GTN January/February 2022 - Garden Trade News, UK

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Thinking outside the box came together, August 2021 saw the opening of The Garden Kitchen by Pugh’s. 14 miles east along the M4, from the main Pugh’s site at Radyr, towards Newport at Rogerstone. As their website says: “The Pugh family is planting new roots for another successful new business, The Garden Kitchen by Pugh’s. Whether you’re a budding plant parent, lifestyle enthusiast, lover of food, coffee connoisseur or just here for a good catch up with friends and family you’ll only need to visit this place once to know.” Is it a food hall, is it a deli, is it a coffee shop, is it a restaurant, is it a houseplant jungle? Meeting Nicola Pugh on site at Rogerstone, she enthuses: “Pugh’s is a brand and have so much more to offer our customers and we are keen to hit the ground running with all our ventures”. “Aiming towards a slightly different demographic to our traditional garden centre customer, we are focusing on the high level of ‘female buying’ in that 35 - 65 age bracket. These ladies want good coffee, they want good plants, they want a twist on traditional food, they are interested in gifting whether it is for others or treating themselves.” With a Co-op convenience store next door which includes an Amazon Hub locker kiosk, and situated close to 1,000 newly built homes, this leasehold, purpose-built 3,100sq/ft unit was fitted out by the Pugh’s Construction firm. The fit out is simple, stylish quality. 1,000 Welsh products are amongst the Sku’s all monitored via the new EPOS system. Sitting comfortably alongside the

convenience store, Pugh’s leave selling lines like fresh milk to the shop next door, along with the highly perishable groceries such as fresh fruit and veg, prepacked sandwiches and meal deals. While you can buy a paper cup of Costa coffee in the Co-op, you can also purchase food and beverages ‘to go’ from Pugh’s. However, what they are really about is their hospitality in a relaxed, comfortable, yet efficient, seating area with around 75 covers. Already around 60% of the site turnover is coming from walk-in hospitality, although as Christmas retail trade increased, that dropped back slightly as shop sales rose. Saturday night opening, with a full late licence, requires booking. Table service, with orders and payment taken by tablet linked to the kitchen and barista servery, continues in the evening and a more sophisticated menu still utilising fresh and local produce. Evenings sees average transaction value rise to nearly £78, a 310% increase on the daytime hospitality average. Perhaps not surprising, however the daytime average spend is 72% above that achieved in The Watering Can Coffee shop at the Radyr garden centre. Recruitment in retail and hospitality is becoming increasingly challenging: “Key to retaining good staff is recruiting the right ones in the first place – many of our team now have 10 to 20 years service - but it is difficult, especially in hospitality, particularly chefs,” says Nicola. Pugh’s have the advantage of being a true family business, but as has been confirmed over the months of the pandemic, the family are passionate about their people and the

many of our team now have 10 to 20 years service - but it is difficult, especially in hospitality

The “Coffee and Plants” branding shines through

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