Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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August/September 2022

An Interview With… Matthew Bent, Bents Garden & Home

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Dawn of Digital

Could cryptocurrency become commonplace in UK retail?

Issue 63

New on the Block

Meet Bottle Farm, innovating the GYO sector

Christmas Special

What will the festive season have in store?

11/08/2022 14:05


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11/08/2022 12/08/2021 11:57 16:24


Welcome

Welcome

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e all knew it was coming, and last week (at the time of writing), the Bank of England confirmed our fears – the UK will fall into recession. The Bank announced its biggest interest rate increase in 27 years, with its governor Andrew Bailey saying that the cost-of-living crisis would only worsen if it didn’t do so. By increasing interest rates, the Bank is attempting to control inflation. Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium, seemed less than impressed with its attempts, though. She said: “Consumer confidence remains weak, and the rise in interest rates coupled with talk of recession will do little to improve the situation. The Bank of England now expects inflation to reach over 13% in October when energy bills rise again, further tightening the screws on struggling households. This means that both consumers and retailers are in for a rocky road throughout the rest of 2022.”

This does not bode well as retail approaches one of its busiest times of year – Christmas. Retailers have already had to tackle the impact of COVID over the last two years, and there’s now another obstacle to consumer spending. There is an interesting trend emerging, though. As we discuss the potential for cryptocurrency to be used as a form of payment in the UK in this issue, cash payments appear to be making a resurgence. The Post Off ice has reported a 20% rise in personal cash withdrawals in July from the previous year, handling £801m worth – the most since records began five years ago. Experts are putting it down to consumers wanting to keep tighter controls over their spending, and using cash allows them to keep on top of this. Could we see cash payments continue to gain popularity over the festive period? And will the cost-of-living crisis take its toll? As ever, the market is unpredictable – and with this tends to come innovation in the UK’s ever-resilient retail sector.

gardencentreretail.com

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Garden Centre Retail interviewing Katie Rushworth at this year’s Glee

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Garden Centre Retail is published bimonthly by Eljays44 Ltd. The 2022 subscription price is £100. Subscription records are maintained at Eljays44 Ltd, 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA. Articles and information contained in this publication are the copyright of Eljays44 Ltd and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publishers. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, noncommissioned photographs or manuscripts.

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Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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11/08/2022 11:12


Watch these mesmerising sculptures dance in the wind, sketching ever-changing forms across the sky. Will Carr has been exploring and creating fascinating contemporary kinetic sculptures for many years, combining complex engineering and in-depth study of balance to create pieces that move silently in the lightest and strongest of winds. These sculptures enhance the spaces they inhabit; their endless flow brings viewers a peaceful connection to nature as they flicker in the wind, through day and night.

Please visit his website to see the sculptures in movement www.willcarrsculpture.co.uk willcarrsculpture Advert template.indd 2

11/08/2022 11:58


Contents

Con ten

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News A round-up of the latest news

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8 11 17 19 22 25 26 28 29 31 33 34

5 Christmas Trends Classic traditions with a modern twist An Interview With Bents Garden & Home Maximising Space and Potential Andrew Burton Cryptocurrency The future of retail payments? Newness and Innovation 2023 GIMA New on the Block Bottle Farm Meet the Brand Handy Distribution Sustainable Christmas ‘Carbon-cutting’ products

Add Value With Grottos

Getting to Know Coffee Logs

Christmas Products Stand-out festive decorations

Gifts Christmas presents for all

gardencentreretail.com

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11/08/2022 14:40


News

News Highlights from Glee

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Buyers Power List winners revealed On the first day of Glee, held from 2 30 une at the NEC Birmingham, seven buyers buying teams scooped pri es in the 2022 Buyers Power List awards. Amongst the winners were The Bourne family at Perrywood, scooping Plant Buying Team of the ear, and Garden Care Buyer of the ear Matt Shorter at Longacres. Andy Wrightson won Landscape Buyer the ear, Nigel Gates of Gates Garden Centre was revealed as Outdoor Leisure Buyer of the ear, and Kati Taylor at Fron Goch was awarded Ne e Home Gift Buyer of the ad © G a rden T r ear. Pet Buying Team of the ear went to The Old Railway Line, and St Peters Worcester won Retail Food Drinks Buying Team of the ear. Westland Unwins’ FloPro Can-Can wins Best in Show Fifteen new garden and pet product innovations have been confirmed as winners of the Glee New Product Showcase. More than 300 entries were received across 12 categories, with suppliers from the garden retail sector eager to showcase the innovation that has kept product development teams occupied over the past 1 months. The Best of British Award went to Airflow Ltd s Christmas tree stand Bertie see page 33), whilst the Sustainability Award winner was Wildlife World s 30 cell natural rubber seed cell tray. Westland Unwin s FloPro Can Can scooped the ultimate pri e of Best in Show. ou can find the full list of winners on gleebirmingham.com.

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Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

HTA appoints director of public affairs

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he Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has appointed a director of public affairs, reinforcing its commitment to working with government to champion the interest of members. Jennifer Pheasey will take up the newly created role in September, bringing 1 years experience in policy and government affairs roles with leading membership organisations and across a breadth of policy areas including environmental and regulatory issues. She is currently head of policy at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders SMMT), where over the last 12 years she has overseen a team that covers policy, economics, trade, government affairs in the UK as well as the SMMT s Brussels office. ennifer s work with SMMT has involved engagement with a wide range of political and other stakeholders while working closely with members. Most recently, she led on the organisation s COVID 1 taskforce as

well as its Competitiveness and Industrial Strategy workstream. ennifer says: I am excited to be joining the expert HTA team and to work in a sector that is so important to the UK s economy, employment, and environment as well as to wider society. “At such an important time in the development and making of policy, I look forward to bringing my experience from another leading trade body to help build on HTAs successes and will ensure its members are heard and listened to in key debates and decisions that impact their businesses.” Previous roles that Jennifer has held include senior external affairs advisor at manufacturers organisation, EEF – now known as Make UK – and political researcher at the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey. ennifer s appointment follows HTAs recent appointment of two non executives to its board. hta.org.uk

Tong Garden Centre acquires further centres

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he directors at a Bradford garden centre group are purchasing two more garden centres. GC Group, the parent company of Tong Garden Centre, are taking over the two Stephen H Smith garden centres in Otley and Harden, near Bingley. All of the 100 strong Stephen H Smith s team are transferring to GC Group. GC Group managing director, Mark Farnsworth, says: We are delighted to take on the Stephen H Smith sites. Their business was established in 1 66 and has a proud history we are very grateful to Christopher Smith for the opportunity to run these two great garden centres. We hope we can retain and enhance their reputation in the coming years.

We plan to invest in both sites to help them thrive, which we hope will provide great opportunities for existing and future employees.” GC Group founders, Farnsworth and Tom Megginson ac uired Tong Garden Centre in 201 with 4 staff and a turnover of £3.3m. Since then, turnover has grown to £1 m and the team has raised over £ 0,000 for charities. tonggardencentre.co.uk

gardencentreretail.com

11/08/2022 15:21


News

Dobbies and Waitrose grocery partnership launches in Edinburgh

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arden centre chain Dobbies has marked its partnership with Waitrose by opening its first foodhall in Edinburgh. Featuring the supermarket’s range of high uality food, grocery products, and everyday essentials, the Waitrose foodhall is one of more than 0 that

are to be launched at Dobbies stores across the UK and which will bring Waitrose to 20 new towns and cities. Graeme enkins, CEO of Dobbies, says: Through a shared commitment to great value, uality and sustainability, Waitrose was the natural grocery partner for us as we continue to build on the success of our foodhalls in recent years. Our foodhalls are integral to our garden centre ranges and the experience of our customers, and we look forward to introducing Waitrose s offering in our network of UK stores. dobbies.com

Group plant buyer retires from Haskins following more than three decades of service

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olin Brickell, group plant buyer for Haskins Garden Centres, has retired after 3 years of service for the business. Colin joined Haskins at its original Trickett s Cross site in Dorset in February 1 4, progressing through several roles including plant area manager, before becoming group plant buyer in the early 0s. During his time with the company, Colin became a well known and respected figure in the industry Colin built his reputation due to his success in sourcing new plant varieties across the UK and Europe, establishing himself as an important member and negotiator. Colin would regularly visit suppliers and trade shows to ensure gardencentreretail.com

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that Haskins product ranges continued to be innovative and exciting. Having worked for Haskins since 1 4, Colin has been an important part of the company s growth, playing a significant role in the move to the new Ferndown site in 1 4. During this time, Colin oversaw the management of the old site during the construction phase of the new Ferndown centre. Colin says: It has been ama ing to be part of Haskins for such a long period and to see the company s significant development in that time. Richard Lockwood, who joined Haskins in February 2021 as plant bedding buyer, has taken over the role of group plant buyer. haskins.co.uk

News Flash Catering comes out on top Clothing was one of the top selling categories at garden centres across the country in May, according to the Garden Centre Association s GCA) Barometer of Trade. Sales in the department were 22.63% up compared to the same month last year. But it was catering which was the top selling category, up .6 %. Wet weather in une impacted sales in garden centres across the country, with catering being the only category with positives sales, up . 3% from the same month last year. gca.org.uk More consumers encouraging wildlife into gardens Draper Tools has polled the nation on the best and worst trends for UK gardens in 2022 and taken a look at consumer priorities and spending habits when it comes to the garden. According to the research, Brits are encouraging wildlife in their gardens with bird feeders and baths, hedgehog homes and bumblebee nest boxes. A study of 2,000 adults with outdoor space found more than one in ten describe their garden as intentionally wild to encourage biodiversity. However, garden gnomes and artificial grass have fallen out of favour. Respondents estimate having spent an average of £1, 32 on bedding, plants, tools and other garden costs since moving in, according to the OnePoll.com data. Two out of five people are planning to spend more on gardens this year than last year too. Retailers must double down on D&I The retail industry must double down to make a meaningful difference on diversity and inclusion D I) as a new report shows there is still a long way to go until the industry reflects the communities it serves , with women still underrepresented at most senior levels, a lack of ethnic diversity, and a lack of black leaders. Tracking progress on diversity and inclusion in UK Retail , by British Retail Consortium BRC) and The MBS Group, shows over a third of retailers have all white Boards and that women account for less than 40% of boards and executive committees. brc.org.uk

Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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11/08/2022 15:29


News

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Christmas Trends OLDER TRADITIONS ARE MAKING A COMEBACK, BUT THERE ARE NEW CHALLENGES CREATING CHANGE

Christmas on a budget Consumers may well be pinching the pennies this festive season, if the cost-of-living crisis continues, so garden centres may want to consider stocking options for those on a strict budget. Dobbies, for instance, has introduced a wide range of value products “to ensure all budgets are catered for”, including hanging decorations from £1.49. Reconnecting with nature Real Christmas trees, wooden ornaments and mistletoe straight from a tree – these are the new traditions as consumers look to bring the outdoors into their homes. And with houseplant sales still looking promising, poinsettias are set to remain popular additions.

be a welcome change after the last two years and could spark interest in family classics such as board games and the traditional Christmas dinner – or even a surge in gift sales. Experiences to remember Social distancing and mandatory face masks made retail experiences diff icult over the last couple of years. But with people now able to stand closer than two metres apart, garden centres can bring back popular experiences such as festive trails, grottos and Christmas-themed dining events.

2022

PEOPLE WILL BE FREE TO SPEND CHRISTMAS WHEREVER THEY CHOOSE WITH WHOMEVER THEY CHOOSE

Continuing to ditch plastic Tinsel town has been deserted. Where once trees were adorned with the shimmering streaks, along with lametta dripping from the branches, these plastic, limited-use items are being discarded in favour of longer-lasting decorations which can be used year-on-year. Spending time with family With no restrictions around COVID-19, people will be free to spend Christmas wherever they choose with whomever they choose. It will 8

Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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gardencentreretail.com

10/08/2022 16:55


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11/08/2022 13:01


Features

An Interview With

Matthew Bent, Bents Garden & Home

BENTS HAS BECOME A LEADER IN THE MARKET, DIVERSIFYING ITS OFFERING, AS WELL AS FOCUSING ON HOW DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY ARE IMPORTANT WITHIN ITS TEAM TOO

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espite several recent bumps in road – not least COVID-19 and the fallout from Brexit – the UK garden centre sector currently finds itself in as good a place as it’s been for many years. There are two very good reasons for this, both of which are integral to the other. The first is customers continuing – or even increasing – appetite for the garden centre experience, and all that it represents. This is borne out by, amongst other things, figures published by the GCA at the start of the year stating that garden centre retail sales in 2021 were up over 30% compared to the year before. The other reason for this ongoing success meanwhile is the direction in which the industry gardencentreretail.com

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itself continues to travel, both from a cultural perspective, and in terms of what it provides for its customers. This is demonstrated in particular by the ongoing evolution of the broader offer, with businesses across the sector now displaying a keen awareness that the public are likely to desire a bit more from their retail experience than just a visit to the shops. Rather, they want a day out; they want to be made to feel special; and perhaps most important of all, they want to buy into a lifestyle. While it may seem only natural to imagine that this kind of lifestyle orientated offer has

always been the sector’s dominant mode of selling, those with longer memories will tell you something different. Indeed, it took several brave businesses to step out and do something different back in the day. One of those was Bents Garden & Home near Manchester, which also happens to be the subject of this issue’s Big Interview section. Pushing the boundaries Situated in Warrington, Bents has served the people of Cheshire for the best part of 80 years. It is, as described on its website, “a familyowned and run garden centre, [which] has evolved into a unique lifestyle destination, where customers can discover the products, advice and inspiration to make outdoor living more beautiful.” Going into greater detail about the company’s history, managing director Matthew Bent, says: Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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Features

MY DAD WAS INCREDIBLY INNOVATIVE, AND WE’VE TRIED TO KEEP THAT GOING AS THE BUSINESS HAS PROGRESSED 12

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“A lot of the changes we continue to put in place are really just a matter of maintaining what we feel is the correct balance for the business. We don’t want to put too much into just dining or plants, because then you lose the strength in other areas. As I said, those are our three core offers, but we also have secondary and tertiary areas as well.” These ‘secondary’ and ‘tertiary’ areas include garden furniture and outdoor living, as well as a pets and wildlife section, and a comprehensive baby and child offer.

Features

“The business was started a long time ago, in 1937, by my grandparents. They started out growing and selling roses. “It was then progressed by my dad, who took over around 20 years ago, after which I started running the business with my three sisters, Rachel, Helen and Katherine, who are all part of the management team, and took it to the next stage again. My dad was incredibly innovative, and we’ve tried to keep that going as the business has progressed.” He continues: “In terms of strategy, what we’ve always tried to do is be a bit different from everyone else, travelling the world to come up with new ideas and concepts that will differentiate us from the competition. We’ve never been about taking the straight line, and we always look long term rather than seeing what’s right in front of us. Obviously, things are often quite hard to predict nowadays.” According to Matthew, this philosophy of continual evolution was initially set in motion by the realisation that selling plants was only likely to be profitable at certain, ultimately uite limited, times of the year. This, in turn, led the business to find alternative sources of revenue applicable at different moments in the calendar, such as developing a festive offer in the run up to Christmas. This happened for the first time in the 1970s. In 1982 meanwhile, Bents was one of the first garden centres in the country to go into catering. This was in the form of an upstairs coffee bar, which then developed over the course of about 20 years, into a major hospitality effort. Matthew says: “The evolution of the business has been ongoing, to the point where the core offer is now split into three sections. The first is the selling of plants, which is at our heart, then dining and food, and then home. We don’t overtly emphasise any one of the three elements, and it works for us.

Culture champions As readers of Garden Centre Retail may remember, Bents took another step in its evolution earlier this year via the creation of two new roles within the business. Rather than anything directly related to what’s on shelves, however, the company is now looking to revolutionise how it deals with HR. To quote a statement released at the time: “Bents Garden & Home is refocusing its strategy to colleagues, introducing new positions designed to make Bents an exceptional place to work.” The new roles in question are head of people (former HR manager Kate Ganley) and head of culture (Katherine Bent). The centre has also apparently employed 14 new ‘culture champions’, whose job will be to “develop and promote positivity in the workplace.” Discussing the reasoning behind the move, Matthew says: “Regarding the head of culture position, that was created to bring much more of a ‘people’ focus into the operation. We realised recently – certainly after the past couple of years – that people are the most important focus of the business, and we need to put more effort into that. “Shaping the culture of the organisation is obviously key to that effort, alongside prioritising the health and wellbeing of staff. That’s why we’ve strengthened the operational board to have both head of people and the head of culture.” For Matthew, the ‘culture’ of an organisation is a set of what he calls “unwritten rules.” Or, to put it another way, a “feeling around the business that everybody is working in the right direction. One fairly common sense example he gives of a healthy culture is one where teams within a business are working together, rather than seeing themselves as separate entities, operating in silos. Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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Features

Asked to go into more detail about ‘culture’, particularly as it relates to customers, he says: “A key question is, how do we make it so that colleagues’ key focus are the people coming in? Encouraging them to think ’how can I make this an amazing experience for the customer?’, rather than ‘how can I make it easier for me?’” Another key element of culture meanwhile is the wellbeing of the employees themselves, and how happy they are within their roles, as well as the equality and diversity at Bents. Matthew comments: “Equality and diversity are incredibly important to us as a business,” he says. “For instance, at the moment our board consists of two males and four females, while 80% of colleagues who work with us are women. We absolutely keep E&D top of mind when we’re recruiting.” As mentioned, alongside head of culture, the other newly created role is head of people. According to Matthew, one key function of that

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Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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position is to coordinate the development of talent across the organisation. Explaining the rationale behind this, he says: “We’ve been seeing that it’s now very hard – not to say very expensive – to recruit people. So, if we want to progress the business, the emphasis is on us to develop people who already work here. “One example of that is what we’re doing in the catering department. We’ve just taken on four apprentice chefs and are looking for more. Dining is an incredibly important area of the business, so it’s crucial that we get that right.” Going back to the subject of employee wellbeing, one obvious recent test of how

EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY ARE INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO US AS A BUSINESS

seriously a company takes its duty of care to its people was the COVID-19 crisis. As no one will need reminding the pandemic had a massive impact on people’s mental health, occasioning both long periods of social isolation and a lack of clarity about the future. Discussing the strategies adopted by Bents at the time, Matthew says: “COVID-19 was massively challenging in terms of uncertainty and people knowing what’s going on. Plus, people were stuck at home for a long time. “During that time, we set out to build a sense of reassurance and stability into the business. We produced a series of Friday updates, which were videos that came from the management team to keep people informed. During those times, we knew we had to over-communicate, telling people as much as we knew.” Bents has a history of innovation, stretching back to the start of the business. It looks like that’s set to continue, in all areas of operation.

gardencentreretail.com

11/08/2022 09:35


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11/08/2022 15:44


Features

Are you maximising

your Christmas space and potential?

IT’S NOT ONLY THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR, BUT ALSO ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED WHEN IT COMES TO GARDEN CENTRE CUSTOMERS, SAYS ANDREW BURTON

O

ver the years, garden centres have proven themselves to be market leaders in delivering a Christmas offer that not only sells a whole range of goods, but one that creates an enjoyable experience for customers. We see this throughout retail, catering and events, delivering something that customers look forward to, and plan months in advance. Whilst it is one thing to try to extend high-margin seasonal sales, it is another to manage seasonal merchandise planning properly. Sometimes, it feels like the only thing preventing retailers from pushing their full range of Christmas products out in September is the fact that their display areas are still reserved for gardening products or the evergrowing range of Halloween products. Space is king and whilst some garden centres are in a position to deliver their full Christmas offering early, many have to be more flexible and calculating due to space restrictions. In a way, it makes sense to have seasonal products displayed for as long as possible to maximise their potential sales impact on margins, but garden centres have to work the floor space to maximise opportunity. When myself and my Malcolm Scott Consultants colleagues create layout plans for gardencentreretail.com

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our clients, space planning and merchandising plans that support seasonal movement are essential, and accurately forecasting the correct quantities to merchandise at the right time is crucial to ensure that the sales of other products in a centre are not compromised. Another aspect that UK garden centres are famous for is events. These can’t be underestimated, and just like layout, creating an area in a garden centre that is planned, fuses well with the rest of the business and maximises opportunities is essential. It sounds obvious but creating a Christmas event that provides catering and retail opportunities is essential to return on investment and time. Whatever the festive theme, be it a Christmas market, a grotto, an ice rink or a woodland light walk, considering the event space and location needed when planning out a site layout is the difference between the resulting event being good or being a GREAT experience, and turnover working fluidly across all departments. Customers want memories – and garden centres are perfectly placed to deliver these. Often called the five Ps , it s not a new concept. “PLAN, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN” is one way to say this, though others may say: “Poor planning provides poor performance.”

Whether an owner is developing or extending their garden centre, or simply reviewing what can improve the site, a centre often has the space, flexibility, care and thought to deliver a great customer experience. Every day, I discuss sales performance by department with owners and managers, and what stands out above all else is that their key motivator is giving their customers the best experience possible; as they know this creates an all-year-round shopper and increased turnover. I always ask: “Are you delivering the best seasonal experience you can?” And if not: “What is stopping you from doing so?” So, with that in mind, happy planning and Happy Christmas trading! About Andrew Burton Andrew works for garden centre and farm shop business strategy and rural planning specialists Malcolm Scott Consultants. Andrew provides commercial, operational and business development experience and commercial advice to clients in the retail and catering sectors. Andrew now sits on the Farm Retail Association Council, having previously been on the Garden Centre Association Board. andrewb@malcolmscott.co.uk

Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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Features

Could cryptocurrency be on the cards

for UK retail? DIGITAL CURRENCY HAS ITS UPS AND DOWNS, BUT AS MAJOR BRANDS SUCH AS STARBUCKS AND WHOLE FOODS EXPLORE HOW TO ADOPT IT, IT’S LIKELY THAT CRYPTOCURRENCY IS HERE TO STAY AND IT COULD BE THE PAYMENT METHOD OF THE FUTURE

Y

ou could argue it’s too early to talk about the emergence of cryptocurrency in the UK retail sector. One association we spoke to was baff led as to why we were even considering linking such a niche form of payment to garden retail. It is, for some, a payment which could soon fall out of favour, and it’s easy to see why. Cryptocurrency is facing a crisis of confidence. Bitcoin, arguably the most well known cryptocurrency globally, saw its value plummet to its lowest in 18 months back in May, falling a whopping 2 % in just five days alone. The dramatic drop followed two lesser known cryptocurrencies collapsing the month before, sparking the term ‘cryptocrash’ to start trending on social media platforms. With cryptocurrency being so volatile, how likely is it that consumers would adopt it as a payment method in the UK? Slow uptake At the time of writing, no major high street retailer in the UK accepts cryptocurrency as a form of payment. Strides are being made elsewhere, though. Starbucks, for instance, announced last year that customers in the US will be able to reload their Starbucks Card on its app with Bitcoin by using digital asset platform Bakkt. Bitcoin will be converted into US dollars gardencentreretail.com

Cryptocurrency.indd 19

to load funds onto the card – though the chain still does not accept Bitcoin as a direct payment method in its stores, and the partnership with Bakkt could be seen as somewhat of a gimmick. “The main way for consumers to channel crypto into a retail environment is a Bitcoin loaded debit card linked to an App or payment gateway such as NowPayments. The card can also be used to take out fiat cash from an ATM, explains Katharine Wooler, managing director of crypto wealth currency Dacxi. In terms of online retailers, Ama on offers the facility of buying a gift card and paying in Bitcoin – then the money can be spent at Amazon. An increasing number of vendors on marketplace site Etsy accept Bitcoin. On the high street, Ama on owned Whole Foods and Starbucks are leading players. The list of small businesses is growing monthly, although the early adopters are mainly businesses (restaurants and pizza takeaways) where the margin is sufficient to mitigate the impact of volatility. Lack of demand? Retailers’ reluctance to accept cryptocurrencies as a payment method is the “main limiting factor in a broadening use of digital currencies, says Katharine. “Over 6% of UK adults already own cryptocurrency – but they can’t pay with it until retailers accept it.

“With all technology, early adoption may be slow, but we expect acceptance of crypto to rise at an exponential rate, and we expect that to start to happen within the next six to 12 months. Christmas 2022 may be quite a pivotal time for kick starting this.

OVER 6% OF UK ADULTS ALREADY OWN CRYPTOCURRENCY Even if retailers were to accept cryptocurrencies, would the 6% who own cryptocurrency – or the 94% who don’t – look to purchase it for use in stores? For British Garden Centres, the demand is not yet there to introduce this form of payment and the chain said it is currently “happy with all traditional methods of payment. Epos providers aren’t seeing the demand either, but that’s not to say it’s not being considered. “We believe it’s a bit early to action [payment via cryptocurrency into our epos system], but it is being reviewed month to month. No customer has yet re uested this, says David Seville, sales and training executive at Open Retail Solutions Ltd. Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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11/08/2022 16:28


Features

Seeking stability Regulating cryptocurrency could be the key to changing this, suggests David, such as if the Bank of England was to release a ‘stablecoin’ – in other words, a digital currency that is pegged to a ‘stable’ reserve such as pound sterling GBP), so it stays at a fixed value, reducing the volatility. Isle of Man based fintech company Blackridge, for instance, recently launched poundtoken, which it s toting as the first British regulated stablecoin backed 1:1 to pound sterling. There is a risk, though, that stablecoins can be not so stable. Take TerraUSD, which back in May broke its peg with the US dollar and its value dropped to near zero. It begs the question of whether cryptocurrency could ever be widely accepted – or understood. “I think the majority of people have heard of crypto, but understanding it and wanting to use it day to day is far off for the majority of the public. I think it is more perceived as an investment opportunity than a currency,” says David. The Bank of England appears to agree, stating on its website: “It’s generally slower and more expensive to pay with cryptocurrency than a recognised currency like sterling.

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Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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“Development is underway to make cryptocurrency easier to use, but for now it isn’t very ‘money-like’. This is why central banks now refer to them as “cryptoassets” instead of “cryptocurrencies”. “Today cryptocurrencies are generally held as investments by people who expect their value to rise.” Cutting its carbon Cryptocurrency has also come under fire for its carbon footprint; Bitcoin alone emits nearly 37 megatons of CO2 every year – the equivalent to that of New Zealand, according to an article by CNBC. This is down to the immense computer power needed to mine cryptocurrency. Fiat money – or legal government tender – is regulated through central banks. Cryptocurrency, on the other hand, is tracked through the ‘blockchain’, a shared database or ledger made up of a global network of computers. There are cryptocurrencies being released, though, which have a far lower carbon footprint than Bitcoin. “We see sustainability as a legacy issue that is causing less concern by the day,” says Katharine. “ In the early days

of crypto mining, the massive reliance on coal fired dirty power in China was very detrimental to the environment. The crypto mining industry has since relocated to areas with sustainable and renewable surplus electricity – hydro-electric and geothermal power in particular.”

IF IT CAN OVERCOME SUSTAINABILITY, CAN IT OVERCOME INSTABILITY AND WIN OVER RETAILERS? David sites one cryptocurrency called Chia which doesn’t mine in the traditional way. It uses excess hard drive space around the world, of which there is ample. Most PCs come with terabytes (TBs) of storage which is hardly touched by the average user. This also levels the playing fields so anyone can start mining at home without specialist hardware.” If it can overcome sustainability, can it overcome instability and win over retailers? “The biggest hurdle to overcome for retailers will be crypto’s volatility – in a currency market where values can fluctuate by as much as 5% on a daily basis, retailers face the challenge of marking up prices in crypto,” says Katharine. It’s not necessarily a reason to avoid it, though. “In a commercial sense accepting crypto gives consumers another option. In addition, in terms of corporate finance, many big companies are already looking to add digital currencies to their treasury in the belief it will continue to increase in value, especially as the recent price readjustment across the digital coin spectrum has made crypto an attractive long-term hold. “We feel the only ‘con’ here is that businesses coming late to the cryptosphere may lose market share.” gardencentreretail.com

11/08/2022 11:27


Features

Where did cryptocurrency come from? 1980s – American cryptographer David Chaum is widely credited for inventing digital cash, having invented a ‘blinding’ algorithm to allow for contents of a message to be untraceable, and proposing a way to make digital payments which would be both untraceable and unforgeable. 2009 – The world s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin (BTC), is released to the public by Satoshi Nakamoto, whose real identity remains a mystery.

Missed opportunity? It will attract customers already invested in cryptocurrency, says David – those who “are desperate to go and purchase using crypto and share the experience on social media. “There are websites and apps listing retailers who accept crypto, and these places are actively

WHY WOULD ANY RETAILER WANT TO RESTRICT POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS SPENDING WITH THEM visited by the early adopters. Other benefits will include removing charges for using Visa, Mastercard, American Express etc; the customer will pay you directly. But I would expect some other service charge would end up being applied. “Also, the merchant may have to decide to cash out the crypto as soon as it is spent so you get the exact amount in pound sterling at the time of purchase; or some merchants may want to hold the asset and cash out once the value has increased – both are potentially possible.” gardencentreretail.com

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Predicting its potential But how likely are they to be embraced by the UK retail sector, and specifically garden centres “There are two aspects to this question,” says Katharine. “Firstly, will the retail sector accept digital currencies as payments for goods And, secondly, whether they will seek to use cryptocurrencies to buy from suppliers. To take the second point first, in financial and commercial terms, there are potentially enormous benefits for any business that buys things internationally and pays in cryptocurrency – digital currencies will be global currencies that can cross borders with no need to incur foreign exchange premia. Transactions are quick and traceable through the blockchain. Given the broad spectrum of goods offered by garden retail outlets, this may offer important cost savings. “In terms of accepting payment at the till, the garden retail sector is 99.9% geared up for transactions through chip and pin from customers’ digital wallets. Indeed, many are now cash-averse, and it will be a natural and easy move for retailers to accept digital coin when they so choose.” For David, it’s somewhat inevitable. “[The garden retail sector] will have to at some point, depending on when the market matures. Why would any retailer want to restrict potential customers spending with them Cryptocurrency might not be on the cards just yet, but it s worth the sector exploring its potential. As Katharine says, with customers increasingly steering clear of cash, there could be an opportunity for cryptocurrencies to break through, ‘cryptocrash’ aside.

2010 – Now known as Bitcoin Pizza Day, 22 May saw Floridian programmer Las lo Hanyec become the first person to purchase physical goods – in this case, two pizzas – using Bitcoin. 2011 – Bitcoin rivals begin to launch, such as Litecoin and Namecoin. 2011 – Once the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox is hacked and has 2,000 BTC stolen – which at the time was valued at $30k. Three years later, it became the victim of another hack, this time with 850,000 BTC being stolen. It suspended trading in 2014. 2012 – WordPress becomes the first major merchant to accept payment in Bitcoin. 2015 – The world’s second largest cryptocurrency, Ethereum, is launched. 2018 – After briefly hitting a record-high in 2017, the price of Bitcoin plummets over the next 12 months in a series of incidents known as the ‘2018 cryptocurrency crash’ or the ‘Bitcoin crash’. Some of the contributing factors were rumours that South Korea would be banning cryptocurrency trading, and the hacking of Coinbase, a Japanase Bitcoin wallet and exchange service. 2022 – Yet another ‘cryptocrash’ has meant this year has not started well for the market, but thanks to its volatility, it’s difficult to predict what the latter half of 2022 will have in store for cryptocurrency.

Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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11/08/2022 11:28


Products

Newness & innovation the order of the day

F

FOLLOWING THE RECENT GLEE NEW PRODUCT AWARDS WHERE NINE OF THE 11 WINNERS WERE GIMA MEMBERS, WE DIG A LITTLE DEEPER INTO ALL THE LATEST NEWNESS FROM MEMBERS AHEAD OF THE 2023 SEASON

ollowing award wins at Glee and SOLEX, 2023 will see Zest use its new branding in trade and consumer-facing campaigns to reach outdoor living enthusiasts. The company’s new website and consumer-facing positioning – Zest Outdoor Living - The Natural Choice – offers on trend products including the multi-award-winning Garden Bar and two stools, the new Freya dining and seating range and the Garden Pizza Oven Table – all perfect for outdoor living. All new products are made from FSC®- C114990, sustainable, slow-grown softwood from responsibly managed forests, and pressuretreated with a 10-year guarantee against rot. Winner of the GIMA Innovators Seed Corn Fund, Qwickhose, has brought to market its namesake product. Built to be long-lasting and robust, the Qwickhose Hose Connector uses a unique winged clamping system for quick and easy connection. Simply push the hose onto the inner tube, clamp the wings shut and secure them with the nut. The extra-long

THE QWICKHOSE HOSE CONNECTOR USES A UNIQUE WINGED CLAMPING SYSTEM FOR QUICK AND EASY CONNECTION connector then acts as a handle. There are no breakable teeth, making it more reliable, longer-lasting and leak-free. OASE, experts in aquariums and water gardening, is tapping into the biophilia trend 22

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Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

which highlights our innate desire to connect with nature, with the introduction of the new biOrb AIR. This intelligent micro-climate is designed to provide everything plants need to thrive including lighting, humidity and air circulation control. Looking ahead, Taylor’s Bulbs has unveiled its spring 2023 catalogue, which features vibrantly coloured summer flowering bulbs in suitably colourful packaging to create an eyecatching display. The fourth-generation family business suggests blending complementary colours or going bold with contrasting colours to grab customers’ attention, or even featuring special interest sections such as RHS Perfect for Pollinators or Bulbs for Pots. Peat-free experts, RocketGro, is back with all-new Peat-Free Tree G Shrub Compost, the 10th growing media to join the company’s product portfolio. Peat-Free Tree G Shrub

Compost is 100% sustainably grown, made, sourced, and created in Somerset, UK. It is also Soil Association approved for organic growing, vegan-friendly, chemical-free, and all-natural. Durston Garden Products has also further strengthened its commitment to a peat-free future with new peat-free additions to its portfolio, including a new extra-large peat-free Grow in the Bag. Elsewhere, The Real Soil Company has launched SuperLawn, a peat-free lawn topsoil. Packed full of slow releasing nutrients, trace elements and minerals, this all-in-one product helps lawns to thrive by improving the soil type and structure, giving lawns a healthy start. Adding value to peat-free compost is the order of the day for the new additions from Sipcam Home & Garden. Joining the ecofective® line-up will be Glee-awardwinning Peat-Free Compost Booster, gardencentreretail.com

11/08/2022 09:43


gardencentreretail.com

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technology, its designs will be more intricate and mats more durable. Ponds and lakes are set to benefit from new Byofix Beneficial Bacteria Powder from Dyofix. This specialist powder is active in neutralising excess nitrates that often result in blanket and duckweed. Like all Byofix products, this new addition will introduce natural bacteria to break down the organic pollutants in ponds and lakes, helping to maintain good, dissolved oxygen levels, reduce toxicity and dispel foul odours. Leon Boots Co. has launched new colourways to its everpopular range of lifestyle boots, including stunning new burgundy and navy designs. A new half-length ladies’ boots has also been added to the UK’s most lightweight wellington offering. Award-winning home décor brand, Primus, showcased its largest collection of new products at Glee 2022 this year, with more than 100 new products across 14 ranges displayed, from the Wallace addition to its Wallace & Gromit collection, as well as new smaller versions of the existing Aardman range to striking new illuminated silhouette wall art and clocks through to delightful new animal collections. Completing the ‘Pride of Primus’ items for Glee are extensions to existing ranges too. Hortiwool has added Hanging Basket Liners to its 2023 offering. These liners offer a beneficial alternative to artificial, coconut or coir liners, and are designed to fit 12 , 14 or 16 baskets. Proud British manufacturers, Hex Living, has expanded its collection of quality, metal storage solutions and garden furniture. A leading supplier of premium greeting cards to independent retailers, Woodmansterne, has partnered with the Greenfi ngers Charity to create a new range of garden inspired greeting cards. Featuring floral imagery, garden scenes and endearing animals,

Products

a balanced compost booster full of essential nutrients plants need to grow within peatfree compost, and also pelletised Organic Superfood, which takes its inspiration from the nutritional superfood market and the power of superfoods for positively impacting wellbeing. In a similar vein, Carbon Gold’s new Biochar Compost Rejuvenator offers a wonderful alternative to having to constantly go to the expense and inconvenience of replacing old, spent compost. This one-litre tub will refresh up to 70L of exhausted compost. Also joining the Carbon Gold line-up ahead of 2023 is Biochar Houseplant Booster, specially created to support healthier growth in most indoor plants. Due to its water-holding capacity, Biochar is designed to help avoid houseplants from drying out. Azpects has launched new outdoor cleaners, including EASYCare Wood Revive – an easyto-use solution to refresh and restore both softwood and hardwood – and the new threein-one, EASYCare Rattan Revive, designed to clean, restore, and protect synthetic rattan furniture in one simple application. Sales at Protek Wood Stain have been growing over the last couple of years with new customers and accounts. The trend to make the garden an extension of the house continues and has fuelled the extra demand. To meet this interest Protek has rented a new building, which will double the stock holding, increase the production line capacity, allow for a new pigmentation machine as well as a dedicated area for research and development – exciting times for a family business that turns 40 next year. Phoenox Textiles’ investment in three new high-speed CMC tufting machines is arriving imminently at its Yorkshire mills to give it the ability to create some incredible Britishmade tufted mats and rugs ready to launch in SS23, as well as increasing its output for its current collections. Using its new colourpoint

this new range is made using sustainable materials and practices wherever possible and will work to raise vital funds for the children’s hospice garden charity. Finally, Primeur has added new designs to its recycled rubber tyre range. Leading the charge is the exciting new Mower Edge Border in Earth and Grey. The innovative L-shaped design enables a mower to run true along the lawn border, enabling grass to be cut clean against the edge without leaving a line for which a strimmer would be required, meaning lawn care is easier than ever! Additionally, Primeur’s award-winning Tierra Verde self-watering planter collection has also been expanded with a new steel grey colourway added to the square Citadelle planter and 15cm trough planter, whilst the Easy Tile decking range has also been further extended.

About GIMA Garden Industry Manufacturer’s Association (GIMA) is a membership organisation of around 150 members representing the majority share of suppliers and manufacturers in the UK gardening industry. Formed in 1999, its goal is to promote commercial, trading and industrial interests of UK and EU based companies. GIMA is run by a small team of dedicated professionals and governed by a council of members. gima.org.uk

Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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11/08/2022 09:44


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11/08/2022 13:04


Products

NEW on the BLOCK

“I

THERE’S AN INNOVATIVE ADDITION TO THE GROW-YOUR-OWN MARKET WITH BOTTLE FARM

t’s certainly a unique concept,” says Charlie Francis, who along with two friends has turned a plastic bottle into a way of growing good at home. The trio of school friends graduated from university with degrees ranging from science to design. Each was driven to create a product that would have a positive impact on the environment. We played around with lots of different ideas for helping people to grow food at home in new and sustainable ways.” From this came the idea of using a plastic bottle as an indoor farm. “The simplicity of it is part of the beauty of it,” says Charlie. He and his cofounders Daniel Taylor and Emil Schneider launched a campaign on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter in 2020 and raised £33k. “It was a massive success for us and gave us our first 6 0 or so customers, which was a big validation of the product and gave us the confidence that people actually wanted it. Made from % recycled materials and manufactured in the UK, Charlie reckons it captured people’s imaginations. He admits COVID might have played a part in its popularity, with people stuck at home and looking for hobbies. But COVID also, along with Brexit, provided a few setbacks in setting up the manufacturing operation. “We were hit with a few delays which was really tough for us, and frustrating for our customers initially. We dealt with that in the best way we could and made lots of efforts and sacrifices to get the product out the door as quickly as possible.” Which they did, in March last year. Bottle Farm now has more than 3,000 customers and is stocked in 0 stores across the UK, with a growing presence in the US too. The team is also involved in educational projects with schools. gardencentreretail.com

New on the block bottle farm.indd 25

The key components of the product, says Charlie, are the bottle stands and the grow baskets. With stands holding the bottle in place, it can be put on a shelf or windowsill, or even on a window using suction pads. “It works using a technology called passive hydroponics. The plant sits in water with a special nutrient powder added to it, which gives the plants the nutrients they would have otherwise gotten from the soil. “It’s also self-watering, so the plants take up exactly the amount of water they need each day; you just have to keep the bottle topped up.” Parts are produced by its manufacturing partner in Wales, with the bottle stands and grow baskets being created using waste white plastic offcuts from the factory. It s a really cool solution and also kind of gives you a horrifying idea of how much waste is being generated by the manufacturing industry.” The product is then assembled in London. “It started in my co-founder’s family’s shed and some of the assembly is still done there.”

Bottle Farm’s dedication to creating a sustainable product means it is 100% carbon neutral. It funds a mixture of decarbonisation and forestry projects to offset its carbon. The company is now looking to reach a wider audience and to work with more

BOTTLE FARM’S DEDICATION TO CREATING A SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT MEANS IT IS 100% CARBON NEUTRAL garden centres to do so. There are also plans to continue to impact the US market and Charlie says there are “exciting education projects” lined up. There’s even a new product on the horizon. The only clue from Charlie is that it will be “another clever, sustainable way to grow food at home.” It begs the question: Which waste product will they use next? Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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11/08/2022 10:10


Products

Meet the Brand

Handy

How was the company founded? Founder, Geoffrey Handy, started an ironmongery business in 1 3 in Swindon. It expanded into hardware, bottled gas and lawn mowers, and has now evolved into the garden and home machinery business that is Handy. How has it developed since? We re still in Swindon and remain a family owned business – but a lot has changed since those early days. Handy has grown to become one of the UK s largest independent garden machinery wholesale distributors. We re the exclusive distributor of commercial landscaping e uipment for industry leading manufacturers Greenworks and Cramer. Handy also has its own branded products under the Webb, The Handy and Garden brands. To accommodate this growth, we now operate out of a purpose built 60,000ft site which is home to more than 4 full time staff. What makes Handy stand out? Handy s experience, expert knowledge, and dedicated customer service has enabled us to build a team driven by high performance and family values. But what really sets us apart is our aftersales service, including carrying 26

Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

meet the brand.indd 26

MARK MOSELE , SALES MARKETING DIRECTOR, SHARES INSIGHTS INTO BRITISH GARDEN AND HOME MACHINER MANUFACTURER AND DISTRIBUTOR HAND

over 0,000 different spare parts across major brands, supported by a dedicated Spare Parts team. This may not sound like the most interesting aspect of the business, but it s one that others fall down on. What has been the biggest growth area for Handy in t e last e ears Without a doubt, this has been our cordless garden tool ranges from Webb and Greenworks. Lightweight and compact, all products in the ranges can be easily stored while taking up minimum room when not in use, and the battery is interchangeable with other tools. With no emissions and lower running and maintenance costs than petrol e uivalents and no power cables to contend with, the ranges provide total convenience and ease of use. Is sustainability a key consideration? Sustainability is incredibly important for Handy and our clients – hence the growth of cordless tools. Cordless mowers, such as those in the Greenworks brand, are emission free, uiet,

and lightweight. They are also cheaper to run maintain when compared to petrol e uivalents. Furthermore, the batteries are interchangeable with other Greenworks garden machinery tools, so any additional e uipment can be purchased without the need for additional batteries, reducing the cost. What’s next for Handy? Following on from a significant expansion of our warehousing earlier this year, a third expansion phase is due for completion this year, increasing capacity by 30%. We have also just announced a new partnership with Cramer, a specialist in durable battery powered tools and professional gardening e uipment for the commercial market. We are excited as well to be selling its powerful 2V battery technology. We will showcase the range at APF Exhibition 22 24 September) and SALTEX 2 3 November). Plus, coming soon to the UK is Greenworks 60V sit on lawn mower that can cut up to two acres on one charge. Watch this space handys.co.uk gardencentreretail.com

11/08/2022 09:58


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Christmas

Carbon cutting at Christmas O

pening Christmas presents would normally leave carnage in its wake. There d be piles of plastic wrapping from chocolate boxes, plastic ties and covers to hold Barbie in place, and glitter-coated carpets from the wrapping paper. A conscious consumerism Christmas in the wake of Blue Planet II looks a little different. Instead, we re more likely to see stacks of recyclable wrapping paper and cardboard packaging, with single use aspects

SUPPLIERS NEED TO BE ON TOP OF WHAT THEY OFFER IN TERMS OF GIFTING of the festive season, such as tinsel, a thing of the past. Some brands are going beyond simply ensuring their wrapping paper is recyclable. British, female-founded brand Curlicue is advertising its paper as “vegan” as well as FSC certified. It launched back in 201 in response to a growing demand for sustainable products which also prioritised high quality design. “Our eco-friendly wrapping paper and gift tags feature beautiful bespoke

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FILLING OUR BINS WITH WASTE OVER THE FESTIVE SEASON IS FALLING OUT OF FASHION, AND THERE ARE BRANDS EAGER TO FILL THE VOID WHERE PLASTIC ONCE DOMINATED

designs, creating an appealing alternative for people who are mindful about protecting the environment when shopping, but who prefer not to use kraft paper or newspaper to wrap gifts, explains a spokeswomen for Curlicue. The wrapping paper is made in a waterless, chemical-free printing process and is printed in the UK, with each print being designed by UK-based designers. The company has also ditched plastic film, glitter and plastic foiling, saying that more than 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is used by UK consumers and the majority of this is not being recycled due to the presence of plastic. “Ditching gift wrap covered in foil and glitter is crucial because these contain plastic, which is bonded to the paper, meaning it cannot be recycled. So, then it has to go into general waste, where it usually ends up in landfill. When these plastic elements break down, they turn into microplastics and pollute our soil and our water, negatively impacting our entire ecosystem.” Wrapping paper is just one aspect of Christmas where plastic is being pushed out. Chocolate selection boxes and advent calendars are undergoing sustainable switches, such as those by PLAYin CHOC, which are also vegan and “allergy-free”. “Christmas is a big time for our brand as we supply garden centres nationwide with our sustainable and plastic-free advent calendars and stocking fillers, says managing director Dominic Simler. “It is estimated that over 25 million tonnes of rubbish are produced around Christmas, and PLAYin CHOC offers garden centres an affordable, plastic free, ethical and sustainable option.

Products Curlicue wrapping paper RRP £6.75 for 3 sheets, £ . for

sheets

Gift tags RRP From £2.85 curlicue.uk

PLAYin CHOC ToyChoc boxes RRP £2.25 ToyChoc advent calendar RRP £24. playinchoc.com

“With garden centres becoming much more sustainably aware and reducing their plastic gifting options, suppliers need to be on top of what they offer in terms of gifting, but at an attractive price point too.” With no sign of demand for sustainable alternatives dwindling, you can expect to see even more innovations from the gifting market, with plastic free being a key selling point for the industry for many years to come. gardencentreretail.com

11/08/2022 10:32


Christmas

Add Value With

Grottos NOW COVID RESTRICTIONS ARE SEEMINGLY BEHIND US THIS CHRISTMAS, COULD GROTTOS MAKE A WELCOME RETURN? AND ARE THEY REALLY WORTH THE INVESTMENT?

W

ith the winter around the corner and thoughts turning to how to keep the children occupied over the holidays, now is the perfect time for garden centres to be thinking about how they’re going to give customers a taste of the festive season. Christmas grottos have long been a tradition around the country,

CUSTOMERS ARE LOOKING TO FEEL TRANSPORTED INTO A LAPLAND LIKE WORLD a special day out with a chance for children to meet Santa, a magical element of many childhoods. gardencentreretail.com

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The owner of The McKeown Clinic, a psychoanalyst, suggested that people who put their decorations up earlier are happier, and with decorations being considered as social cues the atmosphere of a grotto matters just as much as the gift giving. Fake coals, mock candles and Christmas trees are just a few elements that can really bring the feeling of Christmas alive. Customers are looking to feel transported and it makes sense that parents would be more likely to invest time in the rest of the centre if their children don’t want to leave, are engaged and are, most importantly, happy. So, the grotto seemingly instils the festive feeling in shoppers but how is this reflected

in sales? Matthew Wise, managing director of Great Grottos the UK leaders in Christmas Grottos shares: “They choose to host Santa because he attracts families and their derivative retail and hospitality spend. Our average Grotto sees 7,400 persons throughout operation.” The vast numbers the company brings to clients means garden centres attract much larger crowds with packages that cover “Christmas Grotto Management, including the recruitment and training of Santas, elves and a grotto manager, costumes, toys, souvenir photography and online ticketing.” Great Grottos really seem to be a great representation of why outsourcing is a good Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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Christmas

idea if you’re wanting a special experience this Christmas. Although Great Grottos are fully booked, Matthew tells of how the company will happily offer guidance to any centre who might want input into overcoming specific challenges,” advising that the 20 years of experience the company has means they have made every mistake so that you don’t have to. Another part of the grotto experience is Santa making an appearance, James Lovell who runs the Ministry of Fun Santa School discusses his opinions on grottos and how they help a company to create a special experience for garden centres, and why they’re a great place to have a grotto. “Garden centres are very good for Christmas grottos. They have lots of space and they have all the foliage already there. “They normally have parking, and you don’t have to queue as long as department stores, as they tend to be a bit less crowded which means it’s a more relaxed environment and Santa gets longer to talk to the children. They Tips on how to create a small self-made grotto space as a small business Part 1: • Utilise the space you do have. Storage cupboards that aren’t being used? Sheds? Covered outdoor areas? All can be converted into magical grottos with some imagination. Use any interesting spaces to your advantage. • Soft lighting created by fairy lights, appropriate background music, Christmas trees or even using plants that are on sale – you want the environment to feel cosy and homely. • Existing employees can dress as elves and ask for volunteers to be Santa. Host interviews to fi nd the most suitable person.

It needs to be amazing; a child meeting Santa is one of the most important parts of childhood. If you blow it, you’re ruining a big part of their childhood; it needs to be great.” James admits grottos have fallen out of favour over the years but says there’s bound to be a resurgence. “Christmas grottos are not as prevalent as they used to be, but I think they’ll come back, as the best way to meet Santa is in a grotto, I expect these things go in trends and fashions and I’m sure grottos will be sweeping the nation again before long. “COVID-19 had a massive impact on Christmas two years ago. The following year, it was back on slightly controlled and this year Father Christmas should be back at full throttle once again.” He also advises that, although he recommends going to a professional company, it generally costs more, so holding your own interviews can work but the performer and costume “need to be good”. So, what reason would a garden centre have to not invest in this seemingly perfect seasonal addition? Shirley, manager of The Herb Centre in Oxfordshire, advises that she feels the venue doesn’t have “the space and footfall to make it worthwhile” posing the question how can smaller businesses create a similar experience on a tighter budget?

Tips on how to create a small self-made grotto space as a small business Part 2: • Parents could be asked to provide the child’s name to an elf before the meet and greet starts so Santa ‘already knows’ the child. • Remember the focus is attracting customers to your garden centre. Once the customers are at your location, it’s a lot easier for them to see the full range of products and services you provide. • Be prepared to charge a small fee. A more expensive package that involves free photos could be incorporated if appropriate. • Consider hosting a doggy grotto – pet owners love to spend money on pampered pooches.

can generally create a really nice backdrop that looks extremely festive.” James continues explaining that Santa’s costume is one of the most important elements with the costumes he provides to his pupils totaling £2,000. “If the costume looks rubbish no one’s going to believe it’s Santa. Remember, they’re getting a photograph and if that photograph looks rubbish and it’s going up on the fridge for years people might be saying ‘oh, that’s a rubbish Santa’ and you never want that. It’s also very important you should know you’re going to get a quality performer. 30

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gardencentreretail.com

11/08/2022 13:54


Christmas

Getting to know

Coffee Logs

SPENT COFFEE IS BEING USED TO HEAT HOMES WITH THIS ENVIRONMENTALL FRIENDL FUEL at are offee o s Made from recycled spent coffee grounds, Coffee Logs are a compact, eff icient fuel for domestic wood burners or multi fuel stove. Considering Brits drink million cups of coffee per day, according to the British Coffee Association, there s plenty of spent coffee out there to use too. ere do t e spent coffee rounds co e fro Parent company of Coffee Logs, bio bean, collects the spent coffee grounds from a variety of large and small scale businesses across the UK – from caf chains to independent coffee shops. This can include garden centre cafes too, depending on the location and volume of spent coffee produced, as well as the centre s waste

management company as it partners with logistics and waste management collection to avoid adding road miles to the system. bio bean has the capacity to process a staggering 16,000t of spent coffee grounds per year. Ho are t e spent coffee rounds t en turned into fuel The coffee grounds come to us, and we then upcycle these into Coffee Logs, along with a variety of other non consumer facing products, explains essica Folkerts, head of marketing at bio bean. We decontaminate it, screen it and then dry it, because spent coffee is wet, having been used by the barista. It averages around 60 0% moisture when it comes to us we dry it down to be about 10% moisture for the Coffee Logs. It then goes through another screening, a fi ner sieving process before undergoing high pressure compression to produce the 10 mm by 2mm coffee log. Sawdust is also mixed in with the coffee as a binding agent. Where did the idea co e fro An architect student named Arthur Kay was tasked with creating a closed loop coffee shop, and whilst carrying out his research in 2013, he noticed the amount of waste produced by coffee shops, in particular spent coffee grounds. Typically, the spent coffee

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was either being sent to landfill or anaerobic digestion, but Arthur thought there must be a better way to use the material. When coffee ends up in landfill, it decomposes like all other organic matter,

THE SPENT COFFEE WAS EITHER BEING SENT TO LANDFILL OR ANAEROBIC DIGESTION emitting greenhouse gases including methane, which is 2 % more potent than carbon dioxide and a major contributor to climate change. So, Arthur thought there must be something better that can be done with the waste. o t at s o offee o s as born Well, that s how bio bean was founded. The original idea was to create a li uid biodiesel, which the company did successfully, but it realised that this wasn t commercially viable, as large amounts of spent coffee grounds were needed to make just a small amount of biodiesel. So, it switched tact to solid biofuel and created Coffee Logs, which have been on the market since 2016. Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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Christmas Ho are t e en iron entall friendl A lifecycle assessment of bio bean was carried out by Eunomia, which found that the carbon footprint of Coffee Logs is 132% less than the standard disposal method. In other words, by recycling spent coffee grounds from businesses in the UK and turning them into Coffee Logs, we re saving 132% on greenhouse gas emissions versus if the grounds were to go to the standard disposal methods. Coffee Logs burn 20% hotter than kiln dried wood too thanks to the high calorific value of the natural oil content in spent coffee grounds so fewer logs are needed for the same output – only two or three are needed at one time. bio bean is a Certified B Corp, meaning it has shown high social and environmental performance , amongst other criteria. Has t e popularit of offee o s ro n It s grown exponentially year on year, says essica. We re now stocked in garden centres across the UK, independent farm shops, supermarkets and DI shops. But garden centres are where we first really got started, so we re keen to continue with them. And the more Coffee Logs we can get out there, the more impact we could have. It s a sustainable way to keep your home warm, and we re facing an interesting winter, with fuel shortages and electricity prices going up. It s important for us that Coffee Logs are available 32

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in as many places as possible for people. For us, it s not just about the coffee and the Coffee Logs it s about rethinking waste and rethinking the resources that are under our nose. at can e e pect to see ne t fro offee o s Back in anuary, Coffee Logs ditched the thin layer of wax used to coat the products. It was first used to help the logs to hold their shape,

but improvements have since been made and the machines have become more eff icient, meaning the logs no longer re uire the coating. Removing the wax has reduced bio bean s carbon footprint by an impressive 6% too. Coffee Logs is now looking to better promote its environmental credentials with newly designed packaging. The product will still contain 16 logs in a paper, recyclable bag, but the new artwork has been created to better capture customers attention.

offee o s bio bean i ited Coffee Logs are planet friendly fire logs powered by coffee. Designed for wood burners and multi fuel stoves, they really turn up the heat, burning 20% hotter than kiln dried wood logs. Made in the UK with recycled waste coffee grounds collected from coffee shops across the nation, Coffee Logs are a sustainable fire fuel that reduce waste and generate 132% less greenhouse gas emissions compared to the grounds going to the standard disposable method. Coffee Logs are the only winter fuel made by a Certified B Corporation. RRP £7.49 o o o

gardencentreretail.com

11/08/2022 14:00


Christmas

Products Christmas

DRAW IN CUSTOMERS WITH THESE STANDOUT FESTIVE ITEMS Gardener’s Christmas Collection Sass & Belle Focusing on the green at Christmas, this selection of wholesale DIY and garden tools are charming additions for your customers who cannot get enough of the outdoors. From gardening tools to greenhouses, these decorations are a wonderful way to show off individual personality in the home and on the tree. RRP From £4.00 Launch date Stock due August (pre-orders being taken now) sassandbelle.co.uk

Lumify Warm White & White USB Solar Fairy Lights – 1000 DualWhite LEDs The Solar Centre In another market first for The Solar Centre, its latest three-in-one Lumify DualWhite USB Solar Fairy Lights are now available as 1000 LED sets spanning 100m – the longest set in the UK. These are a commercial grade solar powered fairy lights without the need for mains power with a super powerful 10w panel included. Perfect for the festive season, these are a standout product for customers looking for that something extra special this Christmas. RRP £1 . Launch date Available from September 2022 thesolarcentre.co.uk

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Bertie Christmas tree stand Airflow (Nicoll Ventilators) Ltd Airflow’s new, British-made Christmas tree stand was awarded Best of British at Glee 2022. It holds trees from 4 to and comes with its own support legs, offering extreme stability. It’s made from recyclable materials, and can hold 4.5L of water. It is priced competitively, in a range of festive colours.

RRP £1 . airflow-vent.co.uk

Lumify USB Solar Tree Stake Lights (Set Of 3) 3 x 100 DualWhite LEDs The Solar Centre The Solar Centre’s limited edition Lumify DualWhite Christmas range brings the convenience of solar power to festive display pieces that were previously only available as mains powered fittings. These stunning set of three trees incorporate 100 Lumify DualWhite LEDs each making a total of 300 DualWhite LEDs. Featuring USB charging and optional powersaving mode, these stunning lights are a customer favourite. RRP £ 4. Launch date Available from September 2022 thesolarcentre.co.uk

Display Christmas pet accessories: Bandanas, bowties & stockings Plenty Gifts This distinguished display will catch the attention of pet owners all around. These accessory products have been adding value to garden centres all across Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands and are now available to be delivered to the UK. The wooden display offers sustainability and durability with a uni ue and fitting look to present the products in. RRP £6. £ . per item plentygifts.nl

Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

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Christmas

Products Gifts

WHATEVER THEIR AGE AND INTERESTS, THERE’S PLENTY TO CHOOSE FROM WHEN IT COMES TO BUYING GIFTS FOR LOVED ONES

Happy Christmas Seedball boxes Seedball A set of six ‘Happy Christmas’ seed boxes is a colourful stocking filler or Christmas party favours, with six colour options to choose from. Each box contains six seed balls with a mix of beautiful native wildflowers for one or two pots. A little card is also included to explain what the balls are and how to use them – simply scatter on top of soil/compost and nature will do the rest. RRP £3 each seedball.co.uk

Burgon & Ball indoor watering can and indoor pots Burgon & Ball A top seller, Burgon & Ball’s 0.7L indoor watering can has a beautifully precise pour. It’s now available in two of the hottest colours for interiors, heritage blue and pale jade. The new cans coordinate with the latest indoor pot design, ‘Bilbao’, a striking geometric design in a choice of sizes. (These mix’n’match items are not sold as a set) RRP Bilbao pot £9.99, £14.99; Indoor can £18 burgonandball.com

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Disney Winnie the Pooh gardening tool bag Disney Home Newly launched home and interiors brand, Disney Home, has unveiled a selection of gardening products in a variety of prints from popular Disney franchises including Winnie the Pooh. The gardening tool bags are made from sustainably sourced cotton, featuring sturdy handles and brown trims. They come with a variety of pockets and compartments. RRP £64.99 jardinopia.com

Nordic gnomes needle felting kit The Crafty Kit Company Needle felt yourself a pair of festive Nordic gnomes! This needle felting kit contains everything you need, including step by step colour instructions, 100% Corriedale felting wool, felting needles, and recycled foam pad. Made in Scotland by The Crafty Kit Company. RRP £13.60 craftykitcompany.co.uk

Indoor plant mister Burgon & Ball Burgon & Ball’s indoor plant mister has a super fi ne spray – with no irritating drips. A robust pump with metal moving parts offers superior performance, reliability and long life. Formed from rustresistant stainless steel, the mister is available in a choice of stone, charcoal or polished steel fi nishes. RRP £24.99 burgonandball.com

Garden Centre Retail August/September 2022

Woodland toadstools needle felting kit The Crafty Kit Company This needle felting kit contains everything you need to create a colourful collection of woodland wonders – including step-bystep colour instructions, 100% Corriedale wool, top-quality German felting needles and a recycled foam pad. Made in Scotland by The Crafty Kit Company. RRP £13.60 craftykitcompany.co.uk

gardencentreretail.com

11/08/2022 10:35


Makasi Imports Ltd supplies the UK’s largest range of high quality home, gift & garden products and driftwood style furniture. With a warehouse full of UK stock at highly competitive prices, available on 48-hour delivery, why not try us out for yourself? If you would like a trade login to purchase from our website please email your company details to info@makasiimports.co.uk

www.makasiimports.co.uk Advert template.indd 10

11/08/2022 16:19


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If you are looking to increase profitability from your external space, look no further than Fordingbridge.

Many nurseries and garden centres look to expansion to cater for the demands of customers purchasing trees, shrubs, ornamentals, and plants. Fordingbridge can help your business grow.

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Contact us today f or your F R E E consul tati on! Advert template.indd 11

11/08/2022 13:05