R.E. Brooks Limited

A family business going strong after more than 60 years on the road

  • RE-Brooks-current-truck

    Then and now: R.E. Brook trucks are regulars on the region's roads.
  • RE Brooks old truck

    Then and now: R.E. Brook trucks are regulars on the region's roads.

Greytown transport company R.E. Brooks first started carting stock around the Wairarapa region in the early 1950s. Today, the company has expanded and added many other cartage services, with matriarch Joyce Brooks still very involved in the company, along with her sons Garry and Evan.

Although Joyce is now in her 80s, she still works part-time in the office. “I should have retired ages ago, but just haven’t got around to it!” laughs Joyce.

“The boys have certainly lifted the responsibility of the business off my shoulders and run the company on a day-to-day basis, although I stilI like to know what’s happening and come in every day to keep an eye on things.”

Brooks is very much a family business, with Garry’s son Jason working as a specialist topdressing spreader, and Jason’s wife Jess working in the office doing the accounts, computer work and taking bookings, sharing the duties with Joyce.

Brooks specialises in stock transport, farm tracks and baleage, and are lime and fertiliser spreading contractors. The six trucks on the road also haul general goods, sow seeds and supply gravel, sand and shingle. Over the sixty years they’ve been in the business, the Brooks’ family has diversified to meet the demands of the farmers.

“You could say our core business is no one particular thing – stock is big, but so is metalling and forming farm tracks etc. We’ve had to diversify as being at the mercy of the weather for some jobs means we have other services we can offer on those days. We always have enough to keep us going,” says Joyce.

Brooks’ first truck was an old, big GMC army vehicle. It was the first truck in the Wairarapa to offer sowing services. Now the company has six trucks and five trailers in its yard.
“Our four-wheel drive spreader trucks sow lime and fertiliser. They are Spreadmark Certified, with GPS. We also have two four-wheel drive loaders for hire, which farmers in the region hire to create farm tracks,” she explains.

Joyce admits she’d be lost without work if she didn’t have it and enjoys the contact with her family, customers and suppliers, including the company’s accountant.

“We’ve been with Moore Stephens Markhams forever,” says Joyce. “From the day we started the business we’ve been with them. Through various mergers the company has gone through, we have never changed or gone with anyone else. They know our business inside and out.”

Moore Stephens Markhams director Mike Flower meets with Joyce during the year to talk about the finances, any changes, acquisitions or capital expenditure.

“Mike gives us a lot of business advice and we always deal with him. There’s quite a history there, which makes it easier. We do a lot of the basic day-to-day accounting using Infusion
Software, and with only five staff on the books, it’s quite straightforward to manage,” says Joyce.

One of these days Joyce will stop working, and spend more time at her beach house in Foxton beach. “I love to keep active, and absolutely love fishing. Maybe I’ll get to do more of that.”

Published Autumn 2014.

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