Garden Centre Retail March 2015

Page 1

Garden Centre Retail Issue 12 • March 2015


LET’S HEAR IT FROM... Paul Loft on the future of Homebase


ways to drive up café footfall

Award-winning Fron Goch’s journey to catering excellence

How EPoS can generate customer loyalty

Family business trouble-shooting GARDENING TRENDS FOR 2015

1s GCR Mar15 P01 Front Cover.indd 1

y ar s er v ni n tA

n ti io Ed

26/02/2015 12:09

Already helping 60 garden centre organisations with EPoS Flexible, Resilient & Secure

All the EPoS & retail management features you expect Helping those with an existing EPoS solution or cash registers

Lower Ownership Costs

Low monthly subscriptions include software, support & services We take care of all the ongoing maintenance, backups & upgrades

Experience & Expertise Providing solutions since 1977

Our team includes ex-garden centre retailers

You’re In Control

Manage your entire business & improve profitability Deliver great customer service at the tills & in-store Retail intelligence to maximise your customers’ data

t: 01332 383231 e:

GCR Mar15 P02 Davidson Richards Ad.indd 2

26/02/2015 10:23

product lines

Welcome to...

Garden Centre Retail A brand new look for our first birthday issue


irstly, welcome to the first birthday anniversary issue, yes it’s only a year since you received your first issue of Garden Centre Retail. We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the readers, advertisers, associations and visitors to our website for your support over the last 12 months – you have truly made us feel a part of this excellent industry. Now moving on you will see a few enhancements and changes to this issue of Garden Centre Retail as we now enter into our next phase of development, we are really focused on delivering you a magazine and website that helps you within your business

environment, giving you a mixture of entertaining, informative and actionable content. This issue is the start of that next phase so please let us know what you think about the new design, the features and the overall feel

of the magazine. Onwards and upwards, have a great March...

Jim & Lisa Wilkinson Directors, Garden Centre Retail

Contact ALL ENQUIRIES Tel: 01903 777 570 Eljays44 Ltd 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA PUBLISHER Jim Wilkinson Tel: 01903 777 589 EDITORIAL Director – Lisa Wilkinson Tel: 01903 777 579 ADVERTISING Business Development Manager Jamie Wilkinson Tel: 01903 777 588 Account Manager – Ellie Downes Tel: 01903 777 587 Accounts Assistant – Lisa Woollard Tel: 01903 777 579 Horticulture Careers Tel: 01903 777 587 PRODUCTION Design Alan Wares, Kara Thomas, Amy Downes Production Editor – Susie Duff Subeditor – Toby Wilsdon Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Gwent, UK Published by ©Eljays44 Ltd Connecting Horticulture MANAGEMENT Managing Director – Jim Wilkinson Director – Lisa Wilkinson Business Development Manager – Jamie Wilkinson MARKETING AND CIRCULATION Subscription enquiries – Jessica Garrard Tel: 01903 777 599


Garden Centre Retail is available FREE on your mobile device. Simply go to the the App Store, search for ‘Garden Centre Retail’ and download the app!

Garden Centre Retail is published 12 times per year by Eljays44 Ltd. 2015 subscription price is £95.00. 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, uncommissioned photographs or manuscripts.

@GardenRetailUK Garden Centre Retail Garden Centre Retail

GCR Mar15 P03 Leader.indd 3

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 March 2015


26/02/2015 12:25

No.1 importer of FOR 2015 INTRODUCING

Artificial Grass

Grasshopper Artificial Grass Accessories ARTIFICIAL GRASS ACCESSORIES



We have 11 types of artificial grass covering display to show garden and natural looking grass which can all be rebranded.

Drop ship

With over 10,000m² in stock, either full rolls or cut to length grass can be despatched direct to your customer so you can offer a bigger selection without out having to carry stock.

TRADE Trade only Direct are the leading importers of Artificial Grass in the UK and ONLY Smart we only supply to the trade.

Pre-Cut Rolls Artificial Grass

4m x 1m 4m x 1.5m

24 Rolls of Artificial Grass in a wooden crate pallet.

You can mix the two sizes in your crate which you can also rebrand.

smart direct




þ CERTIFIED ISO 9001 ISO 14001


be smart buy direct

GCR Mar15 P04 Smart Direct Ad.indd 4


ü Pegs ü U Pins ü Adhesive ü Joining Tape ü Pet Odour Remover ü Artificial Grass Refresher ü Weed Control Membrane ü 8mm Thick Underlay ü Knife and Blade ü Edging

Become a Grasshopper stockist

Need more info on Grasshopper

0844 800 9660

0844 800 9660



Smart Direct (Europe) Limited

Park House, Park Road East, Calverton, Nottingham, NG14 6LL

26/02/2015 10:23


Garden Centre Retail CONTENTS

Garden Centre Retail Issue 12 • March 2015


LET’S HEAR IT FROM... Paul Loft on the future of Homebase


March 2015

ways to drive up café footfall

Award-winning Fron Goch’s journey to catering excellence

How EPoS can generate customer loyalty

Family business trouble-shooting GARDENING TRENDS FOR 2015

t 1s

r ve ni An

GCR Mar15 P01 Front Cover.indd 1

ry sa

on iti Ed

26/02/2015 12:09


A roundup of the latest news in the industry


The HTA encourages garden retailers to sign up for Love the Plot You’ve Got; the GCA highlights big sales trends for early 2015


Liz Dobbs shows how click and collect can boost sales and customer service


Jane Perrone examines what’s hot and what’s not in the garden this year


Keith Bateman explores the opportunities customer loyalty schemes present


Dennis Reid explains the benefits of a customer service strategy

GCR Mar15 P05 Contents.indd 5


Doug Stewart shares 10 ways to boost off-peak footfall to your coffee shop


Mike Still outlines how to predict the next big thing for your business


Dr Nicola Davies takes a look at the effect of emotions on decision-making


Homebase Managing Director Paul Loft discusses current and future plans




Paul Pleydell discusses the importance of improving the customer journey




Suppliers update us on all the latest happenings


All the leading products for the garden centre industry


Our top selection of pots and planters


Up-and-coming products from the food and drink sector


42 CATEGORY Geoff Hodge looks at pots and planters


Recent GCA award-winning Fron Goch garden centre tells us about its journey to success


Lucy Summers explores tangible ways to target younger gardeners

Garden Centre Retail speaks to Susanna Wadeson, Publishing Director of the Expert Book gardening guides



Martin Gibbons outlines three simple steps to becoming a better leader



We shine a light on six industry personalities

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 13:15


Alan Titchmarsh comes to Frosts Garden Centre

NEWS CENTRE First ever Plant Supplier Show from Squire’s Garden Centre


o celebrate National Gardening Week, Alan Titchmarsh will be visiting Frosts Garden Centre at Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes. Titchmarsh will be there for a book signing and to meet and greet his fans. The TV gardening legend will also be giving two talks; one on gardening for wildlife and another on small garden secrets. Tickets will cost £5 and all proceeds from their sale will go to Supershoes, a non-profit organisation that gives personalised canvas shoes to seriously ill and severely disabled children in the UK.

Royal Horticultural Halls host European Orchid Show



quire’s Garden Centre hosted its first ever Plant Supplier Show on Thursday 12 February in West Horsley, Surrey. Thirty-five suppliers from all over the UK and abroad showcased their latest plants to the Squire’s team. Employees from the 15 Squire’s Garden Centres met the suppliers and were able to see at first-hand the plants that will soon be on sale to customers. All 15 centres were asked to vote for their best supplier in two categories of plants – Hardy and Bedding. Bridge Nursery won the Hardy Plant Supplier of the Year award thanks to the excellent


quality of its plants and their informative point of sale materials. The Bedding Plant Supplier of the Year award was won by Bryants Nurseries. Squire’s deputy chairman Sarah Squire commented: “This was a truly inspirational show and we are very grateful to all our suppliers who attended and to our teams for taking the time to come along in force. It was a treat to see some of the superb quality plants available to our centres as well as the exciting new plants for spring 2015. I think we all came away with great enthusiasm for the season and having learned something new.”

Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P06-08 News.indd 6

he 17th annual European Orchid Show and conference will be held from 9-12 April at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London. Over the four days the halls will be filled with displays from professional growers, orchid societies and botanical gardens from around Europe. Traders from around the world will be offering their newest hybrids and unusual orchid species. The

international conference, with lectures by some of the most eminent speakers from around the world, will have days dedicated to orchid science, hardy orchids, general cultivation, breeding and exploration. As well as opportunities to buy and learn about new and unusual orchids, a gala dinner will be open to all conference delegates on Saturday 11 April.

New exhibitors sign up for PATS Sandown


isitors to PATS Sandown next month will be greeted by a host of new exhibitors as well as the industry’s big-name brands. Companies like Lyvlee Ltd, who produce a non-toxic, 100% safe anti-bacterial, anti-fungal product called Leucillin, will be making their first appearance at PATS Sandown on 17-18 March.

Company director Georgina Bashforth said: “We are looking forward to our first time exhibiting at PATS where we will have the opportunity to meet trade individuals with a fellow passion for animal welfare and to have the chance to educate them about the benefits of Leucillin.”

26/02/2015 10:45

p r o d u c t lni en we s

Fleuroselect announces six new Gold Medal awards



The Haskins Garden Centre team and customers at Ferndown have raised £4,626 for their 2014 charity of the year, the Alzheimer’s Society. The charity’s services manager Jo Malyon accepted the cheque from Haskins’ general manager Matt Hill at the centre and thanked the Haskins team for the funds raised and support over the past 12 months.

leuroselect, the international organisation for the ornamental plants industry, proudly announces six new Gold Medal awards that will be available for wholesale as of 2015 and retail in 2016. The Fleuroselect Gold Medal is awarded to new varieties that have been tested by Fleuroselect’s independent expert judges at trial grounds across Europe and proven to clearly supersede existing varieties in terms of breeding innovation and beauty. The new awards include Calamintha nepeta Marvelette Blue (pictured), Cosmos

bipinnatus Xanthos, Echinacea purpurea Feeling Rose, Helenium autumnale Western Mixture, Ocimum basilicum

Smooth transition for new Laurica Plants nursery owners


urope’s premier laurel nursery has new owners. Elie and Sybiel Devisch have recently taken over the familyrun Laurica Plants nursery in Jabbeke, Belgium. The nursery will be managed by Elie Devisch and his wife, Marian Maenhoudt and includes sales to wholesalers, garden centres and landscapers. As well as a smooth transition for the new owners, Europe’s leading laurel nursery has reported an excellent IPM GCR Mar15 P06-08 News.indd 7

Essen trade show. Director Marian Maenhoudt said “IPM was a fine show for us. This year we met a lot of customers from the UK, Germany, France, Holland and even Belgium. Spring 2015 is close and we expect strong sales to continue.” Laurica’s presence at Four Oaks and Glee later this year also confirms the continued importance of the UK market to this premier grower.

Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven has recently been named Ireland’s National Store of the Year 2015. This is the first time a garden centre has won such an honour.

Purple Ball and Petunia x hybrida Tidal Wave Red Velour.

Windsor considers housing on Wyevale and Squire’s sites


wo garden centres are being considered as possible housing development sites in Windsor. The decision about the local plan covering the next 15 years is due to be made by The Royal Borough of Windsor, which aims to find space for 12,000 new homes to be built over that period. The Wyevale Garden Centre on Dedworth Road, Windsor has been identified as a location that could accommodate 35 homes, while a Squire’s garden centre in Maidenhead Road, Windsor, could have space for 40. Without making a commitment, Squire’s has previously agreed for the site to be considered as a possible residential zoning site in the next 15 years. The council is also considering other sites, including a leisure centre, railway station car park and a recycling centre.

To celebrate St David’s Day on Sunday 1 March, Squire’s Garden Centres is inviting customers to visit David the Bearded Dragon. The centres will also be promoting the sale of daffodils to brighten up homes this St David’s Day. www.squiresgardencentres. This summer, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew will explore the mystical world of spices. The programme will include banquets, interactive installations and exhibitions as well as tasting opportunities from street food vans in the Orangery and Pavilion restaurants and in a pop-up bread kitchen. The Tildenet Group, parent company for Tildenet Gardenware and Tildenet Horticulture, has appointed a new marketing manager. Angus Lewis has joined the Bristol based company following his recent involvement on the Acquisitions team for Wyevale Garden Centres.

Garden Centre Retail March 2015 7

26/02/2015 10:45


New chair elected for Growing Media Association


teve Harper (sales director of Gardman and previously of Bord na Mona, Vital Earth and William Sinclair Horticulture) has been elected as the first independent chair of the GMA. Ben Malin of Terraqueous (representing the Somerset Peat Producers) has been elected as vice chair. Commenting on his appointment, Steve Harper said: “I am delighted to have been elected to chair the GMA for the next two years. Having recently moved to Gardman after working directly for growing media manufacturers for the past 15 years and being involved in the project to responsibly source and

manufacture growing media, I’m in a great position to be independent and yet fully understand the demands of the industry.” Steve will lead the GMA through an exciting period of change. Working together with partner organisations, Projects four (Responsible Sourcing and Manufacture of Growing Media) and seven (Performance Standards for Amateur Products) of the Growing Media Taskforce will be completed and turned into practical tools for the industry to move forwards. The GMA also plans to fully update its website, incorporating both the GMA and John Innes

Webbs celebrates staff with WAFTAs

websites into one, creating a useful resource for both retailers and consumers.

Homebase announces new partnership


eading home and garden retailer Homebase has announced a new three year partnership with horticultural charity, Greenfingers. The first of a number of joint initiatives will involve members of the Homebase Garden Academy, mentored by awardwinning garden designer

Adam Frost, which aims to raise the profile of careers in gardening and inspire the talent of the future. Students will be invited to attend special workshops about the work Greenfingers does, including trips to hospice gardens and talks from Greenfingers garden designers.

Meadow Croft hosts 12th Viola and Pansy Festival


eadow Croft Garden Centre will host its 12th annual Viola and Pansy Festival from 14-21 March. The festival, which was originally put on to promote the garden centre, has now grown to become the public face of the largest independent variety trial of these plants held in Great Britain. Seeds of new varieties are supplied by plant breeders from around the world, and each year new and experimental varieties are displayed for the first time.


B&M opens garden centre in Cornwall


Visitors to the festival play an important part by voting for their favourite varieties from among those displayed. The votes are counted and the annual Top Ten of the Festival Favourites are published in the gardening press.

Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P06-08 News.indd 8

Amy Whidburn, head of corporate responsibility at Homebase said: “Greenfingers is a fantastic charity that makes a huge difference to families up and down the country. We hope Homebase can make a real difference by helping with its garden projects.”

ast-growing variety retailer B&M opened a new home store with garden centre in Liskeard and hundreds of shoppers turned up for the grand opening. The opening of the home store with garden centre at the Bubble Retail Park is further proof of B&M’s commitment to investing in local communities, with the store creating up to 75 jobs for local people. There is further good news for south-coast residents, with a third Cornwall store due to open in St. Austell.


he WAFTAs or Webbs Awards For Training and Achievements celebrated staff’s endeavours over the last year at a glittering ceremony at the Webbs garden centres in Wychbold and West Hagley in February. Webbs staff went along to the West Midland Safari Park venue near Bewdley to find out who were the stars scooping this year’s top awards. Certificates and prizes were presented to celebrate a wide range of training initiatives and individual and department successes including Colleague of the Year, which was awarded to Rob Fowler in the Wychbold pet and wild bird department and Jared Tibbetts of Webbs, West Hagley. Chairman Ed Webb commented: “This was a great awards evening and it was fantastic to see our staff get together and celebrate their achievements. I’m very proud of our staff and the WAFTAS is a wonderful way to say thank you for their dedication to Webbs.”

26/02/2015 10:45

news: association news

Association news Horticultural Trades Association Love the Plot You’ve Got – your industry, your campaign


arden retailers are being encouraged to sign up to the Love the Plot You’ve Got campaign and maximise the opportunities presented by this industry-wide initiative. Aimed at 30-45 year-olds, Love the Plot You’ve Got seeks to inspire those who have

access to a garden or outdoor space but don’t currently make great use of it. Importantly the aim is to de-mystify not dumb down gardening and to provide people with achievable and realistic ideas. Speaking about the campaign, HTA chief executive Carol Paris said: “We cannot rest on our laurels and simply hope that when people get to 45 they will suddenly develop an interest in gardening. The more we can do as an industry to inspire people at a younger age the better – it is about growing the size of the pie for the industry.” Among the first garden retailers to sign up are Burston Garden Centre, Coolings

the country featuring before and after gardens the size of a shipping container. Kindly transported by Westland Horticulture, the inspirational gardens will be visiting garden festival and city centre venues across the country with the first roadshow taking place on 20-22 March at Good Life Live at Alexandra Palace in London. Garden Centres, Guyana, Merryhatton Garden Centre, New Hopetoun Gardens, St Peters Garden Centre, Cleeve Nursery, Endsleigh Garden Nurseries, Hillview Garden Centres, Ness Botanic Gardens, Perrywood and Summerhill Garden Centre. Inspiration and activity will be focused around There will also be a series of roadshow events across

Other dates confirmed so far include: 8-10 May – Garden Show Ireland 23-24 May – George Square, Glasgow 29-31 May – Gardening Scotland To find out more and sign up for the campaign contact Garden Industry Marketing Board project manager David Arnold. Tel: 07876 643 638. Email:

Garden Centre Association Bird food flies off the shelves during January


embers of the Garden Centre Association (GCA) saw bird food sales soar during January 2015, according to its Barometer of Trade (BoT) results. Sales of wild bird food and associated products increased by 16% on January 2014 and the association puts it down to garden birds needing more food than they did in the milder January last year. Will Armitage, chairman of the GCA, explained: “Birds require high energy, high fat foods during the cold winter weather to maintain their fat reserves so they can survive frosty nights. Our BoT results show that kind-hearted GCR Mar15 P09 Assoc News TW.indd 9

people are certainly willing to help out their feathered friends by providing food for them. Healthy garden birds also help keep pest numbers down in the summer months so it’s important to look after them.” Sales of seeds and bulbs also did well in January, rising by 12.5% and sales of garden

sundries were up 8.6% year on year. Matthew Bent, chief executive at Bents Garden and Home in Cheshire, which won a Garden Centre of Excellence award at this year’s GCA conference, said: “Sundries have been good for us but one of the reasons for our recent expansion is being able to offer more products and experiences that aren’t seasonally focused. “Our food hall, craft shop, cook shop and pet department are all new additions and are already proving beneficial as demonstrated by our January sales figures.” Sales of clothing in January were up by more than 10% on the same period last year. William Blake, manager at St Peter’s Garden Centre

in Worcester, said: “Our clothing department has been performing exceptionally well over the past 12 months, with full year sales up 64%. We took the decision to introduce more ‘fashionable’ brands to the department and it has definitely paid off. In addition, we actively purchase ‘star buys’ for women and men for each month, which sell very well. These are normally well recognised leading brands at promotional prices of up to 50% off.”

Garden Centre Retail March 2015 9

26/02/2015 10:59

AdsTemplate.indd 1 Ad.indd 10 GCR Mar15 P10 Vitavia

24/09/2014 10:24 11:13 26/02/2015

business: opinion

Click & collect: you’re missing a trick if you don’t

Barclays predicts a switch from home delivery to click and collect in the next few years. So, asks Liz Dobbs, how do you get it right?


the customer journey happens in store with your trained staff on hand, rather than on the doorstep, delivered by an anonymous courier with no emotional investment in your business.

’m a great fan of click and collect when it comes to non-gardening purchases, for Christmas shopping in particular, and I’m not alone. Research by Barclays predicts a switch from home delivery to click and collect over the next three years. You might argue that garden centres stock a number of items that need home delivery due to size, weight and installation requirements. This is true but click and collect offers opportunities that garden centres are missing.

Why use click & collect?

More control If integrated with Epos and stock control, click and collect cuts waste as customers are selecting from items you already have. Ordering in advance means you know what your customers are looking for and when they will be in your store to collect their items. That last mile of

efficiently as many of the tasks are actually undertaken by the customer or are automated via the online ordering software.

Getting it right

New customers Click and collect appeals to time-poor garden owners who usually wouldn’t think to go to a garden centre or have found in store browsing frustrating in the past. As well as giving them the chance to browse your products from the comfort of their own sofa, garden centres tend to have good car parking and other facilities that make coming to you more desirable than clicking and collecting from a high street store.

others will be enticed further into the store by well-placed impulse buys or the appeal of your cafe or coffee shop.

Secondary spending Some click and collect customers will just want to get in and out quickly with their items but

Efficient use of staff You don’t need more staff for click and collect, you just use the ones you have more

The Barclays Last Mile survey The Barclays Last Mile survey from August 2014 found...

80 70

84% believe click and collect has become a permanent fixture

60 50

71% see it as critical to


their business success


38% of retailers are


expecting usage to soar more than any other delivery option over the next four years.

GCR Mar15 P11 Liz Dobbs TW.indd 11

Deliveries direct to a consumer’s address are predicted to decrease from 72% to just over 64% of total physical deliveries over the next four years...



...while click and collect volumes are anticipated to rise from 26% to just under 35%.



10 0

This growth may be a result of consumer collection services offering shoppers a more flexible and often cheaper alternative to daytime home delivery.

When a retailer gets click and collect right it is a busy consumer’s dream. You don’t have to pay for delivery and you get your goods quickly at a time of your choosing. For the first purchase, a lot of it is about trust as at the time of ordering you often don’t know how good the collect part will be. Creating a good collecting experience will ensure your customers click and collect again. Getting it right means: • Easy and free parking • A well-organised collection point • The right goods, ready as promised Time-poor convenience shoppers will expect an efficient system for a quick and easy visit. You should remember to highlight any late night openings clearly on your website or send text messages to customers when their orders are ready. On the other hand, make your garden centre really inviting once they’re there and those in and out customers might just stop for a coffee and order something else on their mobile. ◗ Liz Dobbs is a researcher, editor, writer and author on all things garden and plant related. Twitter: @gardenslady

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 10:48

business: opinion

Spring forecast: three trends that will be big in 2015 Jane Perrone examines what’s hot and what’s not in the garden this year


acing on a train from the home counties into London and peeking into people’s back gardens as the train slows, I wonder what Percy Thrower, Geoff Hamilton and other famous gardeners of the past would think of the expanses of lawn littered with trampolines; patios populated by meerkat statues and trees wrapped in fairy lights all year round. The things customers do with their gardens change as lifestyles change, so you need to be on the lookout for the 2015 equivalent of the meerkat statue’s runaway success. As the weather warms up, I explore three trends that look set to catch customers’ eyes in 2015.

Trend 1 – Japanese style

Japanese scissors are everywhere in the UK today. Although the British have been crazy about Japanese gardens

gardening will be springing up everywhere. Japanese gardening tools are also a hit as they are beautifully made and durable; from the hori hori knife for weeding and planting to the ikagata cuttlefish hoe. And Japanese-style food growing is also on the agenda. Just this morning I saw some bonchi – chilli plants trained in an ancient-looking bonsai

“Japanese gardening will be springing up everywhere” for centuries, most of us still aren’t ready to convert our whole plot into a zen gravel garden. However, you can expect the more portable aspects of the tradition to be snapped up in 2015. From the indoor plant trend of kokedama – where ferns and other plants are wrapped in moss and suspended from strings (handy for those with limited space) to whole gardens made of moss, aspects of Japanese


style. Suttons are selling wasabi plants and perilla, the latter long-grown as an ornamental bedder and now being remarketed as a herb.

Trend 2 – Turning on the waterworks

Self-watering systems often scare regular gardeners off. They’re too complicated to set up, too expensive to buy, too much of a faff, but once the system’s in place the

Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P12 Jane Perrone TW.indd 12

benefits are clear. So this year is all about entry level water saving products that look good enough and carry a price tag that means people will put them in their trolley as an impulse buy. I love self-watering hanging baskets. Not only do they cut down on watering can time, they also don’t drip everywhere. The latest generation of selfwatering pots are so attractive that they may convince even the blackest of thumbs to try a houseplant or pot of herbs on the windowsill. Take a look at the offerings of Eva Solo, Rosti and Stewart for examples.

those in new-builds with empty squares for gardens – ‘garden on a roll’ and ‘garden in a box’ products where spacing and plant choice are all decided for you are perfect. Likewise, wildflower and herb seed mats that take guesswork out of seed sowing are going from strength to strength. Keeping your products up to date with the latest trends shows you understand what your customers are interested in, so give the people what they want and watch your sales skyrocket in 2015. ◗

Trend 3 – Takeaway gardening

Garden centres have always been great at catering for the green-fingered but nowadays everyone wants a quick fix and many people just don’t want to have to know which plants grow well with each other, how deep to plant them and what compost to use; they want everything decided and done for them. This is where preplanted containers of all sizes and styles will really come into their own in 2015. Pre-planted hanging baskets and patio containers that can be viewed online and ordered in advance, or bought on the spot as an impulse buy, could entice a whole different demographic into your garden centre. More ambitious operations could include the option of delivery and a seasonal maintenance contract for those willing to sign up. For those with more space but still no time – particularly

Pre-planted containers are set to be big in 2015

Jane Perrone is The Guardian’s gardening editor and the author of The Allotment Keeper’s Handbook Twitter: @janeperrone

26/02/2015 10:48













Buy quality, Buy once for a lifetime of use

We bend test every spade & fork to exceed twice the British Standard

No welds, No weak points. Forged from one piece of steel

Join our Bulldog Garden Club bulldogtoolsgardenclub

ID1633_Bulldog_1ppAdTradeW210 GCR Mar15 P13 Rollins Ad.indd 13x H265mm.indd 1


Our shafts are manufactured using sustainable timber from Europe and the USA

Sales enquiries: 01279 401570

25/02/2015 26/02/2015 15:32 10:26

Natural Fertiliser Range A range of Natural Fertilisers made from plant extracts and seaweed. No animal products are used.

For the discerning organic gardener – Soil Association approved

Balanced healthy nutrition for ALL plants – and bumper crops of fruit and vegetables.

Our seaweed makes the difference... f ference...

GCR Mar15 P14 Maxi Crop Ad.indd 14

26/02/2015 10:26

business: epos

Customer loyalty schemes: maximising the opportunities

With garden centres enjoying high levels of customer loyalty, Keith Bateman says getting the most out of loyalty schemes makes good business sense


n today’s competitive world, satisfying customers’ needs is as fundamental as ever. Through understanding their individual buying habits and interests you can build a relationship and tailor your offering accordingly. Customers are rewarded for their loyalty resulting in repeat visits and further spending with you. With the sector typically enjoying high levels of customer loyalty, it makes business sense to maximise the opportunities available. Loyalty schemes are proven to be effective whether for a large or small single site, across multiple stores or for a large destination centre. Electronic point-of-sale (EPoS) and retail management solutions with integral customer loyalty can help you effectively manage this activity.

How do customer loyalty schemes work? Customers join your loyalty scheme and their personal details are captured, typically including name, address, date of birth and other useful information such as anniversaries or areas of particular interest. All of this data is invaluable in helping you better understand your customers.

Many garden centres issue loyalty cards that are scanned at the tills each time the customer shops. The customer’s transactions are recorded not only for the total spend but importantly, for the items purchased. Customers can accrue points every time they shop with you. There is also the possibility of having multiple cards per households, so collective spend can be pooled really easily.

“It’s vital to ensure offers are tailored, represent great value and are too good to resist” Flexibility and relationship building

You have total flexibility in deciding the value of your loyalty points. For example, one full pound spent could equate to one loyalty point. You can also award points for a particular

GCR Mar15 P15 EPOS TW.indd 15

product, range, time period, date or season. You also decide how and when customers can redeem the points they have accrued. Instant redemption at the tills is one option, moneyoff vouchers to use on a given day, week or month or at a specified event. Building the relationship with the customer is much easier and you can tailor activities and communications with far greater precision than

with the mass mailings of the past, which were costly, timely and untargeted. Personalised mailings and emails are far more relevant and allow you to easily track their effectiveness. Advanced loyalty features can harness further opportunities, for example a free gift and incentive to visit on the customer’s birthday, anniversary or in line with seasonal buying patterns for

bedding plants, Christmas or Easter. In-store promotions can be linked with loyalty membership too. Bounce back couponing is an extremely effective tool for encouraging repeat visits in the short term, with coupons typically having a date range for redemption. At the point-ofsale, coupons for the individual customer can be triggered and printed based on their basket value or linked to particular items purchased. For example, a customer buying plants could receive a coupon discounting compost on their next visit or everyone could receive a coupon for a free cup of coffee between specified dates.

What this means for garden centres

Phil Gass, finance and marketing director of Creative Gardens in Northern Ireland said: “Loyalty has become crucially important to us, with approximately 50% of our shoppers in the loyalty club and those customers spending on average twice as much as nonmembers. “It’s vital to ensure offers are tailored, represent great value and are too good to resist! We can easily monitor the success of each coupon, so if it didn’t work well we can try something else. It’s important to keep evolving and keep the offer fresh”. ◗ Keith Bateman leads the customer service and commercial activities for Davidson Richards retail solutions and has a wealth of experience working with garden centre customers, including three of the UK’s top five independent centres by turnover

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 10:54

business: customer loyalty

Are they being served?

Dennis Reid explores how implementing a customer service strategy can lead to better brand identity, customer loyalty and profits Promoting your services

Firstly, your spring sales strategy means merchandising to sell and improving your verbal marketing.

engagement and customer knowledge, which means training your teams in the basics of engagement and discovery.

Self-selling solutions At least 30% of your displays need to sell themselves by showing solutions to common problems. Showcase your products alongside inspirational planting plans and highlight key selling points such as plants for borders, corners, shade and sun.

Person to person engagement Show your staff how to create a friendly atmosphere. This might mean putting the customer in a good mood, asking them how their day is going, commenting on the time of year or asking whether they’ve visited your centre before.

“Great service is when the customer goes home and thinks you are my garden guru” Vital information Use POS to offer advice on how to achieve top results in the garden. This can be done in bullet points ending with a call to action to speak to your in-store expert.

Ga rden G u ru

Verbal marketing Prepare a best practice guide that every staff member can H A PP Y T O HELP follow when approaching a hen they browser who looks can, shoppers interested. will always choose control over service. Filling stations used to have Converting service attendants and the only way to into sales book a flight was with a travel Great service is not just about agent. But now consumers are being nice. Service is when increasingly concerned with your customer goes home and convenient, solution-focused thinks “You helped me create shopping. the outcome I wanted – you That said, advice is a are my garden guru.” different matter. In order to As in any relationship, both lure customers away from parties have to benefit from control and over to customer great service. In this case, the service you need specialists customer gets the solution who offer inspired solutions they need and you get a and help shoppers to make regular customer. At your end, better decisions. this requires inspirational



Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P16 Dennis Reid TW.indd 16

Discovery This means asking key questions to find out what your customers like and what they want. Make a list of killer questions everyone should ask customers who express an interest in something. This might include where they plan to put it, what will be close by and what look they are trying to achieve. You also need to find out how knowledgeable they are. Get your staff to practise asking these questions and test each other on what they’ve learned about their clientele.

Generating profit

Generating profit is not as simple as selling more products. It’s about winning more customers, providing better solutions and creating customer loyalty. More recommendations Make sure you give simple advice at every opportunity. More items per visit As well as having featured products, identify at least 20

Differentiating your service It’s not enough for your service to be great; it also needs to stand out from the crowd. What will make shoppers choose your garden centre over others? There are four real differentiators that make a destination garden centre: Innovation – You have new products and are first to market. Relationship – You strive for excellence and giving genuinely useful service. Scope – You have greater variety than anyone else. Efficiency – You’ve always got what the customer wants and it’s easy to find. Of this list, choose the two differentiators that matter most to your clientele, and focus on delivering these before anything else.

accompanying products and offer them every time. More repeat visits Always give customers a reason to return. Point out next month’s features, upcoming events and opportunities to meet the experts. Finally, think about every stage of the customer journey. Specify what you want your teams to do throughout the sales experience, from the welcome and navigation to inspiration and engagement. Above all, leave a lasting impression and a reason for customers to return. ◗ For a complementary 30 minute conversation to discuss how to improve your business, please contact RPS. 01344 849397

26/02/2015 11:24

a d v e r tpi sr oi nd gu cf te al it nu er es

Baby Bio® goes outdoors! Baby Bio®, well known as Britain’s favourite houseplant food brand*, is moving outdoors


aby Bio® Vitality is a new fertiliser range with unique attributes that help gardeners grow plants with more fruit & vegetables packed with flavour and more produce than ever before. The Baby Bio® Vitality range combines bio-stimulants and nutrients. Designed to optimise a plants’ development, the mix of ingredients creates the Activator Effect, that allows the plant to absorb the right food at the right time in its life cycle, releasing nature’s full potential.

Baby Bio® Vitality – The Range

Water only

Fed with Top Growth Edibles

Top Growth Flowers is a unique boosted plant food suitable for all kinds of flowering plants and shrubs. It encourages fast and balanced growth and plants fed with it produce up to 70% more flowers**.

Educate to drive link-sales Combining the different products in the range at the right stage in the plant’s life cycle triggers the Activator Effect, producing fantastic results.

Top Bloom, with its special blend of micronutrients, produces bright, colourful and long lasting blooms that have thicker petals**.

“Consumers will buy a combination of products from the Baby Bio® Vitality range if they understand the power of the feeding programme,” explained Alison Mulvaney. “We are educating them through press advertising, online activity, point of sale and in-store displays. There is also a compelling ‘buy one get one half price’ offer.”

Top Growth Edibles is suitable for all kinds of fruit & vegetables. It is a boosted plant food that encourages fast and balanced growth for strong and healthy plants. In trials run in Bayer’s Research and Development facilities yields were up to 35% higher than crops fed with standard NPK fertilisers.

Sell more with Top Defence

“Retailers can drive up sales by making the

Fed with Top Growth Edibles and Top Taste

most of the Top Defence’s potential,” said Alison Mulvaney. “Highlighting the moments when Top Defence can make a difference – for example, planting out bedding plants and during the holiday season when plants might be a little neglected – will show consumers the need.” *

GfK GB Panelmarket excl. Ironmongers, Houseplant Food, YTD July 2014, value and volume ** Compared to unfed plants *** Compared to treating with standard NPK fertiliser Baby Bio is a registered trademark of Bayer CropScience

Top Taste has the perfect balance of micronutrients for improved ripening and better-flavoured and more nourishing vegetables and sweeter, tastier fruit***. Top Defence has a preventative and curative action, guarding against the negative effects of cold, drought and transplanting.

Simple 2 step feeding programme for top results

Feeding programme for flowers Feed regularly with Top Growth Flowers for accelerated balanced growth and when the flowers appear introduce Top Bloom for long lasting, bright coloured flowers. Feeding programme for edibles Feed regularly with Top Growth Edibles for accelerated, balanced growth. When the fruit or vegetables start to form use Top Taste as well to improve ripening and boost the flavour. Images for representative purposes only

GCR Mar15 P17 Bayer advertorial.indd 17

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 10:27

From the company that brought you the revolutionary EASYJoint...

It’s another amazing product

A slip resistant wood sealer and preserver designed for decking • Ground-breaking technology dramatically increases traction on wet timber decking and floors • Invisible coating - will not change the texture or colour • Seals the wood but still allows it to “breathe” • Provides a substantial improvement over traditional tanalising treatments • Water based - contains no abrasives


01473 760777 or

For trade enquiries Phone:01903 538617 07971 137387 FOR THE TABLE THAT CATERS FOR BOTH THE ABLE-BODIED AND WHEELCHAIR USER At World of Benches we provide quality, well-built picnic tables at an affordable price. Our picnic tables are in a class of their own, they feature wheelchair access points and no structure under the table as found on all benches, they are also very robust, incredibly strong and totally unique. Standard Benches are also available.

GCR Mar15 P18 Azpects / World of Benches Ad.indd 18

26/02/2015 10:27

business: driving footfall

Let them eat cake: how to increase footfall to your coffee shop Garden centre and catering consultant Doug Stewart shares ten ways to boost off-peak footfall to your coffee shop


hat if you could see your coffee shop as your customers see it? Here are ten ways to get into the mind of your customer and direct them to your cafe during off-peak times.

Coffee Shop

1Show them the way

The first point of call in driving footfall to your coffee shop is making sure your customers can actually find it. What visual clues are you giving to your first time customers? Does the coffee shop spill out into an outdoor seating area? Is it clearly visible from the customer journey you have designed? Simply adding floor graphics such as adhesive coffee cups can significantly increase the number of new customers visiting the coffee shop for the first time.

Show passion for 2 breakfast, lunch and dinner

A lot of garden centres focus on their midday menu but you can drive up footfall during off-peak times by pouring the same amount of passion into your early morning and late afternoon catering. Introduce lighter breakfast offerings such as eggs benedict, eggs florentine, complimentary morning newspapers and free coffee refills before 11am.


Make use of other departments

Utilise your point of sale and cross promotions throughout your departments to boost off-peak coffee shop sales. With a little bit of creative thought you can drive customers to your new offpeak menus. ‘Two FREE

early bird coffees with this fruit tree’ may be a more effective sales message than a more standard ‘10% off all fruit trees this month.’


Cater to your customers’ habits

Carefully analyse your EPoS data to understand who your customer is and what they are looking for. If customers who buy fresh herbs also tend to visit the coffee shop, you

6 Tap into TV favourites

If the viewing figures are anything to go by, your customers love The Great Allotment Challenge and The Great British Bake Off. You can tap into this passion with show stopping cakes, afternoon tastings of homemade jams, cordials and chutneys and late afternoon baking and gardening masterclasses in the coffee shop.

“Carefully analyse your EPoS data to understand who your customer is” can put point of sale for your off-peak coffee shop offer by the herbs. Or you could create an off-peak promotion offering a free herb plant when customers enjoy a cuppa and slice of cake in the afternoon.

customer 5 Reward loyalty

A loyalty report identifying customers who have shopped in the garden centre in the last 12 weeks, but who have not visited the coffee shop, could be used to send offpeak vouchers introducing those customers to your catering offers.

GCR Mar15 P19 Doug Stewart Increase Footfall TW.indd 19

customers to 7 Get bounce back

Bounce back vouchers can be incredibly effective in introducing customers to new products such as a new off-peak menu. Giving all lunchtime customers a two for one bounce back voucher for the new breakfast menu can be a very effective way of driving footfall to the coffee shop early in the morning.

something special 8 Do in the evening

Many garden centres are filling their coffee shops on late night shopping evenings by creating

special menus. A popular example would be a bowl of hearty gardener’s stew at a promotional price.

with the 9 Engage local community

Encourage ‘knit and natter’ and other groups to adopt the coffee shop in afternoons or early mornings. Provide offers to promote chill out time for parents before they pick the kids up from school or ‘school’s out children’s teas’ that take the strain off mum.

your staff 10 Get involved

The key to achieving better off-peak sales is to have fun and engage with your staff. Create a culture where staff can share ideas and are rewarded for their efforts. Delighting the customer should always be at the heart of everything you do. ◗ Doug Stewart of Waring Stewart Associates is passionate about garden centres and how they can take their catering to the next level. He can be contacted at www.

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 10:54

business: sales trends

Get trending: how to predict the next big thing for your business Clear Retail’s Mike Still explains the importance of trends and shows garden centres how to predict what their customers will want in the future

In the seasonal world of home and garden, future trends and colour are big news for your business


n the world of garden centre retail, the plants, garden furniture, home accessories, food and the clothing that you sell are all affected by trends and, of course, lifestyle. As a ‘lifestyle’ retailer it is important to understand how trends and colour have an impact upon the success of your business. The trend towards outdoor living and bringing the home into the garden has had a major impact upon the UK home retail sector. This particular trend has grown over the last few years and seems set to continue, clearly representing a big opportunity for home and garden retailers to increase sales and grow markets further. We have seen high street retailers such as Next open ‘lifestyle’ stores with outdoor


spaces competing directly with garden centres. M&S Home now sells more outdoor lifestyle products than ever before. These retailers have recognised the trend towards outdoor living and are maximising their sales by breaking into new or expanding markets.

Where garden centres come in

As consumers look to buy into this lifestyle the garden centre is the first place they seek inspiration. But understanding where to position your garden centre is difficult. While it is unlikely that being on the leading edge of fashion is essential for most garden centres, having an understanding of the latest trends and colour is.

Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P20-21 Trend forecasting TW.indd 20

As in all retail, the garden centre faces the challenges of understanding what’s going to sell in the immediate future, which is hard enough as it is, as well as what will sell in the next season or beyond. Choosing

“Forming a picture of what the future will look like is essential” the right products to sell is a skill and in the seasonal world of home and garden, the impact that trends and colour have on your business can make the difference between success and failure.

Trying to form a picture of what the future will look like is essential to staying ahead but being at the leading edge is difficult and brings with it a whole host of issues. Predicting trends is an art and one that many retailers spend tens of thousands of pounds a year to get right.

Getting ahead of the curve

Understanding what the trends will be takes time. It involves a continuous effort of ‘hunting and gathering’, compiling observations in a wide variety of subjects including art and design, science, technology, food and travel to name but a few. It’s about knowing what happened in the past, what’s happening now and

26/02/2015 10:56

business: sales trends

So here’s where to find inspiration, reassurance and the informed wisdom that you need:


Home and garden magazines are always a great source of reassurance and usually have features on home colours and trends. You’ll usually get a good source for inspiration and they are always an interesting read.


Pinterest is a fantastic site to seek information about upcoming trends. Go to and search home trends/colour trends and you will find boards of images from various sources. These boards will confirm 2015 and will be predicting 2016, which is great for verification and groundwork before buying in your new ranges.

predicting what will be big in the future. While information gathering is at the heart of predicting trends, personal intuition and an eye for what's next is essential. Unfortunately this can't necessarily be taught or even explained but an understanding of trends and future colour palettes will help you buy for your garden centre in an informed way. Trying to do this in-house is expensive in terms of both time and money. Buying in expertise as and when required is always an option and much can be gained from the skills on offer. However, it is possible to find simple colour trend information yourself from colour reference companies, colour charts and stories. Though it sounds simple, there are a few things you can do to help verify your buy and save yourself from hitting margins too hard at the end of the season.

The year ahead

Retail buying and range selection is about getting the right product at the right time and a simple understanding of trends and trend forecasting will help get those buying decisions right. Being able to

GCR Mar15 P20-21 Trend forecasting TW.indd 21


Try to understand what other retailers are doing, especially those based in London such as Selfridges, Heals or Habitat or US retailers like Crate & Barrel or ABC Carpet & Home. They are usually first to identify up and coming retail ideas.


Pantone sell information about the forthcoming season’s colours, colour charts and stories to help you verify your buy, at a reasonable rate.

Visit where you will be able to buy their trend forecasts for the following year or subscribe to Pantone View which will give you colour knowledge and keep you on track.


The internet is always a good source of information. Sites like Elle Decor will help make sense of the colour palettes and how they are used.


A good supplier will always share trend and colour information with you. Remember suppliers share a common goal with you – they want to sell their product and if they’re any good, will have done much of the work already by creating products that are on trend.

The trend for bringing the home into the garden has seen high street retailers like Next open ‘lifestyle’ stores

predict what your customers want will help you make informed decisions about which products to buy and how much to invest. So what’s on trend this year? Hopefully you already know and have already bought wisely so it would be somewhat churlish to tell you that brights are out as we

move into more greyed-down and muted colours! Just think about how much lifestyle imagery customers are bombarded with today, driven by fashion, design, colour collections and all reinforced through the media and other retail. Quite simply, if you link into this imagery success should be assured. ◗

Mike Still is a director at retail marketing consultants Clear Retail, which analyses, designs and merchandises retail concepts to help increase sales. 01636 830 270

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 10:56

business: family emotions

Family business: The effect of emotions o Dr Nicola Davies takes a look at decision making within family-run garden centres where emotions are often running high


hen it comes to decision making in a family business, it’s often all too easy to let emotions rule so that you end up making choices that will be regretted later. In a familyrun garden centre it’s not just business, it’s personal for all involved and this can lead to some pretty heated discussions. So how do you keep the peace while making the best choice for your business?

A seven step process

To keep your emotions in check you need to keep a level head at every stage. Psychologist Sacha Griffiths identifies seven steps you need to take in the decision-making process. “Identify what decision needs to be made; gather the information necessary to make it; identify your options; weigh up the evidence; choose the option the family deems best and lastly, review and evaluate the decision made before taking action.” Pam Jacob, of the Driefontein Nursery and Garden Centre in the Ballito area of the Dolphin Coast of South Africa, had to make the difficult and emotional decision to move from the nursery and her family home on a large tract of land which developers had their eye on. For Jacob and her family it was a wrench to move from what had been carefully built up over many years. On the other hand, a change proved to be ripe with new opportunities. “The move from the land, which is now being developed,


to our present spot ‘The Litchi Orchard,’ was all part of progress and our present location is, for me, the better of the two choices at this stage in our history.”

Getting the best out of your emotional assets

While your family need to keep a handle on their emotions, that doesn’t mean you can’t utilise them. Emotion has been seen as a negative influence in rational decision-making but studies have shown that, as long as you take responsibility for your choices, various emotional, environmental and social factors can play a positive role. For example, the enthusiasm that garden centre owners display for their business will rub off onto customers, who leave with memories of an

Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P22-25 Family run business TW.indd 22

engaging interaction with staff in addition to a car laden with gardening paraphernalia. When your family has a brainstorming session about a decision that needs to be made, it is fine to go with intuition or gut feeling – but only if all involved agree. Only when you own your decisions and take responsibility for your actions can you make any situation an opportunity for success. You need to find the positive in every change and make the most of it in order to create your own success. Taking responsibility can be an important aspect of preventing family rifts later. “The key feature in all decisions is about taking responsibility for one’s own success,” says Griffiths. Perception differs from person to person, depending

on their experience and values so the involvement of everyone impacted is essential. Not everyone will be 100% happy with a group decision but if you can get the majority to commit to making it work, the family can evaluate progress at a set time. Family is more important than money and if there is no agreement then it may be better to part ways as far as business is concerned.

SWOTting up on family strengths

Fortunately in family-run nurseries and retail plant centres, the love for plants and landscaping is often inherited. However, it’s important to remember that each person will have different strengths and weaknesses. A SWOT analysis can help establish

26/02/2015 11:00

business: family emotions

s on decision making The family business panel Joe Mansfield, Woolley Moor Nurseries

Do you encounter any problems while working as a family? You’re bound to face problems while working within a family unit. I think the biggest problem that we face is that you always expect more of each other as you’re family not just colleagues. The other issue is that, as a family you make your differences of opinion known more than if you were working with people outside of your personal life. What advice do you have for other family businesses? The best advice that I could give to other family businesses is to remember that you are a family first and a business second. As a family unit you know each other’s strengths and weaknesses better than anyone and that should be used as an advantage within the company.

Charlie Groves, Groves Nurseries

“Young blood can take the family business to the next level” what each family member’s strengths are, their potential weaknesses, opportunities available through training, and lastly, any potential threats they might bring. Threats may originate from behaviour such as overspending, anger management issues or a tendency not to communicate decisions. When deciding who to put in charge of customer complaints, it might not be wise to select someone with anger management issues. In a family business, each person should be placed according to their merits – someone might not have the proverbial green fingers, but they may be fantastic at

GCR Mar15 P22-25 Family run business TW.indd 23

promoting sales. Jacob bears this out when she says: “I have a huge respect for my two managers, Rita and Stella, and I am always prepared to listen to their point of view and experience. This is also essential within a family business. I now have my son, Russell, helping me with the debtors and marketing side and I respect his judgement and ideas – but he must respect mine for us to work well together.” Perhaps there is a family member with an eye for design who could open a landscaping section using plants propagated at the nursery. This could see business expand without 

Do you encounter any problems while working as a family? Do we encounter any problems? Without getting myself in too much trouble I would say one of the hardest things about a family business is the emotional attachment associated with working in a business you have built, where you live and work in every day. It can be quite hard to make the distinction between business-based decisions and emotional ones. Do you have any decision making strategies? No we don’t really have a formal decision making process, we just try and speak to each other. The golden rule is don’t forget to tell mum.

Tony Airey, Wentworth Garden Centre

Do you find it hard to keep emotions in check when dealing with business issues? Not really. We have encountered and dealt with everything that ‘business’ can throw at us to date. Perhaps we were more emotive as a young couple in our early thirties with a young family and borrowings but we quickly found out that there is a solution to most issues (generally based around hard work and long hours). How do you agree, as a family, on big decisions about the business? In a nutshell, as a family-run independent we generally see eye to eye on the way forward in terms of general principles. The detail can be a little more problematic but a consensus is normally achieved amicably.

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 11:01

Thermoflor congratulates Bents Garden Centre

Bents Garden Centre in Glazebury has just opened the latest

Thermoflor congratulates Bents on the opening of

phase in its expansion, launching six new retail departments.

the new retail area, wishing them profitable business!

Trespass/Nevis Sports, C-Crafts, a cook shop, food hall and


a children’s boutique have opened in units ranging from

Please feel free to contact Thermoflor to discuss


your expansion or renovation:

Bents started up this phase last year together with the

Ferry Breugem, salesmanager

Dutch building firm Thermoflor, which enables garden cen-

tres worldwide to expand.

Tel. +(31)6 531 943 54 / + (31)45 541 14 58

Follow Thermoflor:

GCR Mar15 P24 Thermoflor Ad.indd 24

26/02/2015 10:28

business: family emotions clashing with the growing sections, which are run a certain way. Many nurseries incorporate restaurants and cafes, which would give a budding chef in the family an opportunity to make a name through the family business while at the same time adding value.

Decision-making between the generations Young blood can take the family business to the next level and expand your number of outlets through the use of social media, but this isn’t always an easy path. This fits with Pam Jacob’s experience: “I am the head of the business and have tried working with my son, Bradley, who now has a separate landscaping and maintenance company run independently of ours, but bearing the Driefontein name. Brad and I didn’t last long as a team. I find within my family there are no true retailers. To be a successful retailer you must be a servant to the people and can’t display arrogance at any cost.” Sometimes the best decision is to accept you might not be able to work with some family members. When parents have run a nursery for years before their children join the business, there are bound to be differences of opinion that you should allow and prepare for. “Working in a family business is extremely difficult,” says Jacob. “Rules need to be laid

Family feuds and inflated egos aren’t always bad for business, but these are extreme exceptions

GCR Mar15 P22-25 Family run business TW.indd 25

down at the outset, especially when strong personalities are involved.” The parents within a family business have often followed a tried and trusted procedure to reach success – and then youngsters step in with all sorts of new ideas. It is important to examine each new proposal on its merits before making a decision. “It is very important to be open,” says Griffiths. “No one should feel obligated to join the family business. Only join a family business if you have a true interest.”

out with strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.

Accepting outside help

Another important aspect of decision making within a family business is that everyone needs to put their egos aside and concentrate on what is good for the business as a whole. When presented with a life-changing decision involving the family business, putting egos aside can be extremely difficult and Griffiths suggests calling in an outside mediator. A mediator with some emotional distance

Despite the problems family businesses can face in keeping their emotions out of the decision-making process, there are some successfully-run family businesses that have been in the family for centuries.

Still working at 102 years old

“Putting egos aside can be extremely difficult” Make decisions together

Having the right family members in the right roles makes other business decisions a lot easier but this doesn’t make the decision-making process problem-free. Again, a SWOT analysis can help, being applicable to new products, places and industries. If you’re doubting the best option to choose you’ll tend to focus on the your current emotional state and this heightens your perception of the risks of taking action. Let’s say you’re unsure where to place the indoor plants. Do a SWOT analysis and let all the family have a say. That way, you won’t be excessively focused on the threats but will be able to balance this factor

will be able to help keep the process on track and defuse potentially damaging situations. By focusing on everyone’s strengths, taking responsibility for decisions and seeking mediation when necessary, there’s no reason that a familyrun garden centre can’t make successful decisions on a regular basis. ◗ Dr Nicola Davies is a psychologist and writer, with an interest in the psychology of business. She has had hundreds of articles published in magazines around the world. Twitter: @healthpsychuk Web: healthpsychology

Phyllis Self was well known as one of the oldest working bosses – running a chain of garden centres until the ripe old age of 102 with the aid of her family, who have since taken over the operations. She passed away in 2013 at the age of 105. Self and her husband established the Whitehall Garden Centre in Wiltshire in 1968 by taking advantage of accessibility from a bypass road that split their farm in two. They never looked back.

High Peak, one of the oldest garden centres in England High Peak Garden Centre in Bamford, Derbyshire, was established in 1947 and at 68 years old is one of the oldest garden centres in England. Like most family-run garden centres, the service is personal and friendly, offering good value for money and a pleasant coffee shop – because buying plants should be an occasion, not just a chore.

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 11:02

fp er ao tduurcet : lliente’ s h e a r i t f r o m . . .


Paul Loft Paul Loft, Managing Director at Homebase, discusses current and future plans for the garden business


Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P26-29 Let's Hear It From TW.indd 26

26/02/2015 11:04

feature: let’s hear it from... How did Homebase Garden start? The garden centre has been an important part of Homebase ever since the first store opened in March 1981. The venture was described as ‘enormous’, with a 4,500 sq ft greenhouse and nursery as well as a 10,000 sq ft garden centre. The original proposition was all about offering everything customers needed for the home and garden – and this still remains very much at the heart of the business today.

“Customer service is at the heart of what we do” What plans do you have for expansion? Over the last few years, Homebase has been investing in new store formats and looking to drive online sales growth. Stores: Part of this investment in stores has seen an inspirational new approach to gardening. The new garden centres are laid out into three distinct zones to help customers create a great outdoor living space, however big or small their garden, patio or balcony might be. • The Grow Your Own Zone gives those wanting to produce their own fruit and vegetables a vast array of products. • The Plant Zone has garden plants laid out according to their needs, making it easier to plant for shady borders or sunny spots. • The Building Zone allows customers to make a considered choice when selecting the right shed or arbour – all of which are available to take home the same day. Stores are also Wi-Fi enabled and colleagues have been equipped with tablet devices and headsets to help communication and customer service. Online: With nearly 40% of our customers looking for ideas online before visiting us in store, last year Homebase launched a new look website to help customers find the information they need to ‘get the look’ – no matter how big or small their home projects. As well as offering improved functionality and easy to navigate pages, GCR Mar15 P26-29 Let's Hear It From TW.indd 27

there are over 50 videos to help with almost every gardening dilemma, from laying turf to planting a fruit tree. We’re also working with industry experts such as award-winning garden designer Adam Frost and the UK’s leading lawn expert David Hedges-Gower to offer even more help and advice to customers ahead of this year’s summer months. Customer service is at the heart of what we do and giving customers the convenience to shop how they want, when they want is increasingly important. We have simplified the checkout process to make it easier to arrange home delivery and Reserve and Collect in store in one transaction, offering more flexibility than ever. How important are plants to your garden business? Extremely. Homebase is the second largest garden centre in the UK and one of the biggest categories in terms of sales and volume of products sold is plants. Homebase will have a presence at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2015 with a show garden for the sixth consecutive year – having won a gold medal for three years running. The world’s most prestigious flower show is the perfect opportunity for us to inspire gardeners, whatever their experience. We offer the Chelsea Collection, a range of plants and seeds inspired by this year’s garden, allowing people to create their own Chelsea look at home. Our hardy annual plants also have a five year guarantee. What changes have you seen in the industry? We are part of an industry that is undergoing profound change. This change is being driven by the consumer – for example, they are changing the way they use technology and as a result, we as an industry need to think differently about how we attract people into gardening. It’s important to listen to our customers and understand how we can change to meet their needs. For example, we understand that younger people need different things from their garden and want different experiences compared to previous generations.

Where did the idea for the Homebase Garden Academy Training programme come from, and what plans do you have for it? The Homebase Garden Academy is a pioneering scheme set up to help unearth Britain’s next generation of gardening talent. Founded in partnership with award-winning garden designer Adam Frost, the 12-month programme aims to help young people with an interest in gardening, garden design and horticulture to kick-start a career within the sector. This year, the Garden Academy received 1,300 applications, which is great. But we won’t solve this problem alone – working with suppliers enables us to create meaningful opportunities that will really start driving change. 

Adam Frost, garden designer

David Hedges-Gower, the UK’s leading lawn expert

Garden Centre Retail March 2015 27

26/02/2015 11:04

feature: let’s hear it from...

“We need to be more connected to customers than ever before” Addressing concerns over a shortage of young, skilled gardening professionals in the UK, students are offered the opportunity to develop a broad range of gardening and horticultural knowledge and skills, including an RHS Level 1 Award in practical horticulture. Each month academy students join Adam at Britain’s largest collection of individually designed gardens, Barnsdale Gardens in Rutland, which was created by the BBC Gardener’s World presenter Geoff Hamilton. Students learn about garden planning and design as well as working with a variety of garden suppliers and manufacturers to develop detailed product knowledge and planting and landscaping skills. At other times students work full-time at their local Homebase store to gain experience of garden retailing and buying. Launched in September 2013, the programme’s 10 inaugural graduates have all gone on to secure roles within the industry, including as trainee garden designers and horticultural buyers. The programme is now in its second year and has doubled its number of students. This


Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P26-29 Let's Hear It From TW.indd 28

year’s intake will also work alongside Adam to help build The Homebase ‘Urban Retreat’ Garden at the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. How important is having an online presence? Do you intend to develop the garden section further? It’s very important – and becoming increasingly so. Customers want access to a wider range of plants along with the convenience of ordering online with home delivery or collection as an option. We are actively growing our presence and will have some 2,500 lines available as online transactional products by March 2015. This is just the start of a number of new developments and additional features on our digital channels that we will be bringing to our customers in the coming months. What role does social media play in providing customer service? Social media is playing an increasingly important role and we need to be more connected to our customers than ever before. Homebase has a presence across the most popular social channels and this not only allows us to share our inspiration, help and advice, but also to give our customers easy access to information and services. We have a

26/02/2015 11:04

feature: let’s hear it from... reserve stock in stores nationwide and allow its customers to find their nearest Homebase using GPS. Taking advantage of the huge growth in mobile and tablet ownership, Homebase now sees over 50% of its traffic coming through these devices. The app has seen immediate success with more than 70,000 downloads across multiple devices, helping it to become one of the app store’s most popular lifestyle applications.

whole suite of apps to support these channels and the website such as: Homebase PlantMatch This iPhone app enables gardeners to find the right plants for their garden. It asks gardeners to take a compatibility test to help them find plants that are just right for them depending on their experience, the level of care they are able to provide and the garden that they have. The app is especially useful in store, where customers can scan bar codes to find information about plants and whether they are compatible with their needs. The app also enables customers to save plants to their LoveList to keep track of their favourites.

Above: Pots and ornaments from the new Outdoor Living Collection 2015 Far left: The Amalfi Stone and Kiwi Bistro set from Hombase’s Modern Nature trend Left: Explorer trend; Global Stone elephant and terracotta warrior

How do you recruit staff for your garden business? We aim to provide opportunities for local people with a genuine interest in gardening and who want to inspire our customers. We offer a high level of expertise, with many of our garden centre colleagues trained to City and Guilds level in horticulture under our garden license, to ensure they have the expertise to help customers make the best choices for their gardens. What was the most successful part of 2014 for your business? Bedding plants continue to make up around 50% of the sales volume, but we have recently experienced great success expanding into new product areas such as big specimen plants and planted containers.

What plans do you have for 2015? We’re investing in new ranges this year, including our explorer collection. This range is designed with comfort in mind and is inspired by Italy, with blends of rattan, fabrics and chic styles in muted shades. The new SS15 collection features an array of products across three trends to ensure alfresco living spaces are stylish and functional this summer. As part of ongoing digital developments and in a bid to make gardening more accessible, we are also expanding our online offer to include thousands of plants, which will be available to purchase from March 2015. We’ve confirmed a three year partnership with the Greenfingers charity and we will be joining forces on a number of joint initiatives. The first venture will involve members of the Homebase Garden Academy, mentored by award-winning garden designer Adam Frost, which aims to raise the profile of a career in gardening and inspire gardening talent of the future. ◗ Paul Loft Managing Director Homebase, 0345 077 8888

Homebase app The new app, which runs on multiple devices including iOS 7 and Android, offers an array of features including the ability to browse and refine its entire product collection, check and

GCR Mar15 P26-29 Let's Hear It From TW.indd 29

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 11:05

feature: award-winning catering

A focus on catering: award-winning Fron Goch Garden Centre

Melanie Sewell, director and restaurant manager from recent GCA awardwinning Fron Goch Garden Centre shares her journey into catering, what they’ve learnt and how it now represents a huge part of their annual turnover 30

Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P30-33 Catering Fron Goch USE THIS.indd 30

26/02/2015 11:07

feature: award-winning catering

“Our customers were very traditional – wow, did they resist change, but we turned the corner, were no longer the bad guys and Sunday and Thursday carvery took off”


t’s autumn 2006 at Fron Goch garden centre and we have expansion plans. We know the next step should be a cafe though we have heard how horrific it can be. In January 2007 my father and I attended an HTA run course on “Opening a Cafe” at Planters in Tamworth. A few months and £370,000 later, on 24 March we were open!

Setting up

Crikey, it was a steep learning curve. Our focus on great coffee, simple, fresh, honest food and service with a smile led to growth of 30-40% year on year for three years. I never truly felt in control. Staffing levels never seemed to catch up with trade. A shipping container was put out back for storage, something I’m sure many of you must have done! Our saving grace was that our menu was simple, concise and used the same ingredients in many different dishes. Waste was as near to zero as it could be. We made our scones but bought local handmade cakes. With 80 covers and a kitchen that was only 8m² including pot wash, we turned over £410,000 in our second full year with 21% net profit. “We’re on to something here,” we thought! Great you think, but it wasn’t sustainable. It revolved around extraordinary colleagues making a superhuman effort. Queues were too long, customers were table blocking and Sunday trade was poor compared to Saturdays. The customers wanted their roast dinner.

Investing in change

We took a leap into the unknown with proper main meals and progressed to making all our own cakes. Now a little about our customers. They were traditional and loved what we already did. Wow, did they resist change! So we spent

GCR Mar15 P30-33 Catering Fron Goch USE THIS.indd 31

£120,000 and with a new menu, repositioning of the kitchen and washroom, more staff and two new counters that were partly self-service, a rocky few months lay ahead of us. But we turned the corner, were no longer the bad guys and Sunday and Thursday carvery took off.

hot and of a high enough standard to ensure repeat business and positive referrals from customers. So vouchers for two meals for £10 were included and were a great success. We attribute the increase in footfall to these vouchers and our restaurant advertising budget is solely spent on this.

Customer service

The Fron Goch USP

One thing this new setup immediately highlighted was the need for attentive and positively bubbly customer service. Our older customers do not appreciate having to carry their own food. Families do not like to gather their meals from various counters – not to mention it being a confusing offer to new customers. A greeter and a floater is imperative to guide, inform and help these customers. This ensures customers are sat down feeling impressed and not overwhelmed or even exasperated. One cannot underestimate the importance of service with a smile. Immediate acknowledgement of customers approaching the counter and familiarity with regulars are genuine reasons for customers to keep returning.

We are constantly tweaking and trying our best to keep looking with fresh eyes. We have made little changes each year; breaking up the seating area, creating zones and a children’s area, introducing a gas log burner for a warmer environment. Regarding our food and drink, 

Left: Carvery is open Thursdays and Sundays Below: Director Melanie Sewell

The secret of customer loyalty

Now we needed to increase customer numbers in the cafe. Gone was the menu that customers ordered from, now they bought with their eyes. So food offerings and displays needed to be generous (volume sells volume), but this led to huge wastage. We already had a loyalty card in the garden centre so along with card holders’ quarterly letter we included vouchers for the cafe. The aim was to drive footfall at quieter times; 9.30-11.30 and 3-5pm. We quickly realised that lunchtime trade needed to be brisker to ensure food on the hot plate was both

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 11:09

• Restaurant Design Experts

need expert restaurant advice?

• Free Design and Planning Service • UK Manufacturers and Direct Furniture Importers • Bespoke Furniture and Retail Design • Specialist Curtain and Blind Makers • Commercial Flooring and Carpets • Fully Project Managed Installations

Call us today for a free consultation to make the most of your restaurant’s potential

01242 673555

GCR Mar15 P32 Abbey Leisure Ads.indd 32

26/02/2015 10:29

feature: award-winning catering scones, jam and clotted cream and freshly made sandwiches), with tea or coffee all for £7.50 per person, every day from 3-5pm. Consequently we sell 60-100 every week.

Future plans

With increasing trade we’re expanding again, this time to 210 seats. There will be a general facelift, some counter alterations and an extended seating area to include a space more conducive for gardening talks, children’s little digger classes and breakfast and tea with Santa.

Catering is very important to garden centres. In the initial course we went down, labour and food costs as a percentage of turnover were stressed and our aim was to meet the industry average of 33%. We calculate labour costs monthly and staff get a bonus when achieving under 33% labour costs. Food costs are calculated monthly and are around 30-32%. Consequently gross profit percentages are close to 70% and the net profits make a very substantial contribution to total profits. The future success of garden centres is very closely tied to catering. Catering is the jewel

“My customers just want fresh, great tasting honest British food”

we’re always reviewing every line and looking to improve the offer, including its display. This offering has to be relevant to our customers though. Yes I can go to London and be inspired and even see quinoa pots in Pret, however even the humble panini is a stretch in north Wales, it has been known to be pronounced quite innocently as ‘pwnani’ from time to time. To be honest, my customers aren’t even too concerned with organic and provenance, they just want fresh, great tasting, honest British food. Geographically, our closest competition is probably Bents, 100 miles away so we have a captive market for a treat in the afternoon. Our up and coming USP is our cakes – all are fresh, homemade and utterly delicious, some luxurious even, and all are unique to us. Our afternoon teas are especially popular. There’s no need to book, everything is completely homemade (including choux swans, choc torte, bara brith,

GCR Mar15 P30-33 Catering Fron Goch USE THIS.indd 33

Above & right: Fresh food is at the heart of Fron Goch’s success

I remember the bank manager asking what our projected sales were. We tried to impress by saying £80,000 ex VAT per annum. By December 2014 we had reached an annual turnover of £770,000 ex VAT. This represents 32.8% of total garden centre turnover. We are a small centre and the GCA monthly barometer of trade is fascinating – I note the average for those who submit figures is 18.7%.

in the crown. Good catering managers and staff are under great pressure and worth their weight in gold. The future for us looks great providing we keep our energy levels high; motivating and training staff, offering great food and drinks and providing a pleasant environment. Yes, we want to catch the young families, but I don’t think we should overlook our core customer base. Our oldest regular customer is 106 years old and many others are around 60 so we could keep hold of them for the next 40 years! There is something about what we do that really appeals to this age group – and they are the largest demographic. Let’s keep it that way by keeping them happy. Winning the GCA Best Garden Centre Restaurant award has created a lovely buzz about the place. We attribute wining this award to attention to detail, our sales promotions through vouchers, friendly attentive staff and our homemade cake and meal offerings. ◗

Fron Goch Garden Centre Pant Road, Llanfaglan Caernarfon LL54 5RL 01286 672212

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 11:09

feature: plant focus

Plant focus: how to target your younger audience

When it comes to the younger generation, increasing sales is all about steering them in the right direction. Lucy Summers highlights four easy ways to turn budding gardeners into loyal clients, including grouping grow-your-own displays and selling fresh produce


ou can’t have tidy rows of plants all alphabetically arranged just because it’s easy for watering and maintenance. I’ll add an exception here. Specialist nurseries can get away with this more easily, largely because their visitors are on a mission. They have come looking for a particular plant and they don’t expect to be diverted by caramel toffees and discounted cookbooks. Their entire focus is on the intended plant purchase. That is the mindset you have to embrace to convert younger gardeners into your loyal clients. My recent poll of younger gardeners clearly demonstrates this generation is largely clueless when they opt to do a bit of shopping with you. Their absolute lack of agenda is worrying. It is madness to let them stroll around your premises without offering some structural steerage. You may sell them something (in fact almost anything), but it might well be dead by the time it gets to the boot of the car! Offering sparse plant information and inept choices aren’t going to make them come back for more.

plants? A generation brainwashed by TV chefs and foodie programmes are manna from heaven for garden retailers. Our younger gardeners who seem so baffled when it comes to buying ornamental plants are gawkishly ambitious on the growyour-own front. According to a recent poll in the City of London, nearly a third of British adults now grow their own food, whilst a staggering one in six adults have started growing their own food in the last four years. Create ‘produce’ areas planted with living, breathing crops tucked alongside your plant sales areas. They don’t have to be much bigger than a bus shelter but they have a job to do. It makes sense to persuade visitors to grow the varieties of seeds and plants you hold in stock. But for

Consider the little things

First thing, and it may not sound groundbreaking, have an easily accessible umbrella stash at the entrance. Unlike indoor retailers, your outdoor plant sales area may be open to the elements and there’s not much you or I can do about the great British weather. Many of the larger chains have the luxury of covered spaces but small independents may struggle and brollies are a cost-effective solution, making browsing in poor weather bearable.

Group ‘grow-your-own’ areas How much of your garden centre is given over to fruit and vegetable


Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P34-35 Plant Focus.indd 34

Bellis Brothers Farm Shop near Wrexham

26/02/2015 11:11

feature: plant focus

“A staggering one in six adults have started growing their own food in the last four years” Create a farm shop

What stops you selling fresh produce? You already sell cakes, biscuits and fruit juices, so this is a logical next step. People have never been so interested in quality local food – how it’s produced, in its freshness and traceability. According to Farmers Weekly, shoppers are increasingly seeking out specialist producers and farm shops are opening at a faster rate than ever. This is a double whammy win-win. You engage with both the younger generation and additionally appeal to the high-

spend mature visitor who can afford quality food products. Investing in the farm shop principal is not as mad as it sounds. It could help increase revenues and broaden the range of existing food products you sell. Find suppliers of locally produced foods or consider adding bakery, butcher, condiments or cheese franchises. Small, local quality food suppliers are always looking for ways to increase their public profile and reach their target audience. This arrangement in turn increases your revenues and footfall. It gives your visitors another good reason to visit you, especially in shoulder months where plant shoppers are as rare as rocking horse do-do.

Invest in your cafe

In the past I have suggested you up the ‘ante’ in your cafe. If you don’t have a cafe, create one. Food at National Trust outlets is no longer all arid sausage rolls, Cornish nasties and dull sandwiches. You are just as likely to get local sausages with mustard mash and onion gravy. Extend your catering repertoire selling tasty homemade food with hefty margins and you should see an increase in profits as visitors become brand-loyal to local food products.

Lucy Summers is a landscape designer and writer. 0800 772 3766

GCR Mar15 P34-35 Plant Focus.indd 35

Fruit to suit younger gardeners Fruit for the townies

For the most part berry plants are just too sprawling to be practical in small spaces and far too unruly for pots and patios. Top of my wish list, then, is a global first for the patio – a dwarf cultivar raspberry ‘Ruby Beauty‘ (H 100cm x S 80cm). The growers promise us a thornless, self-supporting compact plant that produces up to 1.5kg of fruit. That’s an infinitely useful raspberry for small gardens that harbour illusions of grandeur. A summer fruiting variety with typical, serrated-edged fresh green leaves and sweet fruits maturing through soft gold to pastel red. There’s no getting away from pruning down older canes, but that’s easy enough to demonstrate to your customers. Sell them plants but leave them in no doubt as to how to care for them. Give your knowledge free with every purchase.

For the country gardens

Another raspberry cultivar worth your attention is ‘Cascade Delight’ (H 1.8m x S 1.8m) hailing from the US and it’s obviously a cultivar that travels well. No doubt this is one for country gardens and fruit cages offering larger than average firm berries that are purportedly disease resistant with excellent flavour. Again happily fruiting in its first season, I am reliably informed it will cope with poor drainage as it demonstrates a fair resistance to root rot. Practical and delicious, what a combination! Let’s hear it for blackberries. I just adore them. Goes back to days of childhood, when berrying in Sussex hedgerows was a requisite occupation at my school to supply the cook with fruits for her tarts. Our mouths stained inky-black whilst precious few berries ever made it into the communal basket… Blackberry ‘Reuben’ (H 1.8m x S 1.2m) has travelled from the sub-tropical climate of Arkansas with its hot steamy summers and mild winters only to find it’s rather fond of our mercurial weather. Obligingly fruiting on the current season’s growth, it should appeal to the impatient allotmenteer. Fruit the size of plums with a sweetness that lends itself to desserts and condiment invention should ensure it heads up every country gardeners’ wish list. ◗

Garden Centre Retail March 2015

Fruit images courtesy of and

your shoppers’ ease, embrace the Waitrose ‘recipe card’ formula. Have everything a customer might need to grow specific fruit or vegetables stashed in the same area, compost, fertiliser, cabbage collars, seeds etc, and make a price ‘bundle’ for the items.


26/02/2015 11:11

feature: store design

Store design: What makes your garden centre stand out? This month Paul Pleydell discusses the importance of making small but essential changes to the customer’s journey in store to improve customer satisfaction, retention and profit


n today’s ever more hectic world, chances to slow down become harder to find. We look for a chance to go somewhere new, a relaxing change of scenery and a time and place to unwind and shed the stress and strain of modern living. So where can we go to do that on a regular basis? Maybe our garden centres have something to offer. The fact that so many garden centres now feature on Tripadvisor made me realise how much we have in common with the cherished summer break. A visit to the garden centre takes the customer on a journey – hopefully one they look forward to – and, most of all, a place to buy new things.

Clear customer flow

As a retailer, it is always worth walking the customer’s journey through your garden centre or, better still, getting someone who doesn’t know your store to walk around and stalking them to see


Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P36-37 Store Design TW copy.indd 36

how they behave. Clear customer flow, good signage and perhaps a simple roadmap at the front door will help customers to find all the great places in the garden centre. In order to generate good customer flow you need a clear aisle that’s wide enough for two trolleys to pass easily and takes a simple route that goes through or past each department in the centre. Make sure each department has at least one memorable feature as a talking point. These provide great photo opportunities for Pinterest, Instagram or selfies that find their way onto Facebook or Twitter. Who wouldn’t want their photo taken with a forest of giant cacti, a Morris Minor brim full of flowers or even a cardboard cut-out of One Direction?

Linked sales

Great journeys abroad involve the excitement, challenge and risk of foreign foods and great food is often a fusion of fantastic ingredients and

flavours. With customers offered endless product choice through the internet, the advantage we have in store is the way in which we combine products to create ideas and flavours for both home and garden. Not only does this give us the edge over the online retailer, it also encourages linked sales and an enhanced ATV (average transaction value). With ATV figures ranging from £15-25, if a garden centre turns over £2 million with an ATV of £17, a £1 increase in ATV will deliver nearly £120,000 of additional sales, so linked sales are well worth the attention. I always look to make space in a retail layout for display, that place where great products can be brought together; anything from a small crate set on a shelf in the sundries area to a full stage in the plant area. The ideal place for these displays is at the end of main aisles around the store so they act as eye-catching focal points to draw customers deep into each department.

26/02/2015 11:12

feature: store design Setting the scene for customer satisfaction

As an industry focused on delivering pleasure can we do more to feed the senses? How good does your garden centre smell? Is it warm enough? Are there things to taste? Perhaps try a tasting table in the gift area to encourage gift customers into your food hall or restaurant. Does the garden centre sound good? Music helps to give life to a store, but avoid background music with lyrics – you want to set the mood without distracting.

front door but should extend to all departments, forming places where people can interact and start conversations. Garden sundries, outdoor plants, craft, food hall and restaurant are key ‘touch point’ locations. It may be the classic ‘jobs in the garden’ blackboard in the sundries department or a small seating area and worktable in the craft area where customers can have a go at something new. Wherever you choose, it is all about creating loyalty and giving customers a sense of

“It’s about creating loyalty and giving customers a sense of belonging” Better still, find a place where local music students can do their thing. I like centres like Lowden Garden Centre where there is a guitar in the cafe you can pick up and play and they have held evening beer and paella parties. The overall aim is to make sure customers are relaxed, which puts them in a good frame of mind to shop. Academic research in supermarkets has shown French music improves the sale of French wines and the right music in bars increases the perceived value of drinks – perhaps a throw-back to the holiday Sangria.

Touch points

We all like meeting new and interesting people so make sure there are ‘touch points’ along the customer’s journey around the garden centre. This starts with a visible staff presence near the GCR Mar15 P36-37 Store Design TW copy.indd 37

belonging, which in turn generates repeat visits. Many restaurants now have large community tables where unknowns can get to know each other, but it would be great to do this across the garden centre. Hopefully your customers will be sad to leave, keen to return and take with them a big basket of souvenirs for friends and family. w Paul Pleydell is a director at Pleydell Smithyman – garden centre design and business consultants whose work includes business strategy, retail concepts, advice on site layout, planning, retail, restaurant and interior design and architecture. 01952 433 211

Garden Centre Retail March 2015 37

26/02/2015 11:12

CastClear ® CAST ASIDE THE BESOM BROOM For decades, lawns large and small have been plagued by worm casts

Retail Plant Nursery, House and Cottage For Sale in France – owners retiring


Many a garden centre plant advice team member have spent ages explaining to lawn owners how to rid of worm casts. The worms do a splendid job in the soil just beneath the grass crown, but it is a pity that their soil cast deposits pose such a problem for gardeners.


Since 1993, this successful, family-run business, has built up an impressive client base with consistently good profits. The land totals 3 acres, with 1800m2 of heated, fully equipped poly tunnels, large car park, 3-bedroom farmhouse and 2-bedroom guest cottage. The nursery currently specialises in patio plants, baskets and containers, with a developing market in perennials and roses. To date, the business has been run on a seasonal basis, opening for just 6 months of the year. There are 2 long-serving seasonal staff.

CastClear ® is the solution to lawn worm casts and is a new organic non-pesticide product available to domestic lawn owners to deter the worms from casting. This lawn worm suppressant reduces worm-cast levels on both large and small lawns.

Sales are to direct clients (client list of 7000) and at retail plant shows (additional client list of 5000). A ‘container refill’ service gives yearly repeat sales of 700+ refills. Clients include hotels, Michelin starred restaurants, also bespoke weddings and other events, including the French Open Tennis (Roland Garros). An established Internet site sells plants and sundries online.

CastClear ® will really compliment and enhance any lawn care display and increase your sales, so why not stock CastClear ® now?

T: 0871 234 3480


Contact: Andrew and Teresa Howard Tel: 0033 233 357 451 • Email:

Normandy House For Sale Ad.indd 1

GCR Mar15 P38 CastClear/Eng Garden/Fairy Ads.indd 38

23/02/2015 09:07

26/02/2015 10:29

product news

Product news

All the latest news from leading product providers in the horticultural and garden retail sector

Armitage launches new look for 2015

Crest Garden supports Greenfingers



rmitage’s wide range of Phoenix Fish Foods has a brand new look for 2015 and stocks will be hitting the shelves in time for the pond season. All Phoenix products have been formulated to provide fish with a quality diet to help keep them in peak condition at all times. Using the latest advances in food technology, they provide a balanced diet suitable for Koi and other pond fish. The range includes: Koi pellets (available in 4.5mm, 6mm and 8mm pellet sizes),

rest Garden is supporting the Greenfingers charity with a donation of 25p for every pair of General Purpose Scissors sold in their spring promotion.

Koi sticks, pond flakes, mixed pond pellets, pond sticks and tri-coloured pond sticks.

The heartbeat of plants at Groen-Direkt


he Groen-Direkt series of plant fairs never fails to please. In this, the company’s 19th year, the spring fair drew a strong audience of buyers from Europe on its first day (3 Feb). With 150 stands and 10 new exhibitors, the format is a proven winner with visitors coming from as far afield as Ukraine, Italy and Spain.

Lodders Nursery provided bare root samples, which was a new development for this year’s event. The range of specialist rock plants from Erik de Boer also caught the eye. These sedum plants are sold throughout Europe to both retail plant centres and the landscape professional.

Natural barbecuing comes to the UK


ature of Barbecuing is a new, eco-friendly barbecue brand being launched in the UK. The Nature collection includes carbon neutral barbecue briquettes, firelighters, barbecues and accessories. The Nature briquettes are 100% natural and CO2 neutral. Made from shells leftover from coconut processing, these briquettes are free from additives, chemicals and completely odourless so you can cook with a clear conscience.

GCR Mar15 P39 Product News2.indd 39

The scissors are packed into a pre-loaded display outer with a full colour header which includes the Greenfingers logo and graphics together with a description of the valuable work carried out by the charity. Crest Garden Scissors are the perfect multi-purpose scissors for use in the garden and home. The titanium blades give a sharper cut and the large handles mean they can be used safely while wearing gardening gloves. The RRP is £3.99 with a suggested promotional price of £2.99

Clover Peat launches new products for 2015


lover Peat is launching a new range of compost products to complement its existing selection. The Traditional Gold range includes a tub and basket compost and a potting compost that have been carefully formulated to give the amateur gardener access to professional standard growing media in an eye-catching 50L bag. Both are manufactured using the highest quality ingredients including specially selected Irish peat fractions harvested from our own resources and blended to give the perfect balance of air, water and nutrients. The Traditional Gold range of products includes a slow releasing fertiliser to sustain plant growth through the season along with a range of other ingredients to enhance plant growth and water management.

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 11:12


Lovely Walled Garden Setting Adjacent to Tourist Attraction Attractive Coffee Shop


Potential to Increase Turnover



3 Bedroom House Available (By Separate Negotiation)

Fertiliser made from plant • Natural extracts and seaweed FREEHOLD FOR SALE • No animal products used • Soil Association approved for organic growing • Typical analysis – 4-2-6 N-P-K your flowers and houseplants beautiful • Makes and healthy RRP - £5.79 including VAT per 500ml bottle • NEW natural fertilisers for organic gardening • Outers – 12 x 500ml • Trade price – £38.60 excluding VAT per outer • 500ml pack barcode – 50137 6200 043 5 • Please contact us for details

Delivers high traffic performance, prevents peeling or flaking for 5 years

Our Ref: 0226

Works on new and weathered wood and for recoating old applications

12 Acre Site

Large Modern Restaurant

Protects against moisture damage, with excellent adhesion and flexibility

Good Concessionary Income

Possibility of Obtaining Planning Permission For Tied Dwelling

Available in a wide range of attractive colours to bring new life to any decking

Our Ref: 0206

Quinton Edwards Qtrpage.indd 1

25/02/2015 12:54

Our seaweed makes the difference... A range of natural fertilisers made from plant extracts and seaweed. No animal products are used. For the discerning organic gardener.

Organic Lawn Natural Fertiliser

• Typical analysis – 6-2-4 N-P-K

• Makes your lawns beautiful and healthy for kids and pets • RRP - £9.19 including VAT per 1000ml bottle • Makes lawns stronger and more hard wearing


Fertiliser made from plant – 4-2-6 N-P-K • Typical analysis • Natural extracts and seaweed • No animal products used organic growing • Association Makesapproved yourforflowers and • Soil analysis – 4-2-6 N-P-K • Typicalhouseplants beautiful and healthy your flowers and houseplants beautiful • Makes and healthy - £5.79 including VAT per 500ml bottle • RRP • RRP - £5.79 including VAT • Outers – 12 x 500ml bottle price –500ml £38.60 excluding VAT per outer • Tradeper • 500ml pack barcode – 50137 6200 043 5 contact us for details • Please • Helps flowers and houseplants flourish

‘Organic Tomato’ and all P purpose available MAXICROP (UK) LIMITED, .O. Box‘Organic 6027, Garden’ Corby,formulations NN17 1ZH,also United Kingdom Tel: 08700 115 117 Fax: 08700 115 118 Email: Website: MAXICROP (UK) LIMITED, P.O. Box 6027, Corby, NN17 1ZH, United Kingdom Tel: 08700 115 117 Fax: 08700 115 118 Email: Website:

Registered Office: Oakley House, Headway Business Park, Saxon Way West, Corby NN18 9EZ. Registered in England No. 03818182

MaxiCrop Halfpage USE THIS.indd 1 26/02/2015 09:40 Registered Office: Oakley House, Headway Business Park, Saxon Way West, Corby NN18 9EZ. Registered in England No. 03818182

GCR Mar15 P40 Owatrol / Quinton / Maxi Ads.indd 40

26/02/2015 10:36

products ▲

The mid-height Arctic Weekend by Muck Boot is perfect for extreme cold weather. The fleece lining keeps toes warm and dry during any outdoor activity. The lightweight EVA midsole and non-slip rubber outsole are a perfect combination. Other features include achilles reinforcement, moulded midsole, 4mm CR flex-foam and a comfort range of -30°C to 10°C. Available in a range of colours. RRP £80

Muck Boot Arctic Weekend

The Selfy Stick comprises a premium build quality rechargeable USB Bluetooth button and extendable aluminium pole that enables you to take pictures from a distance and at a range of angles. You simply pair the button to the Bluetooth on your phone and the button will take your picture from a distance. RRP £14.95

latest products

GCR Mar15 P41 General products TW.indd 41

Sugru is a mouldable glue that sticks to most materials and turns into a strong, flexible silicon rubber overnight. Invented to make fixing things easy, colourful and fun, Sugru’s durable properties mean it will stay strong and securely bonded everywhere from the home and garden to the great outdoors. Available in a wide range of colours. RRP from £6.99

Elidir Long firebowl

Gardeco Ltd have introduced a new Big Fire range of seven patio fire products. One of these is the new Elidir Long – a firebowl with long legs to provide an easy cooking height. It is the same firebowl as the Elidir and suitable for big fires. None of the Big Fire patio products require maintenance during periods of non-use. RRP £99.99

GCR brings you a roundup of product ideas for all departments of your garden centre


The Selfy Stick

EGO Power+ blower

The EGO Power+ blower offers the most power of any cordless blower currently on the market. Just one charge of the powerful 2Ah 56V lithiumion battery will provide up to one hour’s work. The blower capacity and speed can reach up to an astonishing 810 m3/h or 92mph when in boost mode, shifting rubbish and leaves quickly and effectively. RRP £107.50 excluding battery and charger

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 11:14

products: category review

How to sell...

pots and planters

Don’t let a lack of inspiration crush your planter sales. Geoff Hodge looks at how to avoid the pitfalls when selling pots and containers


ill this plant grow in a pot?” and “What can I grow in a container on my patio?” are two of the most common questions I am asked, and the simple answer is you can grow just about any plant you fancy. It’s a matter of getting the right size container for the plant in question and using a good potting compost. And yet some retailers complain that their container sales aren’t what they would like or should be. Gardens are generally getting smaller, and more and more inexperienced and new gardeners are becoming interested in gardening (or at least having plants in their garden), so selling containers – and plants for those containers – should, in theory, be a doddle.

Don’t blame the manufacturers

Container manufacturers have taken on board the importance of container growing and gardening, and they’ve produced all manner of fabulous containers in a huge range of materials, colours, designs, styles and sizes.


Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P42 Geoff Hodge.indd 42

It is therefore galling to see stacks of cheap terracotta coloured plastic pots and white window boxes as the main offering. Even plastic pots now come in such a diversity of colours, shapes and designs, it’s impossible not to want them in the garden. Some are so attractive they really do sell themselves.

been sitting there for so long that they’ve welded together, making it impossible to get them into the trolley. Or they’ve grown a ‘beautiful’ array of natural flora and fauna – or moss, algae and mould, as they’re more commonly known.

Design your display

Pots and plots

Whether your customers have a huge mansion or a tiny plot with just a patio, plants are the perfect companion. This is not only true in the garden, but in your centre, too. So why, when I visit some garden centres, do I see pots piled sky high with zero imaginative retailing? What’s more, when piled high, especially terracotta, the ones at the bottom are often damaged beyond recognition and (not surprisingly) they’ve

Last year’s HTA ‘It Starts With A Pot’ campaign probably did a lot to inspire people and increase your sales – or did it? The campaign’s tag line was “Whatever space you've got…” and it was designed to show people that gardening doesn’t have to be complicated, but that it can be straightforward, fun and suitable for every garden. The website is still live and may be a good starting point if you’re after some inspiration: Hopefully, this year’s Love The Plot You've Got campaign will be a great fillip for the industry, providing positive results and sales. Find out more at and let us know what you think. ◗

Boost your sales

Make the most of pot beauty and then use plants to sell them. Set up innovative patio display areas with planted pots and essential addon accessories and sell the whole concept of container gardening. All gardeners/garden owners are looking for inspiration – they don’t know what to plant and which plants look good together. The only limitation is your imagination. Don’t be precious about your readyplanted display containers. If someone wants to buy your carefully crafted work of art, then let them. Take it as a compliment that you’ve done a great job and created something that your customers desire. The “not for sale” signs really don’t do much to engender a sense of shopability. And don’t forget the importance of those container planting demos – they’re still extremely popular. I often

get people saying “I didn’t know that” or “I’d love to have that in my garden” when I do them. Geoff Hodge is a writer and broadcaster. He writes for various gardening magazines and websites and has written eight books. Previously, he was a garden centre manager.

26/02/2015 11:14

NatioNwide delivery of pre-packed decorative aggregates, rockery stoNe & compost to the gardeN ceNtre trade



Sturdy wooden crates, easy storage & handling. Customer appeal & re-use

Keltons rich, peat-free compost in 50 litre bags (50 per pallet)

Ring or Email us for a copy of our Brochure t: 01691 831 682 e: or visit our website:

GENERATE INSTANT SALES & PROFITS FOR YOUR BUSINESS‌ “Very pleased with the results‌ Greenwood delivered on their promises‌ our best monthly turnover in 67 years! We cleared old stock, generated a large cash surplus and turned our usual loss for January into a profit. In the process we learned much about retail psychology and the benefits of a targeted direct mailing campaign. We will certainly use Greenwood again – but we need time to recover first!â€? Shaun Lewis, Director, Dunscar Garden Centre, Tarleton, Lancs.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT GREENWOOD SALES‌ Greenwood Retail’s sales event plans help retailers to generate record breaking sales and profits all over the UK and Ireland. The benefits of holding a ‘Greenwood Sale’ are many.


a real statement in your garden centre display!













First, your sales event will be a financial success in itself. Plus, you’ll generate instant cash flow and clear your redundant stock – with good margin maintained. And, longer term benefits include increased market share due to the positive publicity created by the event. Also, staff morale is lifted by the increased activity – your team will love to see the business doing so well. Find Out More About Greenwood Sales. Take a look at our website or call us now on 01565 650101, or, send an e mail enquiry, and we’ll gladly contact you to discuss the exciting possibilities we can offer you, without obligation.

BOOKING NOW FOR 2015 & 2016. CALL TODAY 01565 650101

• A stunning range of steel fire pits • Individually handcrafted • 900mm diameter


For more information: Call: 0131 335 5955 Email: Fax: 0131 335 5960 Web:

GREENWOOD RETAIL LTD Britain’s Leading Experts in Retail Sales Promotion since 2002


GCR Mar15 P43 Powys/Brindle/Greenwood Ads 2.indd 43

26/02/2015 10:37

products: pots & planters ▲

Iberian Planter

The lightweight, robust and classy new Iberian Planter is manufactured from polypropylene with multi-layer spraying giving it a glossy, high lustre finish. Available in 14 and 16 inch sizes and three colours – mahogany, coffee and latte – forward sales are proving that the Iberian Planter will be an all round winner for 2015. RRP from £15.99

Latest products

pots & planters

▲ Royal Horticultural Society glazed cylinder

Classic and stylish, the cylinder is the newest addition to Apta's best-selling range of RHS planters. The RHS is the most trusted name in the horticulture industry and its new glazed cylinder is a perfect addition to the range. Made from filtered clays and fired at over 1200°C, it is frost proof, highly durable and carries a 10 year guarantee. RRP from £9.99

Traditional and modern looking planters to suit customers of all tastes and budgets

Pure cone

Pure cone is a new collection of high-concept, contemporary synthetic pottery from leading European manufacturer Elho. Elho helps garden centres create more sales per square metre thanks to pioneering research by Trendlogic and Elho’s Dutch designers that leads to innovative and colourful collections. Pure cone reflects the consumer’s desire for soft shapes in stylish colours with a trio of high-end pots in five sizes. RRP from £62.95

Zinc planter

This pretty zinc planter is quite a show stopper. It comes with four individual pots and is topped with a charming bird decoration. It would look gorgeous planted with trailing summer bedding or, as seen here, with a simple ivy. The planter stands at 85cm high and the post is forked for stability. RRP £16 (bucket planter not included)


Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P44, 46 Pots and Planters TW.indd 44

26/02/2015 11:15

New for 2015

A stunning premium terracotta range and a classic cylinder shape added to the best-selling RHS range.

Exclusively by

For further information please call: 01233 621090 or email: Visit:

Glazed Planters

Lead Effect Planters

© The Royal Horticultural Society Manufactured under licence granted by The Royal Horticultural Society Registered Charity No 222879/SC038262

Head Office,Warehouse and Showroom Dingle Farm Rural Business Park Unit 2, Church Lane off Vicarage Lane Newton-with-Scales, Preston Lancashire PR4 3RX

Tel: 01772 673865

GCR Mar15 P45 Apta/Anglo.indd 45

Our NEW Iberian Planter in 2 sizes 14” & 16” , and 2 colours Coffee and Mahogany, are the latest in our innovative products that we have launched for the UK market. With a superb high gloss, lustre finish it is lightweight and elegant, this is just 1 of 10 NEW products for 2015. Anglo Eastern Trading provides a comprehensive range of affordable Distinctive Planters for the Garden Centre trade, backed up by a sizable stock holding from our warehouse near Preston in Lancashire, we offer a 3 working day UK mainland delivery on a £300 Carriage Paid order.

26/02/2015 11:25

products: pots & planters ▲

Wave Globe

The Wave Globe is the first rotation-moulded shape with a patented plug for the drain hole that can be used in various ways. New to the strong selling Wave Globe family are two rectangular shapes, a trough and a plant-bowl. This brings the range up to 12 shapes and 40 items in total. RRP from £19.99

Newly available from Cadix UK, Capi Europe’s Tutch planter looks bright on the inside and natural on the outside, creating a high impact on the shop floor. The highly durable Tutch planters are made from thick walled yet lightweight frost and UV resistant plastic and come with a 10 year warranty. RRP £29.99

Adezz Corten Steel

Slender Planters

The new Slender Planters from Forest Garden have been designed to offer a sleek profile and are an ideal choice for gardens where space is at a premium. These new planters were first seen on Forest’s Hampton Court stand and received exceptionally positive reviews from a wide variety of visitors to the show. RRP from £79.99

The Adezz Corten Steel range is exclusively available through the Pot Company in the UK. The material, also known as weathering steel, develops a striking rust appearance with warm, rich textures not normally offered by metal. The planters, which are hand worked in Europe, are available in a range of styles and sizes. RRP from £98


jpots have all the qualities of plastic but are made of extremely durable, hard-wearing and environmentally friendly bamboo. Available in a range of sizes and colours, jpots are certainly not a single-use product but they are eventually biodegradable. RRP £4.75


Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P44, 46 Pots and Planters TW.indd 46

Tutch planter

Crescent Garden Chelsea planters

Manufactured from polyethylene resin, Chelsea planters are lightweight, colour stable, extremely robust and guaranteed frost-proof. They are double-walled for extra insulation, pre-drilled for healthy drainage and colour-matched in all sizes. Big Garden Pot Company are currently offering free carriage on orders of over £200 in value or a 25% discount on current trade prices until 15 April.

26/02/2015 11:15


Check out all the excellent career opportunities AT

H or ticulture CAREERS It’s easy to use ● Register at ● Upload your CV (easy to follow instructions) ● Create a professional profile ● Find the right career in your area

If you have a vacancy to fill, please contact Laura Harris: 01903 777 580

GCR Mar15 P47 Big Pot/CurrySauce ads 2.indd 47

26/02/2015 10:38

products: refreshments ▲

The Homemade Curing Kit… Bacon

Ross & Ross Food presents The Homemade Curing Kit… Bacon. This kit contains all you need to make original, sweet and smoky bacon at home. Just add pork. By following the simple instructions you will end up with some really delicious bacon. This is a perfect gift for food enthusiasts, someone who is tricky to buy for or who appreciates something just that little bit different. RRP from £22

Latest products

refreshments A selection of mouthwatering new products guaranteed to fly off your shelves

▲ ▲ African

Baobab & Moringa Dressing

The latest product from Bim’s Kitchen combines Welsh Blodyn Aur rapeseed oil and African ‘super foods’, baobab fruit and moringa into a delicious piquant dressing perfect for salads, tofu, seafood, wedges/chips or in sandwiches. Based in Afonwen, Flintshire, Bim’s Kitchen produces an award winning range of Africaninspired sauces and condiments. All products are glutenfree and suitable for vegetarians. RRP £4.50


Uncle Roy’s Finest Preserves

Uncle Roy’s Finest Preserves are so popular that the company has introduced two new curds – Tangy Lime and Brilliant Blackcurrant. Uncle Roy makes lots of other attractive high quality must-have food products too, including Edible Flower Petals and an enormous range of natural essences and extracts that are very popular with the baking fraternity. RRP from £2.75

Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P48-49 Refreshments TW.indd 48

▲ Chocolate Mug Brownies Bake yourself a gooey Belgian chocolate brownie in the microwave in just 60 seconds. With four lovely servings of premium quality artisan brownie mix in each box, grab a mug, pop one portion in it with a little butter and water. Then watch it transform into a cupful of brownie heaven. Awesome with ice cream. RRP £4.95

26/02/2015 11:16

products: refreshments Adesso Balsamic Creams and Infused Oils

Adesso has added to its range of artificial additive-free extra virgin olive oil dressings with a new selection of balsamic creams and infused oils. Balsamics are available in classic, truffle and fig varieties. Infused oils feature chilli, garlic and lemon. Uses include as a glaze for meats, fish or vegetables or as a dressing for salads, cold meats, cheese or ice cream. RRP from £3.99

South Devon Chilli Jam

Chilli Jam is one of South Devon Chilli Farm’s most popular preserves, so be warned, it’s addictive. This sweet and savoury relish is made with sweet peppers, red onions, lemon juice, sugar and a mix of hot chillies cooked to a traditional jam recipe. It is one of their milder products but still carries a good amount of heat. RRP £3.75

The Coffee Brewer

Bonny Marshmallow Melts

Bonny Belgian Chocolate Mallow Melts are made with natural ingredients. Add one or two marshmallows into a milky coffee to add flavour and creaminess and enjoy sipping your drink through the chocolatey mallow fluff. Or just munch away and enjoy these guilt-free treats. Bonny Mallow is innovative confectionery that’s naturally low in fat and gluten-free. Ready to eat in a resealable doypack. RRP £3.80

GCR Mar15 P48-49 Refreshments TW.indd 49

Teoni’s Devon-based bakery specialises in handmade luxurious cookies, biscuits, shortbreads and biscottis. Its fabulous new oat crumble biscuits are expertly baked in small batches using the highest quality ingredients with no added colours or preservatives to ensure the best results every time. Baked with great passion and enthusiasm, they’re deliciously crumbly and full of delicate wholesome flavour. RRP £3.00

Winner of the 2014 World Beverage Awards Best Ready to Drink Coffee, The Coffee Brewer is a unique all-in-one real coffee brewing system. Each pack allows consumers to easily brew two cups of artisan roasted gourmet coffee wherever boiling water is available. Perfect for the outdoor consumer, trials have shown that UK coffee lovers are ready for this exciting new product. RRP from 99p

▲ Teoni’s Oat Crumble biscuits

Raspberry Vinegar presents its flagship Raspberry Vinegar and the rest of its range of award winning fruit vinegars in new recipes from spring 2015. All natural and handmade in England, they are even fruitier than before, adding a transformative boost to salads, marinades, sauces and more. Popular as drinking vinegars, they’re also very versatile in the home or working kitchen. RRP from £4.30

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 11:16

Planning a garden centre? Or are you creating an attractive shopping experience?

Smiemans Projecten Bringing innovation, inspiration and retail experience to your project

Tel No: 01246 415275 Email: Order Online at:

Quality since 1920

One of the UK’s largest and most established wholesalers of tropical, coldwater and pond fish. Stockists of a huge range of aquatic and pond accessories. Exclusive suppliers of Aqua Nova. One of the newest and most competitively priced ranges of aquatic and pond accessories.

(Please contact us to receive your free full colour Aqua Nova Brochure)

1000 aquariums and 100 vats stocking a huge range of fish Minimum order ONLY £100

Making exceptional outdoor garden furniture – quality since 1920. Eighteen international design excellence awards across our product range. Barlow Tyrie Limited, Braintree CM7 2RN, England Tel: +44 (0)1376 557 600 Email: Visit:

BarlowTyrie_QuarterPage_GardenCentreRetail_Cayman_March.indd 1

GCR Mar15 P50 Smiemans/Grazer etc ads.indd 50

Model: Cayman

Deliveries made with our own vans and drivers to most parts of the UK

QUOTE CODE GCR10 FOR AN EXTRA 10% OFF YOUR ORDER (certain exclusions apply)

See our full stock availability to view on line at

16/02/2015 16:26:53

26/02/2015 10:38

people: trading with

Trading with... Susanna Wadeson

Publishing Director, Transworld Publishers

Garden Centre Retail speaks to Susanna Wadeson at Transworld Publishers to find out more about Expert Books, the world’s bestselling guides to gardening Can you give us a brief outline of your company and its products? Transworld Publishers is a division of the international publishing company Penguin Random House. We are a mainstream commercial publishing house, publishing both fiction and non-fiction. We don’t specialise in any one particular subject area but aim to work with the biggest names in each area, for example Terry Pratchett in fantasy or Bill Bryson in travel. It is the same with gardening books. The world’s bestselling books in this sector are the Expert Books written by Dr DG Hessayon, with 52 million copies sold since 1959. He is one of the world’s most successful authors. How do you ensure success for the Expert brand? The Expert brand is phenomenally successful and 40% of sales are through garden centres. We are extremely proud and respectful of the Expert legacy. We have recently relaunched The New Vegetable and Herb Expert, which has been updated by Dr Hessayon. This is the last update that he will undertake personally but we plan to continue the process for other titles in the range, building on the Doc’s unique and successful style to take the books to a new generation of readers.

What is the split between independent garden centres and multiples in terms of your turnover and profit? Garden centre sales in total account for 40% of turnover with the rest through the specialist book trade. Expert Books are sold in all of the garden centre groups and a large number of the independent centres. A quarter of all gardening manuals sold in the UK are Experts; the recently re-launched New Vegetable and Herb Expert is already the top-selling gardening book in Britain. What additional support and promotions do you offer for the garden centres? We provide them with full point of sale support and are always interested to hear their thoughts on special offers. The Expert range is supported by a full consumer public relations campaign, which also includes reader offers, competitions and promotions. The aim is to drive garden centre footfall. We are about to become more active online with our promotion of the Expert range. How will you remain competitive for the next 12 months? We have an ongoing programme of updates in response to changes in the market. The New Fruit Expert and The New Tree and Shrub Expert are the next two titles to be reissued with new innovations and details of new cultivars and varieties. We will always work with acknowledged experts to help us in our work. Dr Hessayon may have retired but the Expert Book range lives on. What is your unique selling point? When he first started writing the series Dr Hessayon wanted to give gardeners simple advice and, above all, choices. That remains the unique selling point of the range. He tells readers various ways to

GCR Mar15 P51 Trading With.indd 51

approach a given situation but does not dictate the answer, preferring to leave that decision to them. It is a formula that defies time and continues to be enormously successful. What exhibitions are you planning to attend before the end of the year? Transworld Publishers doesn’t attend any exhibitions specifically to promote the Expert range. We can rely on the support of booksellers who attend all the major shows. I know that the books were on The Posh Shed stands at the Hampton Court and Tatton Park flower shows. Do you think the next 12 months will be better than the last in terms of turnover and profit? Current sales of the Expert range are ahead of last year at a time when UK gardening book sales overall have fallen 10%. Our programme for updating the series is the key to the continued success of this unique publishing phenomenon. Garden centres not stocking Expert Books are missing out on a key sales opportunity. ◗ CONTACT Susanna Wadeson, Publishing Director Transworld Publishers

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 11:17

We manufacture recycled bags using our in-house photographs • Tried and Tested, Fast Selling • Storage Bags & Shopping Bags • 80% Recycled Woven Material • Garden Related Photographs Somerset Meadow, New Forest Autumn Leaves • Branded/Bespoke Designs For Your Stores - Low Minimum Order Quantity

Internationa Distributorsl wanted

To become a stockist contact us on:




GCR App Ad half.indd 1

GCR Mar15 P52 Four Ads 2.indd 52









26/02/2015 12:41

26/02/2015 12:52

people: recruitment

Three steps to building confidence Martin Gibbons says it’s the manager who has the biggest impact on staff confidence and highlights three simple steps to becoming a better leader


few years ago my wife Julie and I made the controversial decision to home school our son Ruaridh. I know this may shock you. From experience I can tell you that people do get upset about this. I have been accused of everything from child neglect to being an anarchist. Like every honest parent, we constantly ask ourselves, are we doing the right thing? Only a lifetime will tell if we made the right choice. However, there is one result that we noticed within the first few months. Ruaridh is one of the most confident kids you will ever meet.

manager you have to deal with the practicalities and logistics of day to day things. But it is as a leader you will have the greatest impact on your teams’ performance. And like a parent, as a leader your primary concern should be to instil confidence in each individual that works for you. Your day should be consumed with answering the question: “What can I do today to instil confidence?”


steps to increasing staff performance

So let’s do something about it. As a leader there are steps you can take to make a radical difference. Most people accept their level of confidence. Many people believe it’s just ‘who they are’. But now you know differently. Here are some steps you can start taking today...

Why is he so confident?

Well, the good news is that confidence is nothing to do with personality type. We all arrive on the planet 100% confident. It is our environment that erodes our confidence over time. Sometimes a major event, more often than not a series of insignificant events. By home schooling, Ruaridh was not subjected to the confidence eroding episodes that school life is peppered with. With confidence, Ruaridh can cope with whatever the world throws at him. Confidence will allow him to solve problems and become whatever he sets his mind to. Sadly, the opposite is also true. Without confidence, all the education in the world won’t make a difference. Without confidence, life is difficult and scary. Nothing, not even money, will substitute for confidence. Which brings me to today’s topic ‘Developing confidence and performance’. You have to be both a manager and a leader. As a

GCR Mar15 P53 Martin Gibbons.indd 53

The good news about confidence

How we respond to confidence eroding stimulus may be determined by our personality, but none of us are predestined to be confident or lack confidence. Once we realise that it is within our power to build and maintain confidence, then we can start to do something about it. Imagine running a team of confident individuals. Picture your team right now if they had a lot more confidence. How do you think they would approach their work? How would they deal with customers? How would they deal with the challenges they face? What do you think you could achieve if you had a team of confident staff?

Step 1 – Work on your own confidence. Confidence is not static, it rises and falls with our environment, so work on it. Be aware. Different personality types mask their lack of confidence in different ways. Some will act with arrogance, some will be aloof. Some will be aggressive and some will simply not speak up or offer an opinion. Figure out what you do when you are masking your own lack of confidence. And by the way, we all have moments when our confidence wanes. Step 2 – Stop eroding confidence. If you really want to increase overall performance levels, then

stop doing all those little things that eat away at your confidence and the confidence of others. Stop criticising. Never say anything about yourself or others that you don’t wish to be true. Put yourself on a strict diet of positive affirmations for you and your staff. Step 3 – Repair confidence. The really good news is, that confidence can be regenerated. Consciously do things to bolster the confidence of the people you lead. Go out of your way to do this. How do you instil confidence? Praise often. Be generous with your praise. Catch people doing things right. Give autonomy to complete tasks. Trust people. Forgive and ignore mistakes. Without mistakes there is no progress. Admit your own mistakes. Be bigger than the small things that annoy you. Be a leader. The manager in you will look to the mechanical things to increase productivity. It looks at skills and pushes people to work harder. The leader in you should look at the bigger picture and tap into the emotional side. Good leadership will see ten times the results of good management. ◗ Martin Gibbons is CEO and founder of PeopleMaps, pioneers of online personality profiling applications since 2001.

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 11:18

people: horticulture careers

For full details on all jobs, please go to Call 01903 777 586 or email with your vacancy


Capital Gardens is a group of three garden centres based in and around London. In 2003 Capital Gardens acquired Neal’s Nurseries and has consistently grown this plant based garden centre. We now have a comprehensive range of plant pots and an array of giftware and furniture ranges. We are looking for a vibrant and conscientious individual to join our team within the planteria. This role will include working outside, helping with stock, pulling trollies of stock and general garden centre duties. Applicants must have good interpersonal skills, a friendly outgoing manner along with a good plant based knowledge. For more details, please go to


Squire’s is a family owned group of 15 garden centres based in Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex and Berkshire with GCA award winning plant areas. We are committed to growing our business and promoting the highest standards in plant and horticultural retailing. We want our employees to enjoy working with us in a friendly, energetic, customer focused environment. Twickenham is Squire’s oldest site and its centre, built in 1993, has recently undergone a significant facelift. It has a very high turnover for its size with a strong horticultural focus in plants and sundries and the recent addition of new pets, aquatics and craft areas. An exciting opportunity has arisen to join our family business. Previous experience of working in a similar retail environment and supervising a team are essential. A passion for retail, customer service and the ability to thrive in a fast paced environment are essential. You will be flexible, highly motivated and commercially aware and have the ability to create innovative and dynamic displays. For more details, please go to

To place your job vacancies in Horticulture Careers, call Laura Harris on 01903 777 586 IT’S A CAREER, NOT A JOB.


Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P54-55 Jobs.indd 54


Squire’s is a family owned group of 15 garden centres based in Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex and Berkshire. We are looking for an enthusiastic, motivated individual who is quick and willing to learn. Applicants must have good interpersonal skills, a friendly outgoing manner and a clean driving licence. For more details, please go to


Our client is a world renowned garden and production nursery based near NE Essex. With beautifully planted gardens in a specific style and feel, as well as a flourishing plant centre, the business attracts many passionate gardeners who are excited about plants, flowers and planting schemes. A fabulous opportunity for someone who absolutely loves plants, relates well to people and has a flair for sales to join this stable and dedicated team as retail sales manager, managing plant and shop sales. Duties will include but not be restricted to full sales management, plant purchasing, displays, staff management, events, advertising, customer services, cash handling and social media management. The role is varied and we are looking for a person with the right fit for the business and team. You must have a passion for plants and good plant knowledge, demonstrable sales experience and skill and the drive and enthusiasm to help develop the business. The position is available immediately and a full job description and person specification are available prior to interview. For more details, please go to


T2R GROUP Midlands / Home Counties Senior GM opportunity required for a large out of town garden centre based in the Midlands/home counties. This is an excellent opportunity for a retail manager with excellent commercial acumen. This role would suit someone with large multi-site out of town retail experience and knowledge of seasonality. You should have strong commercial and financial acumen, high standards and excellent communication and negotiation skills. For more details, please go to

26/02/2015 10:39

people: horticulture careers

For full details on all jobs, please go to Call 01903 777 586 or email with your vacancy



SQUIRE’S Berkshire


An exciting opportunity has arisen to join our garden centre at Windsor. You will be responsible for managing the outdoor plant department which has an extensive and well stocked plant area. You must have experience and/or horticultural qualifications and garden centre/retail experience. You will manage your department to achieve sales and profit targets while motivating your team to maximise sales opportunities and inspiring them to offer the highest standards of customer service. You must have the ability to thrive in a fast paced environment, have a passion for plants, be highly motivated, commercially aware and able to create dynamic, inspirational displays. Job Requirements: • To manage the plant area department to achieve sales and profit targets. • Ensure your team provide courteous and efficient customer service in accordance with company standards. • Efficient management of your team. • Ensure that Health and Safety At Work is adhered to at all times.

For more details, please go to



Our client is an award winning garden centre and nursery based in Essex. They are seeking a skilled and experienced plant area assistant to join their team. Key duties: You will undertake daily watering and stocking up of the outdoor plant areas; you will create dynamic displays that encourage customer sales; you will confidently answer customer queries and be knowledgeable about planting combinations and looking after plants. When needed you will assist in other areas of the business including working on the till and nursery production. Your capabilities You’ll have a passion for plants. You must be able to thrive in a fast paced environment, be commercially aware and understand how to care for plants in a retail environment. You understand what makes a high quality shopping experience for your customers. You are creative and know effective planting combinations. Requirements Essential requirements include, horticultural experience whether in the form of a relevant qualification or experience of working in a garden centre, plant retail or a similar environment; good plant knowledge; customer service and communication skills. You’ll need to work five days a week, including one day at the weekend You’ll work some bank holidays (as part of a rota with other assistants) but will be given a day’s holiday in lieu and paid time and a half.

We are an independent garden centre noted for our high quality plants and customer service. We are looking for experienced staff with relevant horticultural knowledge and qualifications to manage our plant section and assist in the day-to-day running of the garden centre. This is a permanent role to include working alternate weekends.

Relationships You will report to the plant area supervisor (outdoor), work closely with assistants in the plant area (outdoor, bedding and houseplants), nursery and retail areas and occasionally work with other supervisors and office staff.

For more details, please go to

For more details, please go to



Meadow View Stone seeks a highly experienced sales director with excellent connections in the garden centre sector. We supply decorative aggregates and paving, though product experience is not required. You will be responsible for developing long term strategy and continued growth. Candidates must have experience of selling in the garden centre sector, a track record of leadership, strong commercial acumen and extensive experience of managing a sales team.

Exciting opportunities at a well-known garden centre group. You will have excellent management, retail and plant knowledge. Our client is a wellestablished garden retailer that has grown over the last few years. With a number of out of town sites, it requires strong plants people with excellent people management and merchandising abilities. If you are currently a plant manager seeking a larger/more prestigious site where you can influence the business, this role could be for you.

For more details, please go to

For more details, please go to

MEADOW VIEW STONE Shropshire GCR Mar15 P54-55 Jobs.indd 55

T2R GROUP Cheshire

Garden Centre Retail March 2015 55

26/02/2015 10:40


07851 075944

QMT has been crafting hand tuned wind chimes for over 30 years, and we are proud to offer our original Arias® chimes to the UK market. Our classic chimes in silver, bronze, or forest green are great gift items and a customer favorite. Visit our website or contact us today for more details!

National Trust

Landscape Collection GROWERS OF QUALITY PERENNIALS, ALPINES, HERBS, WILDFLOWERS, The National Trust together with established reproduction paving company Westminster Stone have created ranges of paving and landscaping products of unrivaled quality and character influenced by National Trust properties and gardens throughout the UK. The Collection offers an authentic ambiance and instant maturity and charm to any setting.

Hard landscaping for beautiful gardens and driveways

Paving | Decorative Shingle Garden Artefacts Tel: 0845 302 0603

Cotswold Manor

Country House

Kitchen Garden

Roman Villa

For further information visit or call 0844 815 6442 for quotations or to place an order|Nationwide Delivery


Tel. 01676 532334 Fax. 01676 535088

SunPatiens® awarded RHS AGM “All of our high quality young plants are bred to meet the needs of today’s professional growers.”

Simon Earley

The RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM) has been awarded to Earley’s SunPatiens®. * Easy to grow and care for, SunPatiens® are weather tolerant, disease resistant and robust garden performers that excel in full sun or shade.

The National Trust range consists of Universal Outdoor Cleaner over 30 gardening products including universal handle, dustpans, rakes, stainless steel trowels and stainless steel spades.

01845 524511

Whatever the season, Earley Ornamentals is always growing strong

For more information visit Garden & brushware • No Bleach or call +44 (0)1509 232 757 collection • No Water Blasting



Designed & manufactured by

FSC approved . British design

• No Caustic Produced Materials under Licence from The National Trust (Enterprises) Ltd. • No Elbow Grease Registered charity No. 205846

Just spray and walk away... our product works so you don’t have to! GCR Mar15 P56 Classifieds.indd 56


withremover a unique double locking Moss, mould, lichen brushes & algae

*contact Earley for information regarding the award winning varieties

The UK’s leading manufacturer and importer of Brushware, Bentley have teamed up with the National Trust to create a range of unique quality garden tools suitable for every need.


Before 26/02/2015 10:40


people: staff room GCR asks quick-fire questions to a selection of people working within the garden centre industry

Simon Haines, shop manager, Sunshine Garden Centre What’s the best thing about your job? The variety! Every day has a new challenge, from placing and displaying products in a way that makes shopping easy for our customers, to offering them

knowledge and advice on looking after their plant purchases. I also get involved with organising visits by local schools to the garden centre and helping their PTA groups with fundraising activities. This is an extremely important part of my role as it builds great relationships with lots of different personalities in the community. Do you have any hobbies? Yes, although it seems like a busman’s holiday – I enjoy gardening. I get to buy plants at the best garden centre in town, and I promise I’m not biased at all! What’s your favourite film? Undoubtedly Casablanca! It’s a

Rebecca Etherington, outdoor living and interiors manager, Fairways Garden Centre What is your favourite movie? Snatch, I love a good British film. How did it feel to win Best Indoor Lifestyle Retailer at the GCA awards? Amazing! It is such a fantastic sense of achievement and great to see all the team’s hard work has paid off. It inspires me to continue to drive myself even further to win more awards for our centre. What would people be surprised to learn about you? I’m a new grandma! Would you believe it? My beautiful granddaughter, Poppy Mae, was born on 22 January 2015. In a normal week, how much time do you spend in your garden? Sun permitting, all my free time.

GCR Mar15 P57-58 Staff Room NEW TW.indd 57

great film. It’s stylish, it’s got a great story, it’s funny and it stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It’s the film I wooed my wife with – too much detail? How does it feel to win two GCA awards? Fantastic! We love our customers and work hard to look after them. Winning the Best Customer Service Award is great recognition for our hard work. We also won The Best Outdoor Living Retailer Award, which is credit to our merchandisers and retail assistants who, as well as looking after our customers, provide and maintain an incredibly well stocked and stunning looking shop.

Pauline Boddington, florist, Manor Nursery Garden Centre What is the best thing about your job? Working with the Manor Nursery team and I also enjoy my work as a florist, making different arrangements to help make someone’s day. What would people be surprised to learn about you? That I can stay quiet! What is your favourite book? I love my family photo album. First thing in the morning, do you head for tea or coffee? Coffee, and as early as poss please!

Garden Centre Retail March 2015


26/02/2015 11:23

people: staff room Helen Rooney, house plant assistant Cowell’s Garden Centre What would people be surprised to learn about you? I’m a keen astronomer and like star gazing, especially on crisp winter nights.

I have recently moved to the country and love the clear night sky. What’s your favourite film? The Horse Whisperer. Beautiful horses, beautiful mountains and Robert Redford in a cowboy hat!

First thing in the morning, do you head for tea or coffee? Generally tea in a large white tea cup, sitting next to my cosy Rayburn, listening to music. Bliss.

Did you expect to be crowned Garden Centre of the Year at the GCA awards? We hoped to win but never expected it. It’s a thrill to be recognised for our dedication to maintaining a high standard of plant care.

Alastair Pollock garden centre assistant Root One Garden Centre and Cafe What is your favourite movie? Sister Act. It’s so funny! First thing in the morning, do you head for tea or coffee? Neither. It’s just a glass of water first thing for me. What is your favourite flower or plant? Any of the irises. What’s the best thing about your job? Customer satisfaction and feel good factor. Knowing I’ve been able to help and, whenever possible, enjoying a laugh with the customers. What’s your most treasured possession? My family photos. In a normal week, how much time do you spend in your garden? It varies depending on the time of year – between one to two hours and four to five hours.


Garden Centre Retail March 2015

GCR Mar15 P57-58 Staff Room NEW TW.indd 58

Joe Mansfield, director Woolley Moor Nurseries First thing in the morning, do you head for tea or coffee? It would have to be a strong black coffee to get me set up for the day ahead! What is your favourite book? My favourite book is “Who Moved My Cheese?” It’s an absolutely fantastic read. Do you have any hobbies? Apart from spending time in the garden myself I don’t really have any hobbies. I do enjoy a nice meal out though! How do you think garden centres have changed in the last ten years? I think that garden centres have become a location to go to for a day and enjoy, rather than just going to purchase a particular item. What is your proudest achievement? I think that my proudest achievement so far has to be my appointment as director at Woolley Moor Nurseries. After seeing the company grow from when I was kneehigh to a grasshopper, it was an absolute honour when my father and grandfather decided that I was ready to take the reins of the business and develop it as I saw fit. From playing around the site when I was five years old to ensuring that the business carries on performing to the excellent standards that we’re used to – that is by far my proudest achievement.

26/02/2015 11:23

TEMPLATE ADS.indd 1 GCR Mar15 FOR P59 Plant Magic.indd 59

26/08/2014 10:40 14:29 26/02/2015

GCR Mar15 P60 Bayer Ad.indd 60

26/02/2015 10:43

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.