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Garden Centre Retail Issue 35 • February/March 2018

PEOPLE • PRODUCTS • PROFIT

PLANT FOCUS

Orchids LET’S HEAR IT FROM

LIME CROSS NURSERY’S VICKY TATE

HOW TO SELL: DECORATIVE AGGREGATES

GLUTEN FREE

BROADEN YOUR CATERING OPTIONS GLEE AT SPRING FAIR

GROW YOUR OWN

TRADING WITH

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Preview

Cover_FebMarch.indd 1

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Welcome

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Garden Centre Retail W

elcome to the first Garden Centre Retail of 2018. Despite political uncertainty, we’re really excited to see what 2018 brings to the garden retail and wider horticultural markets, and we’ll do our best to offer solutions to the problems that the industry is bound to face when the likely changes to import and export rules hit. There is nothing like starting the new year with a new venture, and, although we’re not involved in this particular one, we’re very excited to witness the first collaboration between Glee and Spring Fair. Both giant shows in their own right, to have a dedicated, larger garden retail sector represented at Spring Fair can only be a good thing for the buyers in our market. It’s a welcome added date to the calendar – and who knows, it may change the way purchasing is done in this industry. We’ll be there at the show, and we’re looking forward to seeing you all there. On the subject of shows, we recently attended the Harrogate Christmas and Gift Fair, which took place on 14-17 January. It’s still something I can’t get my head around (Christmas in January!), but I understand how important it is to make the correct buying decisions for the busiest period of a garden centre’s calendar. There were lots of fantastic ideas on show, and Christmas 2018 is looking good already! Enjoy this issue, and see you at Glee at Spring Fair.

CONTACT Eljays44 Ltd 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA EDITORIAL Managing Editor – Joe Wilkinson joe.wilkinson@eljays44.com Tel: 01903 777 577 Production Editor – Charlie Cook charlotte.cook@eljays44.com Tel: 01903 777 578 Subeditor – Kate Bennett kate.bennett@eljays44.com Tel: 01903 777 597 ADVERTISING Sales Manager – Tina Savelle tina.savelle@eljays44.com Tel: 01903 777 582 Horticulture Careers – Laura Harris Tel: 01903 777 580 laura.harris@eljays44.com

Joe Wilkinson joe.wilkinson@eljays44.com Managing Editor Garden Centre Retail

PRODUCTION Design – Mandy Armstrong Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Gwent, UK Published by ©Eljays44 Ltd

We’re really excited to see what 2018 brings to the garden retail market, and we’ll do our best to offer solutions to the problems that the industry is bound to face when the likely changes to import and export rules hit

MANAGEMENT Managing Director – Jim Wilkinson Director – Lisa Wilkinson Business Development Manager – Jamie Wilkinson MARKETING AND CIRCULATION Client relations – Amber Bernabe amber.bernabe@eljays44.com Tel: 01903 777 581 Subscription enquiries – Emily Maltby emily.maltby@eljays44.com Tel: 01903 777 575

Joe and the GCR team Garden Centre Retail is published bimonthly by Eljays44 Ltd. The 2018 subscription price is £95. 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, non-commissioned photographs or manuscripts.

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Whilst every effort has been made to maintain the integrity of our advertisers, we accept no responsibility for any problem, complaints, or subsequent litigation arising from readers’ responses to advertisements in the magazine. We also wish to emphasise that views expressed by editorial contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is strictly forbidden.

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2018

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23/01/2018 10:51


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Contents Garden Centre Retail Issue 35 • February/March 2018

PEOPLE • PRODUCTS • PROFIT

PLANT FOCUS

Orchids LET’S HEAR IT FROM

LIME CROSS NURSERY’S VICKY TATE

HOW TO SELL: DECORATIVE AGGREGATES

GLUTEN FREE

BROADEN YOUR CATERING OPTIONS GLEE AT SPRING FAIR

GROW YOUR OWN

TRADING WITH

p33

p38

p48

Preview

The new millennial trend

Vitavia

CONTENTS Cover_FebMarch.indd 1

23/01/2018 13:10

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018

19

NEWS

BUSINESS

PRODUCTS

06 AGENDA

16 CONTROLLING INSURANCE

30 PLANT FOCUS

What steps should a garden centre take to show corporate responsibility around the issue of plastics pollution?

08 NEWS

A roundup of the latest news from the sector

12 OUT & ABOUT

Our favourite stands from the Harrogate Christmas and Gift Fair

COSTS

The importance of record-keeping in lowering payouts

17 BODY LANGUAGE MATTERS Tips on using body language to improve sales

19 THE INTERVIEW

Vicky Tate, Lime Cross Nursery

25 CATERING FOCUS

Advice on adding gluten-free options to your catering offer

16

Up your orchid sales with a fresh take on the traditional favourite

33 GLEE AT SPRING FAIR

A new addition for the 2018 Spring Fair

37 GIMA

Trends in garden features

38 GROW YOUR OWN

Take advantage of the millennial trend for ‘grow your own’ produce

40 PAVING & AGGREGATES

The benefits of using in-house displays to promote stock

43 LATEST PRODUCTS Wood stains, paints, pots and planters

25

33

47 ANATOMY OF A PRODUCT

Wildlife World’s Dewdrop Window Feeder

48 TRADING WITH Vitavia

47 www.gardencentreretail.com

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23/01/2018 13:12


News Agenda

CONSIDERING THE USE OF PLASTIC PACKAGING IN HORTICULTURE, AND THE RECENT INCREASE IN MEDIA COVERAGE ON PLASTICS POLLUTION, WHAT STEPS SHOULD A GARDEN CENTRE TAKE TO SHOW CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THIS AREA? Sophie Shaw

Matthew Bent

Garden centres could introduce schemes along the same lines as the plastic bottle deposit idea that some supermarkets are considering, where there is a small extra deposit on bottles to encourage customers to return them to recycling points and get their money back. This could work the same way with plastic garden pots – not just for nurseries, which could use them again straight away, but also for garden centres, which could have a collection scheme in place and then return them to suppliers when more stock is delivered. Another idea, which I have already seen happening, is cutting out plastic pots altogether and using a biodegradable material, like The Hairy Pot Plant Company does. nother benefit of this is that they can be planted straight into the ground with the compostable pot, too. I’ve noticed that, even though some people try to reuse plastic plant pots for propagating their own plants, a lot of people don’t know what to do with them. They end up going in the bin and to landfill, as they can’t be recycled in normal council plastic recycling schemes.

Plastic packaging is an issue in all areas of retail, but as a garden centre I believe we should be leading the way on green initiatives, which is why we set ourselves such high recycling targets and, whenever possible, encourage our customers to do the same. We have operated a plant pot recycling scheme for many years, encouraging customers to return their pots to us by offering 50p off their plant purchase. All returned pots are sent to recycling, along with any pots and trays from our nursery that can’t be reused. The plastic bag charge has made a huge impact, and is something we have welcomed. We have researched the best and most environmentally friendly material for our plastic bags and, like our plastic car liners, they are now made of API plastic, which degrades over time. We also offer regular deals on our canvas ‘bags for life’ to encourage more customers to use these bags – not just at Bents, but also for wider shopping needs. In response to the increasing focus on reusable drink cups, we are in the process of introducing an internal system where we provide our employees with reusable drinks containers for hot and cold drinks, to help reduce the use of one-off plastic cups. We are also looking into the recyclability of the disposable cups we use in our restaurants to see if we need to make any changes, and have already replaced our plastic straws with an ecofriendly variety. As a business, Bents has been committed to its ‘Five Green Footprints’ for many years now, identifying areas where we can make a difference to the world around us and constantly reviewing our sustainability and researching new opportunities for improvement.

Self-employed, Gardener

I’ve noticed that, even though some people try to reuse plastic plant pots for propagating their own plants, a lot of people don’t know what to do with them

Sophie Shaw

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Managing director, Bents Garden & Home

Sarah Squire

Deputy Chairman, Squire’s Garden Centres While we have a range of measures designed to ensure we operate in a socially responsible manner, we believe there is still more that can and should be done. Programmes such as the BBC’s Blue Planet II have done much to highlight the harm being caused by the plastics that have found their way into the world’s oceans, and have operated as a wake-up call for us all to do more, both as individuals and as businesses. As a company, we are keen to work harder with suppliers to accelerate the reduction of plastic packaging. We think our colleagues and customers will, quite rightly, expect nothing less.

www.gardencentreretail.com

23/01/2018 10:05


Agenda News

We have tried using second-hand pots in our nursery, but this really is not practical, hygienic or cost effective. Our landscapers bring back pots by the trailer-load, but where do they go from there? Sam Bosworth

Sam Bosworth

Director, Bosworths Garden Centre

Vicky Tate

Owner, Lime Cross Nursery We need to start by ditching the plastic bags – that is key. We hardly ever give out plastic bags anymore, but I want to completely phase them out. It irritates me when customers come in and ask for a plastic bag. I’d like to just say “no, we don’t supply them”. We currently recycle all our cardboard boxes from deliveries and we should utilitise what we do with those a bit more. The other issue is the plastic pots – there needs to be a big push to recycle these. We currently reuse all our plastic pots when we are growing. You can send them back to Aeroplas if you can get enough together, but when, like us, you

www.gardencentreretail.com

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Every garden centre should have a pot recycling point, but it’s not just that, it’s the bigger issue of where they go after that Vicky Tate have such a small volume, they aren’t really interested. It’s disgusting that we don’t recycle them. Every garden centre should have a pot recycling point, but it’s not just that, it’s the bigger issue of where they go after that. That needs to be addressed.

The difference between ‘showing corporate responsibility’ and doing something that makes a difference can be vast, so I think it is important for us to work together as an industry to provide a solution. It will be very difficult for us, as independent businesses, to do something that is going to significantly change the bigger picture. Having a pallet box in the corner of the planteria for customers to deposit used pots in is not really an option anymore! We have tried using second-hand pots in our nursery, but this really is not practical, hygienic or cost effective. Our landscapers bring back pots by the trailer-load, but where do they go from there? Although nearly all pots and marketing trays have a recycling logo, the reality is that our local council, and several local waste companies, do not have the ability to recycle them, and we have been asked to put them in the general waste bin – not good for the environment or our image. Due to the vast array of pot shapes and sizes, and our large plant supplier base, it is not practical for us to send anything back to the nurseries, and in my view this is not a practical solution – it would just pass the problem down the line. In an ideal world, we would provide a hub for the return of plastic plant pots and marketing trays, which could then be palletised, collected as part of a regular round, and taken to a recycling depot that could do something with them. Organised properly, this would deal with a huge volume of difficult-to-recycle pots and trays from retailers, landscapers and growers, and give all participants a story to tell their customers. I have only talked about pots and marketing trays, but there is an entire range of plastics that we could deal with in a similar way. It’s over to our trade association to pull it together.

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23/01/2018 10:06


News

NEWS CENTRE New roads mean workers face job losses at Willesborough Wyevale garden centre

A

garden centre is being demolished to ma e way for the M20’s new junction 10a, potentially resulting in 12 people losing their obs.

The illesborough yevale site, just off the A20 and opposite the Pilgrims ospice in shford, will shut on Sunday. Firm bosses say they have been unable to find a suitable new home for their business, meaning staff at the centre could be out of a ob. “ e have evaluated alternative locations for our business but have found nothing suitable,” said spo esperson Sarah Mac ory. “There are 12 people currently

employed by yevale at the Ashford garden centre, and we have entered into a consultation period with the impacted colleagues and hope to find suitable alternative employment in nearby centres for as many as possible. “It is not possible to say how many will be redeployed to other centres until the process is finished, but we are doing our utmost to retain as many colleagues within the business as possible.”

Record-breaking growth for Farplants’ Christmas offering

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arplants introduced 11 new ranges this year, including, for the first time, pot-grown Christmas trees. The est Sussex plants wholesaler’s Christmas selection combined ’s must-have trends

8

with traditional favourites to provide an extensive collection for enticing festive shoppers. rett very, Farplants Sales td managing director, is delighted with the response to the company’s new Christmas offering so far. “Our new and extended collection has resulted in unprecedented sales growth for Christmas. hile traditional favourites continue

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2018

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to be essential, contemporary designs with the latest colours and textures have proved very popular. ew for , the Nordic woodland range combines the popular Scandi style with stunning winter plants for a sophisticated festive display. “Christmas is an incredibly important retail opportunity for garden retailers, and we’re delighted to be able to bring

yevale bosses say their amstreet centre, ust outside the village on Marsh oad, will remain open. Construction of the multimillion-pound junction started in January, and the new junction is expected to open in the summer of . Transport secretary Chris rayling gave the pro ect which will be built yards east of the current unction the green light last month. www.kentonline.co.uk them the best uality and new designs.” Farplants’ extended festive range was showcased at this year’s Four a s and lee trade shows, where garden retailers could see the new formats and planting mixes first hand. The collections are designed in-house by the Farplants added value team, which continually reviews the latest trends to create appealing new seasonal ranges for garden retailers. www.farplants.co.uk

www.gardencentreretail.com

23/01/2018 10:29


News

Bonningtons announces new website launch

Notcutts celebrates successful 120th year

F

amily-owned garden centre business Notcutts is celebrating after a successful 120th anniversary year. Throughout 2017, Notcutts marked its 120 years in business and recognised the family that helped to make it the success it is today. In February, a blue plaque was unveiled to mark the achievements of horticultural pioneer Roger Crompton Notcutt, who founded Notcutts Garden Centres in 1897. The plaque can be seen at the front of The Old House, Roger’s Georgian home of almost years, which is now otcutts’s offices. This year also saw the launch of the Maud Notcutt collection of interior and garden accessories. Maud, who was the wife of Roger, made a valuable contribution in growing the business, and a striking white lilac that was created in her honour in 1954 is incorporated at the centre of the design for the new collection.

Commenting on the successful year, Caroline Notcutt – great-granddaughter of Roger Crompton Notcutt and Notcutts’s vice chair – said: “Celebrating 120 years has been a special year for us and it has been fantastic to share the success of the business with colleagues and customers in our 18 centres up and down the country. I am pleased to see that both my grandfather and father’s vision and passion remains at the heart of the business, and I hope this will continue for the next 120 years.” Notcutts is currently investing in its future by implementing a five-year plan to update and reposition its garden centres and restaurants within their respective markets. www.notcutts.co.uk

Long Ditton is Squire’s Garden Centre of the Year

S

quire’s Garden Centres has announced the winners of its annual garden centre awards. With 15 centres across the South East, competition was tough, but Squire’s in Long Ditton came out top and won the double – best Garden Centre and best Café Bar of the year. It also won top awards for its Christmas department and pets & aquatics department. The awards were voted for by the senior management team at Squire’s, and are based on results, as well as customer feedback. Anne Deadman, manager at Squire’s in Long Ditton, received the trophies from chairman Colin Squire and deputy chairman Sarah Squire.

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Other notable winners included Theresa Scattergood at Squire’s in Washington, and Emma Large at Squire’s in Badshot Lea, who both won Customer Service Awards for their work in the Garden Centre and Café Bar respectively. “These awards recognise the great effort and achievement made by our garden centres, and by individual employees, throughout the year,” said deputy chairman Sarah Squire. “A big well done and thank you to everyone for their hard work, which is much appreciated.” www.squiresgardencentres.co.uk

B

onningtons Plastics Ltd, the Nottingham-based importer and distributor of home, gardening and leisure goods, has launched a new e-commerce website. Developed to make ordering online easier and more reliable than ever before, the website provides the most accurate stock information to date – particularly essential for the company’s wholesale, retail and e-commerce customers. Since implementing the hourly warehouse-to-website stock feed, the company has reported a significant improvement in order fulfilment rates and customer satisfaction. “We are very pleased with the new website, and customer feedback so far has been very positive,” said managing director Ian Fisher. “The website represents the final phase of the onningtons rebrand, and the first step in the next growth stage of the company.” www.bonningtons.com

Timber Merchandising Solutions for Plants & Seasonal Displays

Call 0333 003 5133 for brochure www.mmtimber.co.uk M&M Timber is a division of Forest Garden Limited. mm-staging-186x55.indd 1

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16/01/2018 09:59

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2018

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23/01/2018 10:29


News

Shoulder To Soldier makes plans at the Bents community allotment

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ents Garden & Home has teamed up with Shoulder to Soldier, donating a plot at its community allotment site to the Leighbased charity. Shoulder to Soldier provides support, practical advice, financial relief and social welfare for those who are serving or who have served in our armed forces, as well as their families. It was a veteran who suggested the use of an allotment to help improve mood and motivation; within 24 hours of making the request, a plot was donated by Bents. A veteran-led project, the allotment has already been visited by a team of 10, plus one current serving member. Everyone who wants to will have a role in the project and the ex-forces engineers are using their skills to design the layout, which will take into account disabled veterans. “The allotment is already proving very beneficial and will help improve health and wellbeing, teambuilding and getting our guys out and about to meet and socialise with new people,” said Shoulder to Soldier founder Linda Fisher. “Thank you to Bents for providing this fantastic facility, and thank you to the local businesses that have already supported the project by donating or reducing the price of items.” Matthew Dickinson, head of outdoor retail at Bents Garden & Home and responsible for the Bents’ Community Allotments, commented: “We were delighted when Linda approached us about a plot for Shoulder to Soldier. It is exactly the kind of initiative that we hoped would take advantage of this opportunity. We’re looking forward to seeing the plot take shape.” www.bents.co.uk

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Garden Centre Retail February/March 2018

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Tong Garden Centre launches staff reward and recognition scheme

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he management team at Tong Garden Centre has launched a new reward scheme that recognises employees who go the extra mile. Monthly prizes include a pin badge and high street gift vouchers. In addition, two cups – the customer service and directors’ cups – are awarded for one-off contributions to customer service and the business respectively. The initiative started in September and is open to all members of the team, irrespective of job function or seniority. Training manager Carrie Mackertich said that the scheme is designed to reward employees who best reflect Tong’s core values of honesty, respect, positivity and professionalism. “Our team is at the heart of the business, and it makes us proud when they show their commitment to striving for excellence, trusting in other members of the team, taking responsibility and being accountable for their actions.” Tong marketing manager Jo Dales said she was pleased

that the scheme gives credit to all those who exceed expectations. “This month, marketing assistant Peter Casci has been nominated for both a green and a silver award, and it’s great to see him being rewarded for his tireless work around the centre.” Other winners in November were Samantha Grainger and Ian Hoyle from the restaurant, Carol Manby, who works on the checkout, administrator Elaine Snowden, and Kevin Waterhouse from the warehouse. In October, the quarterly cups were awarded to Monika Litwiejko and Dion Magyar. The Tong team recently triumphed in the White Rose Awards, being awarded the Highly Commended title in the Outstanding Customer Service category. www.tonggardencentre.co.uk

www.gardencentreretail.com

23/01/2018 10:30


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22/01/2018 16:23


News Out & About

Out &about

This month, we visited the Harrogate Christmas and Gift Fair to get ahead of the buying trends for Christmas 2018. Here, we pick out our favourite stands from the show

Festive

Heaven Sends

Prop Me Up

12

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2018

OutAndAbout.indd 12

Culinary Concepts

Premier Decorations

Widdop and Co.

Kaemingk

Premier Decorations

www.gardencentreretail.com

23/01/2018 13:22


Out & About News

Pollyfields

Heaven Sends

emingk

Heyland & Whittle

Hansa

www.gardencentreretail.com

OutAndAbout.indd 13

Lows of Dundee

Kaemingk

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2018

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PC_EH_210x265_10_1_18:Layout 1 10/01/2018 16:19 Page 1

The Heritage Collection Inspired by History

A Pot Company range. Available to order now!

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22/01/2018 16:24


FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018

BUSINESS 16

INSURANCE Controlling costs

17

BODY LANGUAGE Use it to your advantage

19

INTERVIEW Lime Cross Nursery

25

CATERING FOCUS Gluten-free

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Business Insurance

INSURANCE CONTROLLING

COSTS

Business insurance premiums are rising faster than ever. A garden centre with a deli or garden produce outlet, plus a coffee shop or restaurant, has twice the health and safety (H&S) and food hygiene concerns. Stan Ratcliffe, system consultant at Health and Safety Assurance Services, explains why simple record-keeping can bring costs down Defence relies upon evidence, and the strongest evidence is based on records. Without records, you have little evidence – and not much defence

W

hen it comes to health and safety compensation claims, Ray Johnson, founder of commercial specialists ISS and creator of Insure Green Folkestone, local council member of the Chartered Insurance Institute and board member of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, has this to say: “Compensation claims following damages through breaches of H&S legislation are at their highest rates ever. Increasing premiums simply will not be sufficient we have to find ways of obtaining the evidence to build a strong defence against culpability.” Through monitoring criminal and civil breaches of H&S, we can see a catalogue of clear failures: businesses are failing to meet legal obligations to revise and update risk assessments and staff training, they aren’t acting

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Insurance.indd 16

to prevent hazards, and they aren’t keeping the records that can be used as evidence in defence. Reviews and revision cannot be carried out unless there is a feedback system to provide records of what has been done for comparison to assessments and training. In health and safety compensation cases, the onus is on the defence to prove their innocence. Records about the way the business notes down hazards and takes preventative action will help spread the culpability. With ‘no win no fee’ lawyers, the alleged victim has much on their side. What have you and your insurer got to fight back with? Defence relies upon evidence, and the strongest evidence is based on records. Without records, you have little evidence – and not much of a defence.

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2018

A company that kept meticulous training and supervisory records was able to show evidence that the death of an employee was due to his deliberately avoiding the safety rules, contributing to the incident. This reduced the compensation by 90%. It takes little effort, time or money to create a suitable recording system and make the entries – perhaps spend just half an hour a week noting the hazards observed and how you prevented them from escalating. This is better than a ‘near miss’ system, because you stop the hazard before anything ‘almost’ happens. Jacqui Brown, managing director of Health and Safety Assurance Services, and Ray Johnson feel that feedback systems with regular reports should become a standard monitoring feature of business insurance. “H&S audits tend to concentrate on the

plans and results of regular inspections, whereas feedback and comparison of intentions with actuality is a gap,” says Jacqui. “We need to go down a similar road to car insurance, where black box telemetry provides insurers with 24/7 monitoring to show how the driver normally copes.” It’s time garden centres took the initiative and installed feedback systems to fend off steep rises in premiums. If we don’t, we only have ourselves to blame for the escalating insurance costs that come when insurers consider your centre high risk. CONTACT

Health and Safety Assurance Services is the creator of award-winning software RISKTRACKER. 01992 467 455 www.hsas.org.uk

www.gardencentreretail.com

23/01/2018 10:19


Body Language HR

BODY LANGUAGE

MATTERS L

ike the great actors of stage and screen who use body language to help bring their characters to life, garden centre staff can use body language to make customers feel like respected guests and co-workers like valued team members. Indeed, scientists have found that it takes just milliseconds for someone to judge another person via their body language – so how can you portray your best self at the outset?

leaning away from a person are interpreted by others as signs of an untrustworthy individual. The quickest way to earn customers’ trust is to maintain open body language – don’t hiding your face or put up any arm barriers. Instead, by nodding and smiling when listening to customer queries, you are demonstrating an eagerness to help, and inviting customers to approach and trust you.

Body positioning

Generally, staff are advised to make eye contact with customers as soon as possible, and this is supported by research showing that eye contact is the most important part of non-verbal communication. However, maintaining eye contact for too long can become awkward; looking at a person directly for around three seconds while chatting before directing attention to something else, such as the display plants, can overcome such awkwardness.

Psychologist Amy Cuddy believes that people are primarily judged on the warmth and competence they emit. Her research also indicates that warmth is the trump card. People will gravitate towards the salesperson exuding warmth, rather than the colleague manifesting disinterest – even though the disinterested staff member may, in fact, have greater knowledge and competence regarding plants. Cuddy recommends adopting an upright posture with your hands at your sides, and leaning slightly forward to indicate interest in others. You are literally offering yourself as assistance for customer enquiries.

Gaining trust

David DeSteno, a researcher and psychologist at Northeastern University in America, found that face touching, crossed arms, and

www.gardencentreretail.com

BodyLanguage.indd 17

It’s in the eyes

greeting causes the muscles involved in smiling to send signals to the brain, releasing feel good endorphins. If the customer mirrors you by smiling back, you know you have made the desired impact. You feel good, and so do they! If they don’t mirror you, it may be worth putting some extra effort in by asking questions about what they are looking for, or whether they need any help. Rather than interpreting a lack of a smile as a reason to avoid a customer, use it as a signal to try and add a smile to that customer’s day.

Keep your distance

Maintaining a professional distance of around four to eight feet as you show them around puts customers at ease. Standing too close and touching invades personal space. With trusted co-workers, the distance shrinks to between one and a half to three feet.

Psychologist Dr Nicola Davies provides pointers on how garden centre staff can use body language to make those sales Closing the sale

Effective salespeople can develop trust and confidence by watching a customer’s body language and responding appropriately. When a customer asks which plant they should take, reach for the one their eyes have been returning to, or take them to the section that their body is pointing to: their decision has already been made, and only affirmation is needed. Ultimately, sales success involves a bidirectional process, with the customer responding to your body language and you correctly reading their body language in order to deliver a superior service.

Smile like you mean it

UK researchers have found that people naturally tend to use facial trait mapping – using the physical features of the face to decode emotions. This means that staff with open, friendly faces are more likely to engender positive feedback from customers. Approaching customers with a smile and making the effort to offer a friendly

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Digging

Cultivation

Transformation

Available from crocus.co.uk, waitrosegarden.com and leading retailers. A Tel: 01279 401570 • info@pedigreegarden.co.uk • www.pedigreegarden.co.uk Available from

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22/01/2018 27/01/201716:25 14:57


Vicky Tate The Interview

VICKY TATE Lime Cross Nursery

GCR met up with Vicky Tate, owner of Lime Cross Nursery, at her garden centre in the leafy Sussex countryside, to talk conifers, café offerings and being thrown into garden centre management under less-than-ideal circumstances How did you get into this industry? I went travelling in Australia and New Zealand in 2005, and spent time working at the Auckland Botanical Gardens. I came back in early 2006 and decided to join the family business – I love horticulture and it felt natural. I did potting and picking out the orders, and basically just learned from there. Picking out orders is the quickest way to learn plant names. We used to have an old glasshouse here and, as kids, my sister Helen and I were always playing in there, potting up spider plants and money plants. I’ve always been interested in plants, so when there was grafting to do, Dad would always ask for my help, getting the understocks and tying the grafts. I’ve always been involved with plants in some form or another – not always willingly, though! How long has the business been in your family? Since 1946, when our grandparents came down from London after the war. Effectively, it was just a smallholding to start with; they grew things li e wallflowers and bedding plants, and

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only supplied locally. In the late Seventies, my father started growing conifers, and thereafter started growing a bigger range. He started as a wholesale grower, but we always had a retail side to the business. It was very small, just the glasshouse with retail space, but Dad’s main side was the wholesale side of things. In the Nineties he bought another nursery with Fred Godfrey and they started Sussex Plants. They incorporated conifers, climbers and shrubs into one business. What happened to Lime Cross when your father was running Sussex Plants? He was still running it at the same time. His focus was wholesale; he had another guy managing the retail side of the business for him. In the early Noughties, the popularity of conifers took a massive dive and Dad became disheartened with the industry. We lost a few big clients and decided that we were going to fade ourselves out of the wholesale market and just grow for retail. He eventually sold Sussex Plants to Fred in 2006. Around the time you joined  Lime Cross?

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The Interview Vicky Tate

Yes, it was a similar time. We spent some time just trying to improve the retail side of the business – tidying the site up and making it a bit more customer friendly. Then, in 2008, we started planning to put our current building up. We went for planning permission and started to decide what we wanted and what we could afford. The shop opened in 2011, but Dad was having chemotherapy and had been quite unwell, which was quite a strain on the whole build. I was thrown in at the deep end – I had to coordinate a whole load of builders and manage the business from that point onwards. I learned so much through the process, though, and it made me more resilient. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry? I thin it’s the infiltration of gifts into the market. When

The history of Lime Cross Nursery

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the shop opened, it started off very much garden-focused, and then, like every garden centre, we ended up getting more and more gift products in to sell. We started selling cards, then the odd knickknack, and eventually it progressed. We have had to do that, although we do try to keep our gift offering small. We’ve also had to become more of a destination: we have a beautiful location and we’ve tried to use that to our advantage, with a display garden. Our biggest draw, especially at this time of year, is the café. It’s essential to get it right. That part of our business has been a bit of a struggle, and the thing we underestimated when we opened the shop back in 2011 – I suspect a lot of garden centres have experienced the same thing. You need to keep the standards really high, from the food to the service,

Current owners Vicky and Helen’s grandparents, Allan and Olive Tate, move to Herstmonceux from London and set up Lime Cross Nursery – a smallholding growing bedding plants

How has the business changed in recent years? Dad died at the beginning of 2014, and Helen and I have been running the business together since then. Helen and I have different skill sets so it really works – I’m the greenfingered one, and elen does the marketing, website and events. We make decisions together but focus on different areas and bring different ideas and qualities to the business. We’ve added a lot of different elements. We do a Lido by the Lake day in the summer. It’s a beautiful spot; we’ve put down decking, so we host yoga classes, retreat days and all kinds of al fresco activities under the name ‘Wellbeing in the Wild’. We charge for this, but we also benefit from the regular groups that use our facilities, who come into the café and spend money there, too. We also feel that these activities

Jonathan, owner of the business at this time, creates Sussex Plants alongside Fred Godfrey. Sussex Plants grew conifers, climbers and shrubs

1946

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and it’s a delicate balance getting our staffing levels and purchasing levels right. We started off with just cakes and sandwiches and since then we’ve increased our menu to offer breakfast and lunches as well. Pretty much everything we sell is homemade, and we serve good coffee – we pride ourselves on that. It’s starting to pay off, and we have a great local following now. We’ve grown it from a small coffee shop to something contributes a third of our overall turnover, and it has quite a reputation. In 2013, Dad was still having chemo; he was unwell from 2011-2014. Helen, my sister, came into the business in 2013, having worked in the wine industry. She came in at a time when I was really worn out from dealing with both Dad’s health and the business, and she brought a unique perspective to the company.

1990s 1970s

2006

Vicky and Helen’s father Jonathan Tate joins the business, taking an interest in growing conifers

Jonathan sells his stake of Sussex Plants, following the declining popularity of conifers, wanting to focus on the retail side of Lime Cross Nursery. Vicky joins the business following a stint travelling around Australia

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Vicky Tate The Interview

raise our profile and open our doors to people who may not now about us. e get a fair amount of local press interest too, which helps. e’re hoping to grow this area elen will be wor ing on that and I’ll be concentrating on the growing side of the business. e’ve also got Dee, who is ta ing on the role of shop manager, so we can step bac from that area a little bit. e still grow a range of ornamental trees and shrubs, but generally our focus is conifers, which we’re currently grafting. e also put an PoS system into the business last year we’re trying to get ourselves organised and we’ve now got a year of PoS data to help us with that. e can see which varieties sell well, although it’s not always as blac and white as that it could be the case that everything is pushed aside by a current trend. The trend

we’re seeing now is longneedle pines.

When the shop opened, it started off very much garden-focused, and then, like every garden centre, we ended up getting more and more gift products in to sell

How many people do you employ? e have around people on the payroll, possibly a few more in the pea season. t one point we were at people on the payroll and we had to scale that bac a little bit. What is the plan for the business this year? e want to grow our turnover, increase our profitability, build on our following and attract new customers. I feel that the garden centre part of the business will grow with our other areas. ith our core business, we want stability. e would love to grow the home-grown plants part of the business uite significantly, and we would li e to grow ellbeing in the ild as well. There isn’t a huge amount of 

Planning permission is sought to build the current garden centre building on the 24-acre Lime Cross Nursery site

Vicky’s sister Helen joins the business, using her history marketing in the wine industry to help the business

An EPoS system is installed, helping Vicky and Helen track the progress of the business

2008

2013

2016

2011

2014

The garden centre in its current guise is opened to the public, and a café is introduced, serving homemade cakes and sandwiches. This has since been expanded

Vicky and Helen’s father Jonathan passes away following a battle against illness

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The Interview Vicky Tate overheads involved in those areas, as we’ve already got the infrastructure because of our past as a wholesale nursery. Helen is also aiming to grow our web sales. How do you target millennials? With workshops and Wellbeing in the Wild. With our houseplants – we’ve seen definite growth in lifestyle and houseplant sales. When we get young people in here they go straight to the cacti or the succulents. We’ve held events targeting this audience, such as terrarium workshops, Lido by the Lake and retreat days. That’s where the wellbeing side of things ties in, too. The majority of the younger generation lacks much outside space, so they want to buy a houseplant that is easy to look after and won’t die if it isn’t watered for three months! Helen got the nursery accredited to the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and a major priority for her in 2018 is to run some courses – she’ll be teaching the courses and offering wine tastings and tours around local vineyards. Are you involved with the HTA and GCA? We’re a member of the HTA and the Retail Business Improvement Scheme (RBIS) group. We’re not as active as I’d like to be – since Dad died, neither Helen nor I have had time, and we should dedicate some to get out and see what everybody else is doing. You do need to step away to get perspective sometimes, and that’s why I try to make sure I go to the RBIS meetings. They are also so useful, just because you can talk to other garden centre owners and gain ideas, and you find out that you all have the same problems. People are very free with their knowledge and they want to better the industry. We all need to work together to see where things are going: the traditional garden centre is dying out, and the industry

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must change. We need younger people in the industry to take it forward. The way people garden has changed – it’s not as traditional any more, and we need to move with the trends and help people to get back in touch with nature. Our role is informing our customers as well as selling to them. I see people who don’t know that you need to take a plant out of a pot to put it in the ground – if no one has ever told them, how are they meant to know? It’s so easy to be condescending about that sort of thing. I’m so lucky in that I’ve grown up here and have always been around the nursery. Dad had a real empathy for nature and what he was growing, and I feel really privileged to have picked that up, but not everyone has had that. Where do you see the usiness in five years e’ve tal ed about a five-year plan here. I want to be more involved with the plants, and we would like to host more horticultural workshops and increase our educational offerings, and teach the younger generation about gardening. We would like to move more into having an online presence with our plants and grow online sales, and take Wellbeing in the Wild and the wine side of the business

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to the next level. We’d also like to become more sustainable – we already use our own reservoir to irrigate our plants, but we want to start a kitchen garden and grow more for the café. We want to do more work with charities, too – we’ve love to incorporate garden therapy and offer it to people in the local community. We are a traditional garden centre – we are utilising our unique site and expertise to diversify into our own model.

We would like to offer a strong range of garden products that are reasonably priced and accessible, and we would love the new generation of customers to come in and get the help they need to take their green space, whatever size it is, forward. To me, if we are able to do that, it’s a success. w

CONTACT

www.limecross.co.uk info@limecross.co.uk

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23/01/2018 13:21


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Gluten Free Catering

GOING

Gluten Free eading’s first ex lusi ely gluten free af ibsy’s has been gluten free fro the get go. ounder Naomi Stoker is intolerant to gluten and wanted to reate a safe ha en for those who like her are intolerant or allergi to gluten or who ha e oelia disease. ao i shares her top tips for in orporating gluten free offerings and talks about the i portan e of being in lusi e. ould this work in a  garden entre offee shop www.gardencentreretail.com

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Catering Gluten Free

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ibsy’s has always been exclusively gluten free, and while Naomi admits that this is a risk in terms of potentially alienating the rest of the population, the benefit of doing so is that those who do follow a gluten-free diet are comfortable and know that there is zero risk of contamination. “Being exclusively gluten free was a big risk for us, but it means that we have no gluten on-site, so there’s no contamination and it means our cooking processes are much easier – we can experiment with things and there can be flour everywhere and it’s not going to contaminate anything,” says Naomi. “It can be difficult for a lot of businesses to make fresh, glutenfree food on-site. Often coffee shops or garden centres offer gluten-free products, but it’s normally something that is packaged and has been brought in because they don’t want to open up that risk. I didn’t want to alienate the rest of the population by being exclusively gluten free, but that is what I stand for, so I decided to go ahead.” Coffee and food are of equal importance to Naomi from a business perspective, but good quality coffee is the hook that drives custom to a garden centre’s coffee shop; everything else follows. Naomi says that, while she had an idea of how she wanted her café to be, she was unsure of how it would turn out in terms of profit but she is already exceeding expectations. “I was careful with the marketing in that I didn’t want to push the glutenfree element too much, and I wanted to combine it with high quality coffee. Because of that I haven’t put anyone off coming in. People who aren’t coeliac or gluten intolerant might come in for a coffee and have something to go with it, and they enjoy it so they come back.” As well as being gluten free, Nibsy’s caters to a number of dietary requirements, including vegan and nondairy; it offers almond, soya and lactosefree milks. “I didn’t realise how many people would want dairy-free and vegan foods, and so since opening we’ve grown our range,” says Naomi. “Where possible, if we can make something taste great without the need for dairy or eggs, then we will. We do vegan doughnuts now, which sell out before we get chance to restock them. It gets to the point where we’ll make 48 doughnuts and at the weekend they can go within two hours – people come in and buy 10.” w

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NAOMI’S TOP THREE TIPS FOR GLUTEN FREE OFFERINGS

• To make customers feel safe, you could become accredited by the Coeliac Society. • If you don’t want to become accredited, source a local supplier who can provide a packaged gluten-free product that can’t be contaminated. It’s important not to eopardise the flavour. ot all recipes will wor without gluten and that’s fine

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Gluten Free Catering

THE FACTS When dining out at a coffee shop, people with coeliac disease need safe gluten-free options that they can trust, says Kathryn Miller, head of food policy at Coeliac UK. Coeliac UK offers gluten-free accreditation to organisations that want to highlight they can safely cater for gluten-free diets. By adhering to its standards, you can promote your glutenfree offerings with the trusted GF symbol for use on menus, websites, brochures and other marketing materials. Why get accredited? The Coeliac UK GF symbol is recognised and trusted by those requiring a gluten-free diet. There is a law surrounding the term ‘gluten free’ and by keeping to Coeliac UK’s standards, you will make sure you’re compliant and able to cater for people following a gluten-free diet. What’s involved in accreditation? Coeliac UK will meet with you to discuss current processes in your kitchen when preparing and serving gluten-free food. These include looking at staff training, communication with other staff and the gluten-free customer, supply chain controls, storage, preparation and cooking, and hygiene. Recommendations based on expert advice are put forward to you and, once in place, an audit is scheduled to ensure standards are being met. Facts about coeliac disease • Coeliac disease affects at least 1 in 100 people in the UK and in Europe, but only about 24% of people with the condition are currently clinically diagnosed. • Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Some people with coeliac disease are also sensitive to oats. • The obvious sources of gluten include any foods that are made with traditional flour, such as breads, pasta, cereals, cakes and biscuits. luten is also found in many other foods, such as fish fingers, sausages, gravies, sauces, stoc cubes, soy sauce and even in some chocolate. • Gluten-free food can be contaminated by food that contains gluten during preparation. Sources of contamination include breadcrumbs in toasters and on bread boards, utensils used for spreading and spooning jam, butter, chutney etc. onto bread, and from cooking oil and water.

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Plant Focus Orchids

Orchids

MOTHER NATURE’S MASTERPIECE he per eption a ong the general publi is that or hids are diffi ult plants to care for. But are they really that tricky, and how can garden centres increase their orchid sales? GCR speaks with Sarah Gainsborough, brand manager of The Little Botanical, a division of ills lants to find out why it’s helpful for garden entres to brush up on their or hid knowledge what the benefits are of offering so ething different in the category, and how the company is making high quality orchids available to the garden centre market

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Orchids Plant Focus

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hichester-based orchid growers Hills Plants has been growing orchids since the turn of the millennium, following the burst of popularity of the delicate plant in the late Nineties. Many of its clients, some independent garden centres as well as the supermarkets, had been asking if Hills would consider growing orchids to fill a spot on their shelves. “The orchids start in Taiwan in a laboratory, and are grown into a young plant over 18 months,” explains Sarah. “They are then brought over to the UK at plug plant stage and grown on for a further 3-4 months. We currently bring 16,000 orchids over from Taiwan per week and see them through the flowering stage until they are in perfect condition for our customers.” The stage of the growth cycle at which The Little Botanical sends out the order depends on the customer. Some customers want the orchids to get to them with just two open flowers and the rest buds, while others want them to be quite open, with six open flowers and another six buds. British blooms The Little Botanical prides itself on the fact that the orchids it supplies are Britishgrown. “There is a real difference between UK-grown and Dutch-grown orchids,” says Sarah. “Most orchids found in garden centres are Dutch and they are grown a lot more quickly. We choose to grow our orchids in our nurseries for five months longer than the average European plant, to grow them nice and slowly and give them the best start that we can. All our research shows that this does result in a stronger and longer-lasting flower.” British-grown orchids also differe in that they are grown in moss instead of bark, allowing the plants to soak up moisture and nutrients, which are retained better in moss. This leads to a better shelf life

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and a longer flowering period, comfortably allowing orchids to please for a period of up to two months, as long as the plant’s positioning is correct. “We always say to our customers that orchids are best if you forget about them,” Sarah explains. “Orchids aren’t difficult to loo after, but people have this real worry about them being delicate. ay, their flowers are incredibly delicate, and they don’t want to be pulled around, but they really don’t need much at all once they are in your home, and that’s the message we try to get across to our customers. You need to find the right spot they don’t like being in a draught and they don’t like to be in direct sunlight all day. If you find a good spot where orchids are happy, they will last and last. “The biggest problem people have with orchids is overwatering. When we have customers saying their flowers have dropped off, we are fairly confident that in most instances this is due to being given too much water, or being left to sit in water. The people who have the most success with orchids literally forget they exist – especially when they are flowering. ust give them a small drop infrequently and they should be fine.”

into their bodies, they want to surround themselves with flora. igh student loans, declining rates of home ownership and the high costs of having children has made houseplants exceptionally popular with young people, who find a sense of ownership and responsibility in them. Let’s not forget the craze for Instagrammable imagery, which orchids can definitely tap into. More than 14m Instagram posts contained the hashtag #plants in 2017. Indoor greenery is becoming a home staple for more reasons than just décor, and millennials find satisfaction not just in the aesthetics of houseplants but also in the mental and physical health benefits that they bring to those that nurture them. The real beauty of orchids isn’t just in the delicate and flamboyant flowers that they produce, it is also in the fact that they can be brought on for a second flowering period. A little cut-back once the flowers have died off will allow the plant to focus its growing energy on creating a second burst of colour.

Millennials matter Orchids have been growing in popularity in the UK for some time, and reports show that their popularity is bound to increase due to their popularity among the millennial generation. It’s no secret that young people in this day and age have less time to tend to a garden than previous generations – if they even have a garden in the first place. What may be surprising, though, is that this generation places more importance than previous generations on becoming close to nature, and partaking in a healthier lifestyle. Not only do they care more about where food comes from and what they put

Adding value Currently, Hills Plants grows around 200 different varieties of orchids, of which 10% are currently on trial and therefore not yet available to the public. This tends to change year on year, depending on what the  lab in Taiwan is doing and

The people who have the most success with orchids literally forget they exist – especially when they are flowering. Just give them a small drop infrequently and they should be fine

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om

Plant Focus Orchids what it’s been able to breed and produce over the course of the previous 18 months. Offering her opinion on what variety of orchids sell well in the UK, Sarah explains that it’s a very personal thing and is consequently difficult to predict. “ e’ve done so many focus groups over the years,” she tells us. “ very focus group comes out differently. e’ve never done a study into actual retail behaviour on colour preference. One of our customers did a piece on cut roses and what was the most popular colour, and it changed from month to month – it follows trends and what people are doing with their houses.” It’s also important to bear in mind, when selecting orchids for sale, that around 70% of potted plants are bought as gifts – so it may be best to keep the majority of stock in neutral colours. ith this in mind, The ittle Botanical is doing more than just supplying garden centres with orchids – it is adding value by supplying great quality orchids, grown correctly in beautifully designed, on-trend ceramics. “ e decided to create something that wasn’t already in the mar et,” says Sarah. “ e developed a product with the consumer in mind, looking at the current seasons’ fashionable colours and materials. e used all the design knowledge we have built up from dealing with large multiple retailers and then put it together in a consistent, on-trend lifestyle offer. “Previously, people pic ed up a plant and then struggled to find a pot that both fit the plant and was in the style they wanted for their home. Now, a garden centre can put a range together and the customers feel like it’s been made specifically for them. e hope we have come up with a stylish finished product. alue adding is where the market is going.” hatever happens in , Orchids are on the rise and, with a little bit of knowledge-sharing from your staff, this could become a big area for growth this year.

CONTACT

www.thelittlebotanical.com

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23/01/2018 10:32


Show Preview Glee at Spring Fair

g n i o g s What o’n at

4-8 FEBRUARY NEC BIRMINGHAM In , Spring Fair will have a lee concession for the first time, featuring a host of garden-related exhibitors. Backed by the industry’s associations GIMA, the HTA and Gardenex, the partnership has been well received by the rest of the market. Taking place on 4-8 February at the NEC, Glee at Spring Fair will give retailers of homeware, giftware and gardening products the opportunity to see new and current best-selling ranges ahead of the busy spring season. Glee’s concession will be in Hall 3, and will host more than 20 leading suppliers in the garden centre industry. There will also be a Glee café, which will act as a hub for the trade associations – offering a wealth of nowledge and benefits. “Glee at Spring Fair will mark an additional opportunity within the buying year,” says Matthew Mein, Glee show director. “The hope is that buyers who visit Glee at Spring Fair will also earmark the September show as a must-attend event, to see what the exhibition has to offer on a much grander scale. “The response to Glee at Spring Fair has been incredibly positive. Garden centre retailers have been telling the Glee team that, with shorter ordering patterns, the introduction of Glee in February will be a welcome addition to the buying cycle.” GIMA’s plans for Glee at Spring Fair will include bringing its Buyer Connect event to the show, helping suppliers to maximise their exposure to key garden retail buyers through special speednetworking sessions. Additionally, the GIMA team will be on hand to meet with new and potential members and tal them through the many benefits that come from being a part of the association – such as the GIMA Digest, access to market research and data, the Barometer of Trade, Knowledge Exchange Workshops, Day Conferences and access to a wide range of savings. 

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Glee at Spring Fair Show Preview Bergs Potter

Jardinopia has been trading since September 2017, and will be exhibiting its brand new range of Plant Pot Feet under the trading name ‘Potty Feet’. “We have 27 different plant pot feet figures to show, including a Hedgehog, Labrador, Robin, Owl, Hunting Scene and Hare,” says Andrea Barnett, owner of the newly launched company. “We are using Glee at Spring Fair to launch the brand. All our products are new to market and have been bespokedesigned and produced by Jardinopia Ltd. “We decided to exhibit because the timing is good in terms of our need to both find a suitable launch pad for our product, and to hit the spring and summer buyers. We felt that Glee at Spring Fair was the ideal exhibition because it captures both the gift and garden centre buyer.

Jardinopia

“We are hoping for positive feedback on our products, and, of course, some substantial orders from both the gift and garden centre sectors. The exposure is important for us in terms of launching ‘Potty Feet’.” Harrod Horticulture will be exhibiting its entire range of RHS-endorsed, UKdesigned and manufactured wire supports, stakes, trellis, obelisks, arches, planters and log holders. “These are pitched as the ‘good, better, best offering’ that brings clear points of quality differentiation,” says Jonathan Couch, marketing manager at Harrod. “They ideally suit product strategies that are in any part focusing on inspiring and meeting the expectations of the AB demographic – an opportunity for buyers to either introduce

The response to Glee at Spring Fair has been incredibly positive. Garden centre retailers have been telling the Glee team that, with shorter ordering patterns, the introduction of Glee in February will be a welcome addition to the buying cycle

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Neat Ideas

breadth to existing categories or merchandise stood alone. “While Harrod Horticultural is established as one of the leading mail order retailers in the UK garden sector across many ranges, we are a new supplier to UK garden centres with this focused part of our offering. This show is an important follow-up to Glee in September, another touch point to key industry buyers – some of whom are still to firm up their metal product ranges for 2018. “It’s an opportunity to build awareness that we are open for business to garden centres, and to get ourselves front of mind with buyers. Some of these may have missed us at Glee, or saw us and would benefit from another conversation, and we hope to achieve new leads too.” Regular Glee exhibitor Neat Ideas will be testing the waters at Glee at Spring Fair this year, in the hopes that it attracts the buyers seen at the autumn show. We’re quite bespoke in what we do – we will be taking products to the show, but we sell via in-store media,” explains Colin Higgs, of Neat Ideas. “So, the idea is that we

install a media screen and a stand; on the screen it will play an infomercial and underneath you will find the product, as seen on screen’. “What happens then is the retailer takes a package off us and sells the product. At the end of a period, we uplift residue product and introduce a new one. The product tends to be anything you can tell a story with, such as a kitchen gadget, a toy or a new garden tool. We have products right across all sectors. “We have exhibited at Glee for a while, but we stopped showing our services at Spring Fair a couple of years ago – we just found it didn’t hit our key customers. But Glee is our best show of the year, so it was worth trialling Glee at Spring Fair and hoping that the buyers who attend Glee in autumn come out for a buying show in spring. “Visitors can expect a bespoke product from us that tells a story and lifts the product off the shelf via a screen. It’s a full-time salesperson in store. The idea of the media screen is that it will show the customer the uses of the product.” w

www.gardencentreretail.com

23/01/2018 10:18


...from design to install For over 45 years Clovis have been working with their clients to make the most of their outside space, how can we help you? A well placed canopy, or covered walkway, can transform your outside sales space from a seasonal to an all year round destination for your customers. Call us today for a free no obligation quote on 01622 873907 www.clovis-canopies.co.uk info@clovis-canopies.co.uk

Spring Fair: Hall 20, Stand K10-L11

www.classiccanes.co.uk

The specialist nationwide horticultural agents. For valuations, sales, lettings and acquisitions. With over 25 years industry leading experience, helping hundreds of individuals and companies to maximise their assets from the sale of garden centres, plant centres and nurseries. For expertise, professionalism and confidentiality, we should be your first port of call. To find out more about us, visit: alexandermackie.co.uk 01732 522222 info@alexandermackie.co.uk

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23/01/2018 10:40


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22/01/2018 16:38


Pots & Planters GIMA

POTS OF DIFFERENCE FROM GIMA MEMBERS

A wider variety of pots and planters than ever before is set to be made available in 2018, some drawing from interior trends, others designed to add to bestselling lines. With the GIMA/HTA Garden Press Event taking place in London on 28 February, we take a look at the latest news and comment from key pot and planter suppliers BURGON & BALL SHARES ITS TREND FORECASTS FOR 2018 “Houseplant sales are up across the country, with some retailers in urban areas reporting a quadrupling of sales since 2015. We believe this resurgent passion for houseplants is just getting started, and will continue to evolve in 2018, driven by factors including the influence of social media and a generation of urban plant lovers with no access to a garden. This strong trend is about more than the plants; adding greenery to a room’s décor has been a growing theme in interior design for several years, and an eye-catching plant – such as Instagram favourites the fiddle leaf fig and the Chinese money plant – is an absolute must-have. Of course, stylish plants need beautiful pots: attractive, practical pots, with an appealing choice of textures, finishes and materials. There’s lots of scope to explore beyond everyday smooth plastic! Shoppers are looking for pots that harmonise with today’s interiors, and we’ve designed our indoor pots with current design trends in mind. The muted colours and striking textures of our hanging pots complement the ‘Scandi’ look, while our glazed pots feature an on-trend artisanal finish with a subtle crackle glaze. WIth terracotta already a trend for 2018, our aged terracotta pots are sure to be in demand in the year ahead. One thing is certain – 2018 will bring great opportunities for retailers targeting customers who love both houseplants and stylish living.”

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Lolly Lee of The Orangery Collection has been inviting buyers to the company’s showroom to support the company’s showcase at this year’s Spring Fair exhibition. “PTMD’s range is definitely one for the independents,” she says. “These are quality pots, designed in-house and offered at keen prices.” To celebrate its 10-year anniversay, outdoor ceramic and terracotta planter supplier Terrastyle UK Ltd is launching new planters for indoor and outdoor use, with a focus on bespoke and high volume selling designs. Timber garden products manufacturer Hutton is putting pressure on the timber planter market, says product manager Dean Jones.“Thanks to three new additions launched at Glee 2017, we now have the UK’s widest range of slow grown joinerygrade redwood planters, sourced from certified forests.” The timber raised bed range from Select International has launched into two mail order catalogues ahead of showcasing alongside the company’s full range at this year’s Spring Fair. Manufactured in Derbyshire, the range combines unique shapes and sizes, with bespoke designs also offered. Market research by Elho uncovered trends for 2018 as it saw a fantastic uplift in sales. “Sales of the Elho Brussels indoor range is up 84% year-on-year, driven by a resurgence in interest in house plants,” says managing director David Nicholson. “‘Grow your own’ is becoming mainstream, and urban dwellers’ increased desire to experience nature is driving interest in indoor pots.” The muted colours and striking textures featured on Burgon and Ball‘s hanging pots tie in with the ‘Scandi’ look, while its glazed pots feature an on-trend artisanal finish with a subtle crackle glaze. Burgon and Ball’s offering also includes aged terracotta pots – another key trend for 2018. To benefit from impulse sales, G Plants is offering a range of planter sets, complete with seeds and compost – ideal for gardening gifts. All are available for delivery in display trays and FSDUs to provide maximum impact in-store, and as well as ease of delivery.

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23/01/2018 10:16


Products Grow Your Own

BACK TO BASICS...

GROW YOUR OWN

A major trend among millennials is the idea of knowing where their food has come from. Thanks to this, the younger generation is increasingly interested in growing its own produce – indeed, for many young people, this is the only interaction they have with their outdoor space, due to the busy lifestyles they lead. We speak to experts in the ‘grow your own’ field to find out the key points that garden centres should be passing on to their customers The best type of media to grow fruits and vegetables in is a free-draining soil with good air and water relationships, the ability to hold nutrient in available form, and a high cation exchange capacity

SO, WHAT DEFINES QUALITY? THERE ARE TWO AREAS TO CONSIDER: 1. TRUENESS TO TYPE

Durston Garden Products composts

Soils

Growing your own always starts with the soil: getting this right will give produce its best chance. “It needs to have sufficient nutrients and be free of weeds, disease and pests to maximise growth and harvest,” explains Dan Durston, national sales manager at Durston Garden Products. The best growing media is a free-draining soil with good air and water relationships, the ability to hold nutrient in available form, and a high cation exchange capacity. It is also vital to add a soil conditioner, farmyard manure or pelleted organic fertiliser to ensure the plants gets the nutrients they need, and to enable good drainage by aerating the soil.

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Seeds

Another gardening year begins, and as the weather improves, customers start making their way to garden centres in search of flower and vegetable seeds. Tom Sharples, senior horticultural manager at Suttons Seeds, explains what they should be looking for: “To produce the best quality crops, it is essential to use the best quality seed. The best guide to quality is the reputation of the seedsman involved. The main ones have been specialising in seeds for many years – in some cases, hundreds! Over this period of time, they have built up a considerable knowledge bank of how to produce and store for optimum results.”

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When a seed company prepares a crop for seed production, it starts with its own ‘stock’ seed, which has been carefully selected to produce all the characteristics of the variety. This seed may then be grown in several areas of the world to ensure the success of the resulting crops, bearing in mind our increasingly uncertain climate patterns. As the crop approaches maturity, it is ‘rogued’ a number of times, removing any plants that do not exhibit the variety’s desired characteristics. An example of this would be a primrose mixture where, if we left more than one yellow-flowered plant in 200, the subsequent seed mix would produce majority of yellowflowered plants, because yellow flowers are the dominant colour in the variety. The best seed companies have their own extensive trial grounds for quality control, to ensure that their seed ‘does what it says on the tin’.

2. SEED GERMINATION, VIGOUR AND PURITY

Vegetable seed germination percentages are controlled by legal regulations, but there are no such standards for flowers, which rely on standards imposed by the individual seedsmen. Again, it pays to buy the best. Vigour is also important; like germination, it is tested in the seedsman’s laboratory by trained technicians, who will also check the stock for any signs of pests or weeds. When customers get their seed packets home, the best way to care for them prior to sowing is to store them in a cool, dry position – a tin is an ideal storage unit. When it’s time to sow, customers should follow the instructions on the packet to enjoy those lovely flowers and tasty, succulent vegetables throughout the year!

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Grow Your Own Products

Grow your own kits

Growise Pro 5 All Purpose Compost 50L

Company: Bord na Móna Growise Pro 5 Premium Range has proved to be one of the most successful product ranges introduced by Bord na Móna Horticulture to date; it is the company’s fastest-selling new launch for garden centres. RRP: £6.99 www.thegreener gardener.com Suttons Seeds trials

Grow Your Own Bonsai Kit

Company: G Plants Great for budding gardeners. Includes quality seeds, growing medium, slate chippings and hand-made ceramic bonsai pot with tray. Available in three varieties, all kits come with a detailed instruction booklet. RRP: £9.99 www.gplants.com

PRODUCT RHUBARB STRAWBERRY RASPBERRY CHERRY APPLE BLACKBERRY POTATO BEETROOT CARROTS PEAS SQUASH ONION

LETTUCE TOMATO CUCUMBER RADISH PEPPER

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Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest Sow/Plant Harvest

Stepped Herb Planter

Vegetable and Salad Wool Compost

Company: Zest for Leisure Make the most of limited space with the Stepped Herb Planter. With its sloping dimensions, create the ideal vertical effect – even in a smaller garden. Its sister product is the Vertical Herb Planter, standing more than a metre high for a beautiful display of herbs. RRP: £74.99 www.zest4leisure.co.uk

Company: Dalefoot Compost Made from wool and bracken, this compost releases all the nutrients your vegetables and salad needs, without additional feed. The wool retains water, and the high level of potash achieves amazing results. RRP: £7.50-£8.95 www.dalefootcomposts. co.uk

GROW YOUR OWN CHART

JAN

FEB

MAR APR FRUIT

MAY JUN

JUL

AUG

SEP

OCT

NOV

DEC

VEGETABLE

SALAD

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23/01/2018 10:34


Products Decorative Aggregates

HOW TO SELL

DECORATIVE AGGREGATES

Has the time come for garden centres to stop stockpiling bags upon bags of shingle and chippings round the back? Is there a better way to inspire prospective clients to buy? Garden Centre Retail speaks with Sarah Hill, marketing director at Meadow View Stone, to get her take What are the options a garden centre has when it comes to showcasing decorative stone products? For several years, many suppliers have been advocating the importance of encouraging linked sales and cross sales into associated product categories, and for obvious reasons. It helps to maximise basket spend within the product category, but it also helps to create inspirational lifestyle displays that showcase the products in a variety of styles – which customers can relate to, be inspired by and easily replicate. Simple and effective garden displays have been proven to vastly increase the sales of the products included, so it’s imperative that retailers and suppliers work jointly to showcase the products – not as separate elements in a garden, but as part of a tailored landscaping scheme. y reflecting this in-store and placing aggregates alongside complementary products such as paving, pots, plants and

furniture, garden centres can successfully build linked sales, create impulse purchases and increase overall basket spend.

Is it good enough to simply keep them in packs on a shelf?

With the average timespan to engage a potential customer having drastically reduced over the years, it’s no longer an option to simply display the pac s on a shelf in-store. Positioning the products in a logical, easy-to-follow sequence will encourage customers to browse and make a more considered purchase that should work to the retailer’s advantage. Putting higher value items in prominent locations helps to distract customers from their intended purchases, guiding them away from what they believed they wanted and towards the high-value items. POS merchandising that offers simple advice and inspirational product photography is an excellent way to showcase products and engage with customers throughout their shopping

In an environment where more and more shoppers are choosing to buy garden products online, knowledgeable staff give bricks-andmortar centres an advantage

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journey, driving not only sales of single products, but also linked products. There are lots of other avenues that centres can explore to maximise product exposure. Creating in-situ landscape garden displays is the obvious and preferred choice, but where space is at a premium, every avenue for exposing the products should be explored. Outdoor dining areas can be an excellent shop window for these products, and require minimal outlay. A simple paving kit with complementary decorative aggregates and a statement water feature will not only provide a great ambience for diners, but will also add the ‘wow’ factor and a point of interest for the area. Simply dressing the tops of pots with smaller alpine gravels, or using decorative chippings as background staging for higher value stoneware items or water features, can show the versatility and many decorative features of the vast range of gravels that are now available. Giving shoppers the opportunity to have a tactile experience with products often increases the rate of impulse purchases and allows them to see the different qualities of each of the products, so small samples of each of the products are also another good sales aid.

How can a garden centre inspire customers to buy more products in this category?

Physical displays of in-situ products are undoubtedly a successful method of encouraging customers to buy more from this category, but word of mouth recommendations and advice from staff are the leading factors in people’s purchasing decisions. In an environment where more and more shoppers are choosing to buy garden products online, knowledgeable

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23/01/2018 13:24


Decorative Aggregates Products

Paving & aggregate products

Old Town

Company: Bradstone Old Town paving is perfect for creating a traditional look. Made from moulds taken from a 19th century Lancashire cotton mill, its finish loo s ust li e reclaimed stone. ith the appearance of or flagstones, incorporating original tooling marks and weathered edges, there are more than 30 different profiles in the range to give a truly random appearance. RRP: £40-45m² www.bradstone.com staff give bricks-and-mortar centres an advantage. Team members can guide users to the right product for their needs and help them to gain long-term value from their purchase, meaning that they’re more likely to become lifetime customers.

Garden Style Collection

Company: Global Stone This collection has been curated in response to demand from garden centres for immediate-purchase items. The range consists of affordable natural stone paving, setts, pavers, accessories and features, and has been expanded year on year to meet the evolution of customer requirements and changes in garden designs, for modern and easy-to-maintain outside living. RRP: From 99p per sandstone sett www.globalstonepaving.co.uk

As a supplier, it’s crucial that we offer as much product support as possible to our stockists – this way, landscaping staff can feel confident when helping customers, whether they’re advising on the right size of gravel for a driveway or which cobbles are fish friendly and suitable for ponds. Supporting customers in their decisions helps to pin down not only the initial purchase, but their future purchases as well. ange is also a ma or consideration. Offering a wider range with varying price points will give customers more choice and flexibility, as well as helping your garden centre to build a reputation as a local ‘one stop shop’.

Have you got any examples of a garden centre doing decorative aggregates particularly well?

We recently had the opportunity to transform Planters Garden Centre in Tamworth. It has been an excellent decorative aggregate

www.gardencentreretail.com

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One Penny Stepping Stone

Company: Deco-Pak A chance BBC Breakfast feature at Glee 2017 helped leading UK paving and aggregate supplier Deco-Pak to sell 12,500 units of its One Penny stepping stones during preseason ordering. Garden centres have snatched up the heritage designs, including the One Penny (450mm diameter) and Halfpenny (300mm diameter). RRP: £5.99 per stone www.deco-pak.co.uk

customer of Meadow Views for several years, and it decided to also switch its paving collection over to Meadow View, to create a more cohesive brand style in-store. We started by evaluating the bestselling decorative aggregate lines that had seen yearly growth. Staple commodity lines that would undoubtedly continue to sell were positioned towards the back, as customers would most likely seek these out, as a considered choice. Next, we created four impactful display gardens in prominent locations, at the start of each aisle. These showcased a multitude of complementing products and were designed to be a mix of traditional and contemporary styles that displayed the variety of choice on offer while also appealing to both the younger and the more traditional demographics. We then positioned the higher value items in the most prominent locations, but maintained a logical ordering of products, positioning the paving and

complementing aggregates closely together by colour to help drive linked sales. In this way, the layout of the hard landscaping category has been designed to encourage a ourney that encompasses the centre’s entire product collection. It has room to browse and consider, but aims to drive the higher value purchases as a priority. Planters’s willingness to give us ultimate flexibility on the products used in the displays, which included not only our product category but many others, shows its trust in us, and our shared belief in the importance of creating highquality display gardens to promote products. Planters is one of our premium stockists, and it has actively adapted its product offering to embrace new trends and product styles within the decorative aggregates and paving category. As a result, it achieved unprecedented sales increases of more than 50% in 2017, making it an excellent ambassador for our products.

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2018

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23/01/2018 13:25


Granito Porcelain Paving & Granite Setts

Global Stone is an industry leading, innovative supplier of premium porcelain and natural stone paving, setts, accessories and features. For more information or to see our full range: Visit: www.globalstonepaving.co.uk or call: 0845 60 60 240 (Lo-call rate)

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22/01/2018 16:41


Wood Stains & Paints Products

Latest products

WOOD STAINS & PAINTS Garden Furniture Restorer

Garden Paint

Country Cottage Shades

Decking Paint

Company: Cuprinol Cuprinol Garden Furniture Restorer is an easy-to-use gel that removes the grey, weathered surface wood to reveal the golden timber below. Simply brush on, scrub if needed, leave for 15 minutes and rinse off. Coverage: 1L per 8m² (two coats) RRP from £14.40 www.cuprinol.co.uk

Company: Barrettine Country Cottage Shades is a lowhazard, water-based decorative and protective treatment that gives a colourful, opa ue, matte finish to preservative-treated timber. It comes in six vintage colours that are suitable for sheds and summerhouses, trellis, pergolas, planters, fences, playhouses and timber decking. It is also suitable for decorating terracotta, stone ornaments and weathered concrete structures. Coverage: 2.5L per 10-20 square metres, depending on surface type and conditions. RRP From £14.99 www.barrettinepro.co.uk

Company: Ronseal For something a bit different, Ronseal has created an exterior paint that is suitable for a whole range of materials, including wood. It’s a softer paint, so it will flex with the wood when it warms and cools. This prevents it from chipping and peeling. It has a lifespan of about five years. Coverage: 12m² per litre RRP £19.99 for 2.5L www.ronseal.co.uk

Company: Owatrol watrol Dec ing Paint is a premium, rich matte finish that is suitable for use on new wood, weathered wood, and even previously treated wood. It is fortified with watrol’s mulsaBond, helping it to provide unsurpassed adhesion on both horizontal and vertical surfaces where competitors would require extensive preparation and priming. The Decking Paint range has now been expanded and it is available in 35 colours. When applied correctly to bare wood, it is guaranteed against peeling or fla ing for five years on horizontal surfaces such as decking, and 15 years on vertical cladding and sidings. Coverage: 8-10m² per litre RRP From £40 www.owatroldirect.co.uk

Wood Stain & Protector

Company: Protek Wood Stain & Protector is a multi-purpose, water-repellent coating that colours and protects the whole garden. It provides weatherproofing protection to all types of timber, and is so good that it will even adhere to masonry and terracotta pots. Protek Wood Stain & Protector is a water-based wood stain with very low levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and good eco-credentials. This quality wood stain creates a quick-drying, microporous coating that contains a mould inhibitor to protect the coating. Once dry, it is not harmful to plants, children or animals, making it the ideal choice not only for fencing and sheds, but also for playhouses and animal housing. Coverage: 6-12m² per 1L, per coat RRP From £8.50 www.protekwoodstain.co.uk

www.gardencentreretail.com

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Products Pots & Planters

Latest products

POTS & PLANTERS Floral Planter

Company: Austin Stone Launched: 2015 Made using the best materials and techniques, and treated to improve resistance to frost and other types of weathering – so there is little chance of these cracking in UK winters. The whole range of planters is very popular, and these are the bestsellers – often selling in twos, threes and fours. RRP £19.99 www.austinstonegardenornaments.weebly.com

Elisabeth

Company: Bergs Potter Launched: August 2017 The latest release from Danish brand Bergs Potter is a robust design named the Elisabeth. It features a simple décor of gothic arches that is inspired by women’s strength, and is manufactured in Tuscany. RRP From £11.50 www.bergspotter.com

Cotswold Decorative Planters

Company: Stewart Garden Launched: January 2018 Stewart Garden has extended it’s incredibly popular planter range with Cotswold Decorative Planters. With a new colour palette, they offer a wider appeal to the market thanks to the stunning colour finishes and versatility of the planters. Three colours will be offered per size Dar Brown, Limestone Grey and Light Sand, all which are designed to evoke the feel of natural stone on the planters’ deep riven texture. RRP From £19.99 www.stewart-garden.co.uk

Pure Edge

Company: Elho Launched: September 2017 The Pure Edge was designed for Elho by Dutch designer Sander Lorier. Suitable for outdoor or indoor use, these stunning pots are highly versatile. They are UVresistant and retain their colour in full sunlight, as well as being easy to clean, unbreakable, frost resistant and adapted for temperatures as low as -40ºC. All pots are lightweight and easy to move. RRP From £89 www.elho.com

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Duchess Cube

Company: The Pot Company Launched: January 2018 New for 2018, The Heritage Collection is inspired by history and has been created in association with English Heritage. The collection’s design was inspired by the pattern on the dress of the statue in the Duchess’s Square at Wrest Park Gardens, Bedfordshire. Made by the same craftsmen who produce the Terracini range, the Duchess Cubes carry all the benefits of the range they are frost resistant and kilned at a higher temperature to increase their strength and durability, ensuring a high- uality finish that is resistant to bumps and scuffs. RRP From £26.99 www.thepotco.com

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A superb range of Crescent Garden planters and planter bowls. Traditional and contemporary styles in a range of colours and sizes 16” – 40” diam. Manufactured in polyethylene resin, lightweight, extremely robust, and guaranteed frost-proof and colour stable. Most are double-walled for extra insulation, and pre-drilled for drainage. Styles and sizes colour-match if selected in a common colour.

www.biggardenpotcompany.co.uk Tel : 023 8084 5616

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23/01/2018 13:06


CREATIVE LANDSCAPING PRODUCTS BROUGHT TO YOU BY

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22/01/2018 16:46


A N ATO M Y O F A P R O D U C T

Dewdrop Bird Feeder Anatomy of a Product All you need to know to sell...

DEWDROP WINDOW FEEDER

WILDLIFE WORLD

Wildlife habitat product designer and manufacturer Wildlife World has introduced a new birdfeeder to its extensive product range

What does it do?

The award-winning product has been designed to encourage birds into the gardens of nature lovers. Wildlife World’s product designers have created the products to replicate the natural environment of wildlife species.

Transparent design, easy to install

Wildlife World’s new Dewdrop Window Feeder is a transparent design that allows nature lovers to easily watch small birds perch on the box while they are feeding. The clear moulded Perspex allows observation of birds from all angles, and is easy to secure to the window, with two heavy suction pads. The design is also waterproof with just a small circular entrance for birds, sheltering food from poor weather conditions.

Lifespan

The Dewdrop Window Feeder, in British conditions, will last five to 10 years without degradation. Affixed to the window of a house or office building with suction cups, it is sturdy enough for small birds to feed from. The suction pads, which come in the pack of the feeder, may need replacing after five years. Wildlife World’s new Dewdrop Window Feeder won the award in the Best Wildlife and Pets Products category at the Glee New Product Awards 2017.

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The clear moulded Perspex allows observation of birds from all angles, and is easy to secure to the window, with two heavy suction pads

To find out more, visit www.wildlifeworld.co.uk or call 01793 461650

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23/01/2018 10:07


Trading With Vitavia

TRADING WITH...

VITAVIA

We speak to Tony Hutchinson, managing dire tor at ita ia arden rodu ts td to find out how it stands out from its competitors in the greenhouse sector and why it makes sense for garden centres to stock its products

What makes it different to comparable products? We provide personal home delivery service, using wellinformed drivers who will deliver our greenhouses to the customer’s preferred location, as well as exceptional after-sales service with direct contact to end users. We also work with a team of tried and tested professional greenhouse fitters who can assemble a greenhouse in any part of the country if required.

Can you give us a brief outline of the Vitavia brand? Vitavia Garden Products Ltd is the British partner of the Vitavia Group, which is the leading name throughout Europe for quality hobby greenhouses and greenhouse accessories. From our warehouses in Suffolk, we provide home and trade deliveries throughout the UK, together with a comprehensive greenhouse installation service.

What is the process of the home delivery service? It’s a hassle-free process. Whether the garden centre has display buildings or not, if a customer goes in and requests a Vitavia greenhouse, the garden centre will take the order and then all those details will be passed directly to us. Payment is made to the garden centre by the customer, and then once we

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We are proud to supply quality hobby greenhouses that are widely regarded as being the best value for money, backed up by exceptional customer service. As a wholesaler, we sell via a trusted network of garden centres and garden building specialists. The range is designed in Europe and produced exclusively at Vitavia Qingdao, a majority-owned facility in China.

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receive the order, we take over the process. The garden centre should have no need for any further involvement, because we will liaise directly with the customer. This is purely for a home delivery, but we will talk to the customer, agree a mutually convenient date for the delivery and then process the order with that delivery date on it. The greenhouse will then be loaded at our warehouse in Suffolk and taken up to the destination; our drivers will have the contact numbers and give the customer a call. We give the customer a twohour window when we first arrange the delivery, and then it’s traffic dependent but when the drivers leave the previous delivery, they will call ahead to give the customer a more accurate time. But the customer doesn’t have to be in if they are prepared to leave a garden gate open, we could

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23/01/2018 10:36


Vitavia Trading With We offer a hassle-free operation. We take over from receipt of order, liaising directly with the customer to arrange delivery and installation if requested

leave it there as long as we have their approval. an you e lain the fitting service you offer – is that at extra cost to the customer? It is, yes; not everybody wants the installation service. Once we have agreed a delivery date with the customer, we will contact the member of our network of national installers who is closest to the destination, and they will then contact the customer to arrange the installation. The installer must be sure that all the groundwork and the base for the greenhouse is already prepared. They don’t get involved with the groundwork, they just assemble the greenhouse. But the greenhouse must be put onto a firm and level base, so we ask the installer to speak to the customer to ensure that this has all been prepared prior to him arriving.

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Can the installation service be ordered at point of urchase in the garden centre as well? Absolutely – we often get orders through with the greenhouse, including installation service orders. What are the key selling points of Vitavia products? The materials we use are anodised aluminium and powder-coated frames in several colours, with common features across the range the enable the use of a standard range of greenhouse accessories. Full information on all our products is available on our website, including assembly instructions and assembly videos. What are the lead times? Standard delivery times are 2-3 weeks, but we have been averaging just 11 days throughout 2017.

What support are you offering garden centres We offer generously discounted display models, product literature and point of sale material with staff training. Why should a garden centre sell Vitavia’s products? We offer a hassle-free operation. We take over from receipt of order, liaising directly with the customer to arrange delivery and installation if requested. In addition, greenhouses have a relatively high purchase price and profit margin. What is the life expectancy of your greenhouse in a British climate? Well, we have display models at our premises in Ipswich that have been outside for at least eight years now, and as long as they are washed down to remove any mould that happens to be around the

glass, the frames stay looking great for a long period of time. Does itavia s greenhouses come in different colours and finishes It depends on the model. Most of the greenhouses are available in anodised aluminium and in green. There are also selected models that are available powder-coated in black or white. What’s the next step for the brand? We want to expand our market in the UK and in Europe through continued development of the Vitavia range. New product development is a key element of our cooperation with our European partners. w

CONTACT

www.vitavia.co.uk

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2018

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