Last week saw the finalisation of the purchase of a 75 acre property outside Benalla for the production of speciality trees.
Speciality Trees, also the name of the company who acquired the site, is a wholesale production nursery with two existing sites east of Melbourne.
The purchase of a property near Benalla is a significant development for the business as it looks to service wider areas within regional Victoria.
The 71-acre site dwarfs Specialty Trees’ existing plantations in Narra Warren, which combined only cover an area of 41 acres.
The site was acquired thanks to a deal struck with Yalkuri Trees in Benalla, which has been run by David and Jill Rush since 1995.
David and Jill are well-known personalities and revered stalwarts of the nursery industry and the Benalla community.
Speciality Trees managing director Hamish Mitchell said that David and Jill were long-term friends.
‘‘They (were) instrumental in assisting us with stock recovery when we were on our knees after hail hit the business in 2010 and we have continued to be close ever since,’’ Mr Mitchell said.
‘‘They are both fabulous people and good operators and we are so appreciative of their patience in waiting for us to negotiate a deal under the right set of circumstances.
‘‘The Yalkuri site enables us to grow larger numbers of locally produced product and increase our serviceability into country Victoria.
‘‘Our decision reflects a confidence in the markets we service, our systems and quality assurance processes, and in our ability to supply trees as a solution to a wide range of urban environmental issues.’’
The purchase agreement allows for David and Jill to continue on in a role within the Benalla operation until such time as both are ready to officially step away from the nursery and the property.