28 July – S R Suckling born
S R Suckling ran a large team of men in Otahuhu, Auckland, who manufactured army tents for the government’s war effort. After the war, they began manufacturing canvas goods and horse covers.
(S R Suckling 3rd from left on back row)
S R Suckling’s son Vernon was born.
S R Suckling started a business under his own name in Dargaville.
Vernon started his own business called “Ranchcraft” making leather products.
Vernon took over his father’s canvas business, incorporated it with his own and renamed to “Ranchware”
Opened new premises at Beach Road
Ranchware specialised in stock horse saddlery – manufactured and sold over 900 saddles during the 1980’s
Vernon’s brother Derek started working for him.
Purchased own building and moved business to Gladstone Street
Began marketing and selling products nationwide.
Vernon’s son Kerry left school and started at Ranchware making saddles.
Ranchware developed catalogues becoming a mail-order business, supplying saddlery and saddles throughout NZ.
When the stock horse on farms began to disappear due to preference of the quad bike, Vernon felt the need to change the direction of his business.
Saw potential in the quad market and went on to successfully develop the Quad Pod.
The Quad Pod was a popular product for a number of years, being distributed around NZ as well as Australia and UK
UTV’s were beginning to replace quad bikes on the market, so Ranchware began to develop cab kits and various accessories for them.
Ranchware sold the mail-order business and this was the start of “Ag-Tech Industries.”
Purchased an additional building next door.
UTV cab kits were becoming very popular. Now operating out of two buildings, Ag-Tech ran a busy manufacturing team – its largest team yet!
Renamed the canvas side of the business to ‘Canvas Town’ and closed the saddlery manufacturing line. All canvas work was channelled through Canvas Town, and the ATV & UTV accessories were channelled through Ag-Tech Industries and the new ‘TRAX Equipment’ brand.
Developed the ‘Solar Shield’ brand following on from experience in the canvas trade which included some shade products. The need to provide work for oncoming family meant this was a natural decision. Solar Shield began manufacturing outdoor weather protection canopies.
September: began new build for Ag-Tech Industries & Canvas Town work premises.
New purpose-made factory built, moved business to Jervois Street
Solar Shield’s product range developed quickly to include shade sails, polycarbonate canopies and other related products. Derek purchased Canvas Town from Vernon, and started a separate business focusing on the canvas side including shade and shelter products. (This did not include Solar Shield Canopies.)
Registered “Ag-Tech Industries Ltd” as a company. Sold products through two main brands: TRAX Equipment and Solar Shield
Sold a total of 4000 Quad Pods
Purchased a design for a motorbike carrier which fits onto the tow bar of vehicles. Kerry developed this further and named it the ‘SlipStream Dirtbike Carrier’ which is now a popular product amongst the TRAX Equipment range.
Ag-Tech purchased a small business called ‘Bellows’ to provide more local work. Renamed to ‘Safeguard: Protection Bellows’ to become another brand under Ag-Tech.
Early this year, successfully completed development of the world’s first flexible roll bar for quads. This was called the ‘ATV LifeGuard’ and launched as a separate brand.
Won the Innovations Golden Standard Award at Mystery Creek National Fieldays for the prototype of the ATV LifeGuard.
The ATV LifeGuard was the Winner of the NZ Workplace Health & Safety Award
Manufactured and sold over 1000 LifeGuards.
Shipped our first container to Australia.
Rebranded the Solar Shield range.
Total LifeGuards sold reaches 3000.
Total LifeGuards sold reaches 4000.
Successfully developed new flexible roll-bar made from plastic, called the ‘QuadGuard’
Reached total of 5000 LifeGuards sold
Sold 300 Quad Pods from 2008 to 2019 (total of 4300 sold to date.)
Ag-Tech Industries Ltd is our company with four main brands: TRAX Equipment | ATV LifeGuard | QuadGuard | Solar Shield