Full throttle from start

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 10:01 01/07/2013
tim nicholls and ben stewart
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ

LIGHTING THE WAY: Stewart Farming and Recreation workshop manager Tim Nicholls, left, and owner Ben Stewart shine up a Can-am Meverick XRS in the shop.

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Their business has taken off on the back of the agricultural boom in South Canterbury. Business reporter Emma Bailey talks to Korine Stewart about the quad bike business, Stewart Farming and Recreation, that she owns with her husband, Ben.

How and when did Stewart Farming and Recreation come about?

Stewart Farming and Recreation was formed back in 2008 when friends recommended the Can-am quad bike to us. They were very impressed with the product but there were no dealers between Christchurch and Tapanui at the time. After some research, we moved to Timaru and started Stewart Farming selling Can-am 4x4s.

How would you describe your business?

Stewart Farming sells mainly Can-am all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and side-by-side vehicle (SSV). We also sell Ironman 4x4 accessories. We service any brand of ATV and provide an "on-farm" service to our customers for their convenience.

What is your background before Stewart Farming?

Ben worked with CablePrice in Christchurch for 10 years where he trained and qualified as a plant and heavy equipment technician.

Is ATV safety improving?

Yes. Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) manufactures the only OSH-certified dual-passenger quad. The Can-am ATV also comes with a "work key" which can limit power and speed for the ATV.

There are also many products and training available now to improve passenger safety, from helmets, life guards and courses etc.

How popular are ATVs in South Canterbury?

South Canterbury is a large farming community so ATV usage is very high. Most farmers have at least one and some have up to five.

What have been the challenges?

Four years ago the Can-am product was still very new in New Zealand so people were sceptical. However, BRP and Can-am have proven to be excellent products and Stewart Farming and Recreation is proud of its after-sales service and has put in a lot of effort to train and qualify staff to ensure this.

What have been the biggest periods of growth for the business?

The business has continued to grow since day one and hasn't stopped. Every year just keeps improving and growing more and more.

How many staff do you employ?

Four.

How many hours a week do you work?

50-ish hours per week

Where to from here?

We really enjoy working in the South Canterbury community and have established a lot of great relationships with our customers, so we will endeavour to continue providing our customers with our exceptional products and services.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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