition, we can offer machinery servicing, provide spares, repairs and bespoke fabrication. Finance is available on the majority of professional machines that we offer.
We like to think of ourselves as a ‘can do’ company!
TGF Trade News: What brands or product ranges do you offer and why did you choose these?
Alan: We are distributors for Balfor log splitters, saws, log decks and conveyors, Cast Loaders compact skid steers, FSI Powertech’s range of stump grinders, Jensen wood chippers, Kellfri machinery and LWC Agricultural Products.
Each company builds its machinery to an extremely high standard, making them powerful and robust to cope with the ever-changing demands put upon them by the end user. The support and assistance the brand reps show us is amazing. The relationship that we have with them ensures that we are successful as dealers.
TGF Trade News: How is the industry looking at present?
Alan: The effects of Coronavirus and Brexit have certainly presented us with challenges and each has impacted the business in different ways. From lack of face-to-face interactions and opportunities to connect with potential customers to long lead times and price increases due to supply chain and transportation problems that came along with Brexit.
As we serve multiple industries we have benefited from this as some have been quieter but others have been extremely busy. Agriculture and forestry are currently in a healthy position as since Brexit, locally sourced has become more important than ever.
During Covid many smallholders, like many people, were spending more time at home so possibly saw equipment to help with tasks to be more essential so came to ourselves to find solutions in sourcing equipment for job in hand.
However, things are starting to improve and, with the relaxation of Covid restrictions, enquiries and opportunities such as our attendance at the Scottish Game Fair are opening up doors to lead to a successful year ahead.
TGF Trade News: What’s your most popular piece of equipment?
Alan: From a sales point of view our Kellfri log grapple range has proved very popular due to its value for money solution for handling logs safely and securely certainly taking the back break out of handling logs. Log grabs can be fitted to mini diggers, loaders or log cranes to suit every individual need. Our Balfor log splitters and saws have also proved very popular due to people using wood burning stoves as their “stay at home” heat source.
With more people being at and working from home attentions and spend have increased and become focussed around home and garden improvements. As such we have seen two of our hire machines become very popular.
The Jensen, 6in A530 towed wood chipper and the FSI Power tech B22 stump grinder.
Both are robust, powerful and reliable pieces of equipment that get their respective jobs done to a very high standard.
Agria 9600 is proving to be a very popular piece of kit. It’s a remote-controlled rotary tracked mower that has the ability to maintain areas that are particularly difficult to access – such as steep embankments, busy roadways, or on difficult terrain or would be a safety hazard for typical pedestrian operated machinery. It is also good fun to operate!
TGF Trade News: As a first-time exhibitor at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair ,what are you most looking forward to?
Alan: Personally, I understand the importance events such as the GWCT Scottish Game Fair and our local Turriff show have on the agricultural community.
They are hugely important not only as an opportunity to increase sales and thank customers for their continued support over the past year, but also for the mental health and well-being side of things. These shows provide a means of social interaction that has been missed over the past two years.
Clare Scott our ‘marketing rock star’ is looking forward to meeting many of our old and new customers who she has never met before. Clare has taken full responsibility for putting P J Gaul’s first ever public show together so is also looking forward to a well-deserved glass of wine (or maybe two) at the end of each show day!!
I’m certainly looking forward to meeting people face-to-face and soaking up the atmosphere that exhibiting at the show will bring. And obviously the chance for a good chat over a cheeky refreshment or two will do the mind and soul the world of good.
TGF Trade News: What can visitors to the look forward when they see you there?
Alan: Along with getting to know who we are and what we do, we will have a range of products on display from the dealerships we represent. Over the course of the weekend we are collaborating with brand reps who will be able to offer and share their specialised industry knowledge.
We are planning some live product demonstrations, featuring selected Balfor log splitters and we have a prize draw you can enter to win a luxury M&S Hamper.
Plus, work is in progress to work with a charity organisation (further details to be revealed very soon) that will manage the planting of trees in sustainable areas in Aberdeenshire.
Show offers on most items will include us making a tree/s donation to the organisation. As we sell equipment that effectively puts trees to its final use, whether it be firewood or furniture, we feel we can do our bit to replace these trees in a sustainable fashion.
Refreshments and banter are thrown in for free!