The town known best for potato farming is in the midst of a renaissance, due in part, to Tractor Depot LLC, new owners of the Kubota tractor dealership in Hastings. Dottie and Maurice Sterling of Palatka recently purchased the dealership from Craig Maguire, a former St. Johns County Commissioner and area business owner.
Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
The new owners also anticipate purchasing five acres from Maguire two blocks east of the current location where a new dealership will be constructed soon. The new showroom and service shop will be twice the size of Tractor Depot’s current facility.
“We’re looking forward to being part of the town’s rebirth,” said Dottie Tucker Sterling, who will serve as president and general manager of the company. “We’ll be investing a lot to grow the equipment dealership over the next several months, which will bring needed new jobs to Hastings.”
Tractor Depot—sellers of Kubota tractors and Husqvarana outdoor power equipment—will serve a wide variety of clientele in St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam counties. Its primary customers are an emerging group of what are called hobby farmers, farmers who tend a few horses or a small herd of beef cows. Often referred to as weekenders, hobby farmers usually own less than 20 acres of land.
“The tri-county area we service is undergoing tremendous change and, as the area continues to grow as an appealing place to live, work and raise a family, we want to be able to supply our customers with the best tractors and attachments to meet all their outdoor power needs,” Dottie Sterling said.
The dealership, which was started 31 years ago as a Ford tractor dealership, has seen a tremendous growth in sales over the past five years. Tractor Depot also employs a sales and service staff of 15 employees. Veteran tractor salesman Lawrence Oliver will continue to serve as the dealership’s senior sales manager.
As part of the transaction, the Sterlings also acquired Depot Rental Inc., a related business specializing in short-term farm and light construction equipment and machinery rentals. Depot Rental is located inside the Tractor Depot facility on State Road 207 in downtown Hastings.
No stranger to farming, Dottie Tucker Sterling owns and operates two working cattle ranches: Whispering Pines Ranch near Bunnell, Fla. and the Buck Rub Ranch near Gainesville, Fla. She was recently selected to take part in the University of Florida’s acclaimed Wedgworth agricultural leadership program, a two-year training track for rising agribusiness leaders.
Kubota Tractor Corporation (KTC) is the United States marketer and distributor of Kubota branded equipment including a complete line of tractors up to 103 PTO horsepower, performance matched implements, compact construction equipment, consumer lawn and garden equipment, commercial turf products and utility vehicles. For product literature or dealer location information, contact Kubota Tractor Corporation at 3401 Del Amo Blvd., Torrance, Calif., 90503, 1-888-4KUBOTA (1-888-458-2682) ext. 900.