In Thessaloniki, on the corner of Monastiriou and Pesonton Pirosveston, stands a sturdy looking three-storey office building. Even though the building is lower than its neighbours, it has something they do not: an elevator for people and tractors. The elevator makes it easy to move tractors from the showroom down to the service premises and back up again.
The building is also home to Karintis-Netas S.A., Valtra’s longest-serving foreign importer. Valtra and Valmet tractors have been marketed in Greece for over 50 years already. Especially during the boom years at the turn of the millennium, the Netas family were frequent visitors to the Valtra factory in Suolahti, Finland. John Netas (Ιωάννης Νέττας 24.4.1937–30.10.2020), the long-time head of the company and family, was a devoted tractor expert who was even awarded a prestigious medal of honour in Finland.
The head of the company always takes care of the most important matters
John Netas was godfather to the children of dozens of Valtra customers.
The head of the company always takes care of the most important matters, which naturally include customers. Every time a representative from the Suolahti factory visited John, their conversation would often be interrupted by customers who had come to collect spare parts from the company’s impressive warehouse or pay the final instalment on their new tractor. These transactions were always handled in a prompt yet friendly manner, always exchanging pleasantries, handshakes and even hugs. Only then could the negotiations with Valtra continue from where they left off. The relationship between the Netas family and their customers has always been close, and they are even godparents to some of their customers’ children!
John’s spouse Chrysantis (χρυσάνθη) speaks excellent English and would translate for guests whenever necessary. Their elder son Dimitris and younger son Theodore received a good education, and management of the company was gradually transferred to them. There was no rush with the generational transfer, as John maintained control of the company for a long time.
The family acquired a second property on the same street in the 1990s for spare parts operations, which Theodore was then put in charge of. The large fleet of Valtra tractors in Greece keeps the spare parts business busy, and with the decline in new tractor sales since the boom years, the importance of spare parts sales has increased. Customers know that they can find all the parts they need, even for older tractor models.
At the turn of the millennium, over a hundred Valtra tractors were sold in Greece each year. These included also the biggest and most heavily optioned models. When the Greece economy collapsed in 2010, volumes declined, but the Netas family continues to serve Greek Valtra tractors with reliable and friendly service. •
Text Timo Mattila Photos Valtra Archive