The Ramsey Bros partnership began in 1950 when brothers Lloyd and Fred Ramsey purchased the Kielpa General Store and the carrying business of R.G.Reed. Prior to this the brothers had farmed in the Kimba and Kilroo districts.
In 1957 it was decided to establish business headquarters in Cleve while retaining the general store and farm in Kielpa. Land was acquired in Cleve and the Mobil Service Station was built and opened in 1958. The same year the Massey Ferguson franchise was acquired and so the story continued.
Lloyd & Della built their home the same year adjacent to the service station and a year later Fred & Una built their home across the road. Through hard work and sound management the business grew.
In 1959 Ramsey Bros acquired the land and buildings of the Waymouth Motor Co. and continued with the Chrysler vehicle franchise. Further showroom space was built in 1960 and an electrical, radio, television and hardware division was added. Expansion was rapid as further divisions including a tyre shop, crash repair shop, more service departments, electrical repairs, the expansion of the trucking business were added and Ramsey Bros was growing from strength to strength.
In 1968 Simmons Department Store was purchased and another subsidiary, Cleve Furniture Store, was established. At this point both John Marshall and Eddy Ward joined the company after marrying Lloyd & Della’s daughters Terrie & Anne. Brian and Andrew, sons of Fred & Una joined the staff in 1973 and 1976. In 1974 Brenton joined the Sales team and in 1979 Bradley also joined the staff. This started the second generation.
The business continued to expand and further franchises were obtained including Allis Chalmers, Hesston, John Shearer and Steiger amongst others. In 1977 the premises on Main Street, previously occupied by Herbert Motors was purchased and all machinery and car sales were co-ordinated from that location.
In May 1979 Ramsey Bros opened a branch at Tumby Bay and in 1980 another branch in Cummins.
In October 1980 Fred Ramsey was tragically killed in a car accident. The business and the town were in shock at the loss of this ‘mountain of a man’.
In true style, Ramsey Bros continued to grow with the establishment of furniture & electrical store in Kimba, the Ford vehicle franchise in Cleve and a branch was opened in Lock in 1981.
In 1983 tragedy struck again when Lloyd Ramsey was also killed in a car accident. Again the town felt the shock of the loss of one of the favourite sons. It was said, 'Now only the name remains. But it is a great name and one which will be respected for many years to come.'
The business continued without its two instigators. Sons Brenton, Bradley, Brian and Andrew and sons-in-law John Marshall and Eddy Ward took over the running of the business, with Eddy Ward assuming the role of General Manager.
In 1985 the business expanded again with the building of the Wudinna branch. This coincided with the closure of Tumby Bay and Lock branches and those operations were transferred to Cummins and Wudinna branches respectfully.
In 1990 Ramsey Bros was split into 2 companies being Ramsey Bros and Ramsey Trading. The family of Lloyd Ramsey kept Ramsey Bros and the family of Fred Ramsey started Ramsey Trading. The two businesses began to trade independently from that time.
Since that time Ramsey Bros acquired the Case IH franchise which has led to opportunities and expansion in Cummins, Kimba, Wudinna, Riverton & Murray Bridge. The third generation entered the business in 1996 with Hamish Ward, Mark Ward and Lincoln Ramsey in 2000. In 2011 an adminstration office was opened in Adelaide which led to the first senior appointment outside the Board, Group Sales Manager, Tim Glover, commencing in 2014.
Ramsey Bros now operates six dealerships in South Australia and is a true family owned and operated busines spanning three generations. The current directors are Mark Ward (Managing Director), Eddy Ward, Hamish Ward, Lincoln Ramsey and Brenton Ramsey. It has grown from the early days of Kielpa into one of the largest farm machinery dealers in South Australia.
Mark Ward believes the right staff have been critical to the growth of Ramsey Bros. 'From the very beginning key staff have made invaluable contributions to the growth and many have been with us for over 30 years'.
Across their 65+ year history, Ramsey Bros have sold machinery to multiple generations of the same family. We see the value in developing strong enduring relationships with staff and customers. 'Looking after all customers on a long term basis is essential. I’m the third generation and carry through the same philosophy that saw this business grow from 1950.' Mark says.
One of our customers that has been along for most of the journey is the Elleway Family. 'It all started in 1958 when we had just moved to the area. Lloyd Ramsey turned up on our doorstep with fresh bread and kerosene, and welcomed us to the neighbourhood.' Ray says. 'Our family has always dealt with Ramsey Bros since then. We have a good two-way relationship, and we can always talk on the same level'.
Ramsey Bros was the vision of two brothers who had a wish to help the community. 65 years and three generations later we have not lost this focus and it is this vision that underpins our company and is a core value of our staff.