Christmas has come early for Rudolph and his friends thanks to a very special delivery of JCBs that will help a recession-beating herd of reindeer keep feeding during the winter months.
Plant hire company boss Michael Gallacher – one of a handful of people in the country to rent out real life reindeers for special occasions - has bought four brand new JCBs to add to his fleet. The machines – all JCB Loadall 531-70 models with telescopic handling ability – will be hired out to customers of Michael’s company, the GCS Group, based in Sittingbourne, Kent.
And in a festive twist they will also be used to deliver "presents" of hay bales to the reindeer pasture, so the herd – which is helping Michael beat the recession through alternative business generation – can enjoy their own version of Christmas dinner during a popular time of year for their services.
Michael says his investment in JCB machines also demonstrates that the GCS Group is going from strength to strength despite the economic gloom. The expanding fleet includes a range of mini excavators, rollers and now the Loadall telehandlers.
Michael said: "JCB Loadalls are the best in the business. They are very reliable and also have a great re-sale value. As well as being very popular with our customers they are also really useful with the reindeer. We’ll be using the JCB Loadalls to deliver bales of hay to the reindeer during the winter months and they will also be used to load the sleigh they pull when they are hired out for appearances."
During the six weeks up to Christmas, the reindeer – all imported from Lapland – make numerous appearances at Santa’s Grottos, garden centres, parties and other festive celebrations.
Michael added: "I’ve really stepped up the reindeer hire in the light of the recession. You have to look at alternative ways of generating business and fortunately they are proving to be a big hit. They are really popular at this time of year, as you can imagine. What can be better for a child going to Santa’s Grotto and seeing the ”real’ Rudolph, Donner or Blitzen pulling a sleigh. It makes their Christmas!"
The GCS Group was set up by Michael more than 20 years ago and is based on his farms. The company now has more than 160 machines for hire and an expanding customer base in the South East of England and beyond. The machines are hired out to the construction, agricultural and waste sectors and even TV production companies.
For the latest purchases he turned to local dealer Greenshields JCB, based in Sevenoaks, Kent, who also provide complete after-sales service and maintenance.
Michael said: "We are doing well, despite the current economic conditions and continuing to expand healthily. Having a strong brand like JCB on board will definitely make a difference."