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FROM 2020 INTO 2021 One of the highlights of the year has been the surge in new gardeners. It is fantastic to hear how so many more people have discovered the benefits of gardening for both physical and mental wellbeing. Brett Avery, Farplants What will 2021 bring? What are your hopes and aspirations for your business or the industry?

Just before garden centres closed, Farplants celebrated winning the GCA Supplier of the Year Award The surprise has been the increase in average spend on gardening - it has been phenomenal and continued unabated until the end of November. In hindsight when consumers are penned in their home and garden its unsurprising that this is where their expenditure is concentrated. Alan Roper, Blue Diamond My highlight of the year has been working with a small team of un-furloughed staff during lockdown. Their effort, enthusiasm and care for the business was truly heart-warming and I will never forget it. The situation was also an opportunity to look at the business in a new way. We have made many decisions based on lessons learned during this time, which I feel has made us more productive and has made the teams more adaptable. A huge bonus to arise from this horrible situation has been the uptake of gardening by the public. After lockdown, we saw new, younger customers who had never gardened before coming to us for advice. Hopefully, these will be the gardeners of the future! Sally Cornelissen, Burleydam Garden Centre Seeing how well we all worked together across the industry to keep communication channels open. It was really important for everyone in the supply chain to understand the pressures that everyone else was under, and I’m pleased that GIMA was able to play our part in that. Despite not meeting up with our members as we would normally do, we’ve managed to keep everyone connected and increase our membership engagement by running a successful programme of free webinars throughout the second half of

the year. Something which we’ll continue to do into 2021. Vicky Nuttall, GIMA The highlight of the year must be the inclusion of garden centres in the ‘essential’ list at the end of October – a long-overdue recognition of the importance of horticulture. Boyd Douglas-Davies, British Garden Centres and HTA President The highlight of this unpredictable year is the incredible way the team at the Gardenex and PetQuip trade associations has faced and risen to new challenges, worked effectively as a team while remote working, found new business solutions to unforeseen hurdles and has continued to provide a high standard of service, new international sales leads and promotion and offered clear and cogent advice and information on any and every exporting issue that has arisen during the UK’s transition from the EU! Amanda Sizer-Barratt, Gardenex Despite the challenges of this year, GLEE 2020 turned out to be a huge success. We were apprehensive going into the event, as an online event was something new to us and the rest of the industry! However, we were able to engage with so many of our customers and talk about what’s to come in 2021. Winning the GLEE New Product award for our Peat-Free range was an added bonus to the event and I know that this was a huge highlight to the team who have worked so hard on the range. Mark Portman, Evergreen Garden Care

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The current sales energy will continue into next year but once Covid-19 is in the rear view mirror we will look around and wonder where everyone has gone…. as the mass vacation exodus starts! Naturally, people will re-engage with sporting activities, eating out and going on holiday. They will be escaping from their home and garden. Things will eventually settle back down to a pre-Covid gardening spend. I don’t buy into a sustained growth due to all the new gardeners. Beyond this, reality bites. The Government has to get back what it has lost through taxation and coupled with the impact of Brexit, in my opinion, will mean cost increases for suppliers and consumers and thus there will be a contraction in the economy which will, in turn, lead to a tightening of consumer purse strings as their disposable incomes shrink. Retailers and their suppliers should look ahead with their eyes wide open and their hands firmly on the steering wheel of their business and recognise there will be a lot more challenges in the coming years, compared to the past. Alan Roper, Blue Diamond 2021 will be a good year for garden centres if the weather is good. Gardening is the ‘new going out’ and there is still plenty of appetite for it. I hope that the industry will thrive and so will individual businesses if they adapt to the new normal. Sally Cornelissen, Burleydam Garden Centre More interest in gardening, and another cracking year for our sector. I’m looking forward to being able to put on some of our iconic events again so we can celebrate our great industry and the people that work in it. Vicky Nuttall, GIMA Garden retail will flourish in 2021 as many will continue to work from home. This is so significant as it allows people to spend a few minutes every day tending their plants – I believe that time has always been the issue, not a lack of ‘green fingers’. It is clear to me that the 3 million new gardeners that discovered the wonderful world of horticulture in spring ’20 carried on buying plants late into the year. As an industry, we need to embrace those customers by making information accessible, gardening fun and fruitful. Boyd Douglas Davies, British Garden Centres and HTA President

December 2020 7

Profile for Garden Trade News

GTN December 2020 - Garden Trade News, UK  

In this issue of news and information for garden centre professionals: Noma is coming for you. Back to the future – the year that was and wh...

GTN December 2020 - Garden Trade News, UK  

In this issue of news and information for garden centre professionals: Noma is coming for you. Back to the future – the year that was and wh...