GTN August 2021 - Garden Trade News, UK

Page 14

Photo Tour

Alan Roper outside the retail unit that will become “The Parlour” at Springfield’s Outlet Shopping Centre

Miss Marple Aftfternoon t Tea Anyone? Aftfter t being stuck on Guernsey since the end of March 2019, Blue Diamond CEO Alan Roper, has at last been able to travel to the mainland and visit all of his centres. GTN caught up with him on his grand tour at Springfifields i Home & Garden in Spalding where he revealed exciting plans for a new stand-alone restaurant in the outlet shopping centre.

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t’s been like a shot of adrenaline each time I’ve walked into the centres,” said Alan, “It’s always been about the people and that’s what I’ve missed most over the past 18 months. “They’ve all done a great job during the pandemic. We have already made last year’s profit this year!” Zoom meetings have been the way Alan has kept in touch with his people across the business: “Days of zoom meetings backto-back have been really exhausting. It’s so much better to be able to meet the teams face to face and travel between the centres.” Not one to keep standing still, Alan has also been using the time on Guernsey to progress new business opportunities with a number of potential garden centre acquisitions in the pipeline and at Springfields in Spalding he has

14 August 2021

been asked by the outlet centre landlords to open a stand-alone restaurant opposite the festival gardens attraction. “After watching far too much Poirot and Miss Marple on TV during lockdown we have created a new “Parlour” restaurant theme to compliment the successful Kipling Pâtisserie & Prose coffee shop concept. Here at Spalding, we will be creating a fully themed 1930’s Edwardian style restaurant that will open in the Autumn. We’ve started trialling the design of the new concept at Weybridge and Cadbury.” Later in his tour itinerary are visits to several venues to find a big enough location for the Blue Diamond Awards 2022. With two years trading and all the efforts of the first lockdown to be celebrated it is sure to be a grand occasion.

We have already made last year’s profit this year! www.gardentradenews.co.uk