DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine (WABI) – If you’ve ever driven Route 15 in Dover-Foxcroft, you’ve probably noticed a field full of tractors.
What you may not know is that the vintage collection was the work of a lifetime of one man and is now in the hands of another who appreciates it just as much.
“Everyone says, ‘Can you make a living from your hobby?’ And I say, “I don’t know,” said Branden Simmons, owner of Harvey Farm Equipment. ” We will try. That’s all we can do!
Branden Simmons started working at Harvey Farm Equipment as a teenager. After years of research, he officially bought the business a few weeks ago.
“I always intended to have it someday, and then it finally worked,” Simmons said.
He brings the same passion to work as the man he once worked for, Raymond G. Harvey.
“He was very proud of it,” Simmons said of the collection of Harvey tractors and other equipment, which is in the field in front of the storefront. “In the fall he would make us go out there and break the drain plugs in the back and drain the water out. He was really serious.
One of the first work orders will be to go through all the equipment that is in the field and break it down largely for parts. But there are some that Simmons plans to save and restore.
“Oh yeah, there are a few that aren’t going to be ripped apart,” he said.
“Like this one [Oliver] here. My son really thinks he wants to fix it for a pulling tractor, so we’ll probably restore this one. [And] it’s a Cockshutt plow that I want to restore and keep it just because, ”Simmons said, pointing to various places on the property.
Simmons also has an old barn and a school to walk through.
“The school over there is full of rooms,” he said. “There’s just a little goat trail through it all, and I kind of want to clean up a lot of this stuff, figure out what we have and see if we can market it.”
Once he gets a full inventory, Simmons plans to modernize the business, bringing it online so anyone anywhere in the world can see what they have in stock. .
“I want to build something so people know what we have for the older parts,” Simmons said. “Put everything on the website. Whatever part number you put in it, if they have it, it will show up. It shows you have it and comes at a price. Everything is taken apart and put on a shelf and labeled and put into the computer.
Eventually, Simmons hopes to have a new line of tractors for sale, which he says would be a first in nearly two decades and bring back a Harvey tradition.
“We’re going to restore that old Chevy truck and put ‘Harvey’s’ on the door in Raymond’s memory. I was there when he bought this, ”Simmons said, pointing to an old blue Chevrolet in the back of his barn.
When asked what he thought Harvey would say if he knew Simmons had taken over the business, Simmons replied, “I’m sure he would be happy.”
Although he says business slumps this time of year, they sell snow removal equipment while planning for the warmer days to come.
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