WOODSTOCK – Close to 50 farmers, families and elected officials huddled together outside Shenandoah County’s newest farm equipment shop Friday morning for its opening day.
The cold wind whipped through the gravel lot of the old Pangle auction house as Linda Porter, general manager for Forrester Farm Equipment, cut through the red ribbon announcing she was open for business.
Porter’s family has a long tradition of buying and selling heavy equipment. Her grandfather owned the first Ford dealership in Chambersburg Pennsylvania, she said. Her father opted not to go into the dealership business but instead took to farming with her uncle.
“But his passion was working on tractors, and selling,” Porter said about her father. “So he started selling used tractors.”
Porter and her siblings all went to work for their dad when they graduated, giving him the opportunity to expand. When Ford-New Holland asked him to open a dealership, he couldn’t refuse.
“All five of us are in the business,” Porter said. “We always have been.”
Porter’s latest venture in Shenandoah County is the third shop she and her family have set up. They still have their first store in Chambersburg and a second location in Stoystown, Pennsylvania.
Last year, Porter’s brother told her there was an opportunity for them to expand again, setting up shop close to an important part of their customer base in Shenandoah County. Porter said her brother told her he couldn’t keep working if they didn’t open up a location in Shenandoah County.
“We know a lot of the people here,” Porter said, “and the farmers, they come up to our Chambersburg store and we haven’t been able to service them the way we should be.”
On hand to welcome Forrester Farm Equipment to the county were two members of the Board of Supervisors
“Agriculture is the number one industry in the state of Virginia,” said Supervisor Steven Baker, who is also a full-time farmer. “The support you all give our farmers for their equipment, their service. It’s immeasurable.”
Dennis Morris, another county supervisor and farmer, said he was excited to keep building out agriculture businesses in the area. Morris praised the diversity of farmers Shenandoah County has and how important full-service stores like Forrester are to them.
“Shenandoah County is open for business,” Morris said. “We have talked more than one time about Route 11 corridor being open for business and we need to do that. We need the exposure.”
Porter said she is excited to come to town, offering the full range of New Holland and Toro products along with a family feel.
“We’re here to bring you the best of what we have to offer,” Porter told the crowd, “and we’re family. We treat our customers like family.”
Forrester Farm Equipment is located at 23296 Old Valley Pike, Woodstock.