May 26, 2012

We are writing this letter to announce our upcoming merger with Washington Tractor in October/ November of 2012. This is a bittersweet announcement as it signals the end of 78 years of the family businesses of Graves Machine Shop and Hamilton Farm Equipment Center and the exciting start of doing business as part of the Washington Tractor family.

As you know, we have changed many times over the past years. The first change was transitioning from a machine shop into a full service agricultural dealership that culminated in 1949 with the addition of the Ferguson line of tractors and the incorporation of Hamilton Farm Equipment Center. In the 60's we added an irrigation department. With the addition of John Deere in 1971, we started selling lawn and garden equipment. In 1983 we had the opportunity to take on Polaris snowmobiles and ATVs and then got into the rental business with the purchase of Omak Rental in 2000. And our most recent change was to add Napa Auto Parts in 2009 with the purchase of Tverberg Valley Auto Parts. None of these changes were really planned but came about as opportunities to grow our business with new customers and to better serve the customers we already had.

Since 2005, John Deere has been promoting the concept of the Dealer of Tomorrow and encouraging dealers to buy, sell, or merge to create dealership organizations large enough to take care of the needs of the larger farms and growers and the sophisticated technology that is built into farm equipment and farming practices. We have been holding off, thinking that surely this trend did not affect Hamilton Farm Equipment. In hindsight, we were resisting change because we wanted things to stay the same.

In 2007, we began talking with the owners of the three dealership groups that merged to form Washington Tractor in 2011 and they have kept open their invitation to join them. They are small business owners, just like us, who value their relationships with all their customers, regardless of size, and are active supporters of the communities they serve. Washington Tractor values our diversity, as we bring our experience and expertise with recreational products (Polaris), irrigation systems/products, equipment rental, and Napa Auto Parts to the new company. We are excited for the additional products, services, and capabilities this merger will bring to our customers, our employees, and to us the owners.

Our goal for this merger is for our customers and our employees to look back and say “Doing business with and working for Washington Tractor is just like it was with Hamiltons, only better”.

For more information about Washington Tractor, please check out their website at www.washingtontractor.org.

We are waiting until fall because Washington Tractor will be installing a new computer system then and it makes more sense for us to merge at the same time we change to the new computer system also. There are still details to be worked out and we will try and keep everyone informed with updates on our website and Facebook page. If you have any questions, please stop by or call.

Thank you for your business with Hamilton Farm Equipment and we truly look forward to serving you even better as part of Washington Tractor.

Sincerely,

Greg Hamilton