September 10, 2021 will be remembered by the arbor industry as a day that one of the true pioneers of the industry handed the reins over, heading into retirement for a well-earned rest.
Mark and Sue Marriott built and grew Bandit Chippers and Grinders to be the leader in the marketplace – over 30 years of grinding and giving their valued customers the very best service and support they could. Growing from one branch in NSW to now having four branches and being the Bandit dealer for NSW, QLD, ACT, VIC, WA, TAS and NT, this growth was achieved through dedication to customers.
Mark and Sue wanted to have a succession plan in place that would ensure their staff and customers were going to be looked after – they wanted to handover to a company that could grow the business and most importantly bring more support to their customers.
Mark thought of one company, someone he had known for more than 25 years. Mark called Chris Newton, one of the owners of Earthmoving Equipment Australia (EEA), Solution Plant Hire and Earthmoving Attachments Australia, knowing that Bandit’s service, care for customers and values are aligned with EEA’s.
Mark has known Chris from his 15 years working at Moody Kiddell, organising their retail finance. After leaving MK&P, Mark has seen Chris and his business partner Michael Smith start EEA/SPH, and over 11 years growing from one location and one Thwaites site dumper product to representing Case Construction, Merlo and Bergmann Dumpers.
Chris and Mick have grown EEA to be the largest Case Construction dealer in Australia, with branches in Sydney, Newcastle, ACT, and two further branches in QLD and plans for a further three branches in regional NSW in the coming 12 months.
Mark Marriott is excited by the prospects of new market reach and branch networks that Bandit clients can rely on for even greater support, with the EEA Group officially taking ownership of Bandit in September.
“It’s great for Bandit Industries,” says Mark.
“Bandit is rapt that Sue and I have been able to pass the business over to such high-quality people at EEA. It’s great for my staff, they’re going to be able to grow and have more opportunities. But the most important thing is that it’s also fantastic for the customer.”
“It’s exciting times. I’ve known Chris for a long time. I didn’t want to contact a business broker, I handpicked Chris if you want to put it like that. He’s got amazing runs on the board with what he and Michael are doing with EEA.”
Chris says he feels honoured to have been chosen by Mark to build on the great business model at Bandit.
“Mark and Sue have become close family friends,” says Chris.
“In turn, Mark contacted myself last year and I was absolutely honoured that Mark and Sue thought of myself and thought of EEA to talk about taking over the Bandit Group.
“I can’t thank Mark enough for the opportunity to continue his legacy. Bandit is a fantastic brand. Mark and Sue have led this industry for 27, 28 plus years now. And we’re rapt to be able to take it over.”
All Bandit branches and staff across Australia will continue to operate and the same great Bandit product will continue to be distributed nationwide.
“The only people leaving the business are Sue and I,” says Mark.
“All existing people, Jeremy in Sales and his team, Terry our National Parts and Service Manager… all the branch staff are all staying. They need to, they’re absolutely fantastic.
“It’s a massive asset that Chris and Mick are taking on there, the quality of our Bandit staff.”
It’s an asset that Chris and Michael are proud to take on. EEA’s business model is also heavily focused on looking after their customers and treating them as loyal clients, not just a number.
“Most importantly, Mark and Sue’s number one priority was their clients and their team,” says Chris.
“And that’s our number one priority at EEA, to maintain the fantastic service, maintain the fantastic level and quantity of product coming in. And obviously we’re looking forward to increasing Bandit’s capacity and reach within our branch network and our infrastructure that we have at the EEA Group.
“Myself and Mick, the other business owner, we’re both very hands on so we can’t wait to get around, once the borders are open, to meet the Bandit staff at the branches.”
The customer-centric focus of EEA was a key part in Mark’s decision to hand the business over to EEA.
“The culture, standards and demand that we have, these guys are exactly the same. That’s why I hand-picked Chris,” says Mark.
“The cultures of our business and their business at EEA are so similar. It’s not just lip service and garbage. If you don’t look after the customers and you’re not providing backup service and parts service, you’re nowhere. And that’s been the central theme of what we’ve been doing here at Bandit, it’s an absolutely critical part of the business. And these guys have got the same runs on the board.”
For more information visit banditchippers.com.au