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gtn JULY 2017

Advice and information for garden centre professionals


Solex 2017: a ‘must-do’ event for all outdoor leisure buyers

Tue 11–Thu 13 July 2017, NEC, Birmingham


Barlow Tyrie (stand 315)

Culcita Ltd (stand 620)

All tables are now extending as ranges reflect need for even more flexibility Flexibility is the key for a2017 at Barlow Tyrie, the world’s oldest manufacturer of teak leisure furniture. All tables in the Aura, Linear and Equinox collections are now extending, joining those in the Apex, Arundel, Monaco anda Stirling collections. The company recently extended its collection to include ranges in stainless steel, powdercoated aluminium and handwoven synthetic fibre. An international reputation based on stylish yet practical designs, traditional craftsmanship, and excellent customer service has made Barlow Tyrie synonymous with quality. Director Mark Tyrie says that, more and more people are looking to extend their living and entertaining space into their gardens, whether they’re in the city or the country despite the unreliable British climate. “It’s easier than ever to find something ideal for every type of outside space with the range of styles and materials now on offer,” he adds. “We like to combine the timeless beauty of teak, for example, with newer materials, such as cord or ceramic. And we now produce ranges in stainless steel, aluminium, and woven synthetics. The Equinox and Mercury collections in stainless steel are proving extremely popular at the moment and, being lighter and more angular, these are ideally suited to the modern outside space.” Information: www.teak.com

Innovators who keep an eye on colour and fabric trends Culcita specialises in the supply of quality garden furniture, cushions and outdoor accessories, constantly updating its designs to bring innovative products to the garden furniture market. Colour and fabric trends are reviewed each season so that customers can add a refreshing, invigorating and contemporary aspect to garden, patio and conservatory furniture, whether in tubular steel, resin, wooden or aluminium. The company looks forward to guiding customers through the range at SOLEX. Information www.culcita.ie

Landmann (stand 340)

Desser & Company (stand 430)

Synthetic rattan with a difference Desser & Companvy has been at the forefront of the Rattan industry since 1919. As a specialist in basketware and conservatory furniture throughout its history, it has developed an impressive outdoor furniture collection. Made from weatherproof synthetic rattan and complemented by cushions manfactured in its Manchester warehouse, the ranges are elegant, comfortable and durable. A Desser outdoor set provides the perfect setting for entertaining, dining and relaxing outdoors.

Desser prides itself on its quality. “It has been quite a journey but we have found manufacturers who match our high expectations, and who, due to their strong work ethic, have created outdoor ranges that are not only of a high quality but that also offer something a little bit different,” the company says. “They are certainly the ranges which bring us the most pride.” Information: desser.co.uk Pictured below: The Atlanta suite, a 2017 addition to the range.

Stockist network goes on growing For more than five decades, Landmann has been at the forefront of the barbecue market with an innovative product portfolio of gas, charcoal, outdoor heating and accessories. The company has enjoyed another successful season in the UK, with an ever-growing stockist network. Darren Rivers, UK sales and marketing director, says three new gas, charcoal and smoker product ranges will be launched at SOLEX, where new in-store display concepts will also be displayed “We are very excited about our unique new smoker designs,” he said. Information: sales@landmann.co.uk

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Hartman (stand 505)

Sophie gives resin a new lease of life Innovation is a given from Hartman and this year promises to be no exception. “We have breathed new life into rattan weave, mixing colours and hues to create a fresh look and feel,” they tell us. “We have restyled cast aluminium, shaken up aluminium and re-introduced resin in the form of the brand new Sophie Collection (pictured right). Further details are not beiong revealed before the show but you will be able to see all this innovative new garden furniture first hand on the stand. Information: www.hartmanuk.com vv

Firmans (stand 110)

A 40th anniversary celebration... Firmans is inviting customers to join them on the stand to celebrate its 40th anniversary as a supplier of quality garden furniture. Established in 1977, Firmans is proud to be one of the longest standing suppliers of outdoor furniture to the UK market. The company’s Casamoré Collection is known as a luxury brand synonymous with innovation, style, flair and comfort. “All categories of our products are made with these attributes in mind to ensure the ultimate client satisfaction,” the company says. Casamoré offers a high quality complex range of original collections in a selection of carefully selected materials including woven, cast aluminium, wood and aluminium frame. Some outdoor rattan sets are modular. Firmans is promising SOLEX visitors something special for its anniversary year. Information: www.firmansdirect.com

La Hacienda (stand 115)

The best in heating and cooking Family-run La Hacienda had its best month ever in May sales as sales continued to increase during the first six months of the year on the back of the continued rise in popularity of branded and quality outdoor heating products and pizza ovens. The company continuously designs and develop its range of firepits, chimeneas and outdoor heating products, focussing on ease of assembly and use, to help people enhance and enjoy their gardens for longer. New to the outdoor cookers range are high quality Kamado ceramic ovens using premium materials and a striking design in a range of sizes and colours. These versatile units allow users to grill, sear, roast, bake and smoke a host of different foods. Simon Goodwin, director at La Hacienda, said: “We’re responding to feedback from consumers and trends in garden design to ensure that our range of outdoor heating and cooking remains the best available to UK retailers.” Information: lahacienda.co.uk

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Kettler (stand 510)

Popularity grows for RHS partnership wood and wicker range Kettler will reveal an innovative 2018 collection at SOLEX. Following the success of its hugely popular casual dining range, the company will develop the collection further. Combining dining and relaxing in one set, Kettler introduced the concept to the UK market with their Palma sets in 2014 and the range continues to grow from strength to strength. Kettler’s partnership with RHS has provided a popular wood and wicker range, with products that include benches, companion, lounge and dining furniture sets. The wood range is available in natural teak (with a two-year warranty) and sagepainted acacia (12 months warranty). The weatherproof RHS wicker range is handwoven using high quality 3mm wicker in a natural colourway. High quality box design cushions with detailed RHS stitching complement the sets and tailored protective covers are also available. A number of new products and ranges demonstrating garden furniture innovation and design are also set to capture the interest of visitors. Paul Bevington, Managing Director at Kettler, said: “We’re really excited to

showcase our partnership with RHS at SOLEX this year. It’s a prestigious brand and we feel we’ve developed elegant and stylish garden furniture products that reflect this. We’ve had some great interest in the wood products so far, with impressive sales and we’re looking forward to bringing the RHS range to more customers for 2018. “Once again, we’re excited to display the additions to our casual dining range at SOLEX. We’ve been delighted with how popular our collection has been since we introduced it, and we’re confident the developments will continue to excite the industry.” Information: kettler.co.uk

New Everdure barbecue range tested in Heston’s kitchen Kettler GB is the official distributor of the new Everdure by Heston Blumenthal barbecue brand in the UK and Ireland. Michelin starred chef Blumenthal has collaborated with top Australian barbeque manufacturer Shriro to launch the range, which was successfully piloted in Australia at the end of last year. The range was jointly tested and

developed at Heston Blumenthal’s famous development kitchen in Bray and Shriro’s research facilities. “I wanted to bring some of the techniques and methods I have developed in over 20 years in the kitchen and bring them to the great outdoors,” said Heston. By combining the latest technology and design aesthetics, with ease of use and thoughtful attention to detail, he created a


barbeque collection that has been designed from the ground up and promises to change how people think about barbequed food. The charcoal range sets out to improve on the entire cooking experience from the point of ignition. The unique Fast Flame Ignition System in the HUB and FUSION charcoal barbeques use a clever fusion of electricity with an integrated heating element to ignite the charcoal so it is ready to cook on in 10 minutes, without the need for firelighters or additives. Additional stand out features include Rotiscope Technology, a unique integrated rotisserie system; Cliplock Forks and a retractable power cord, all in a sharp, contemporary design. The charcoal range also includes the CUBE, a compact and versatile portable charcoal barbeque(complete with integrated food grade storage area and preparation board) constructed from lightweight and durable aluminium, with cool-to-touch handles and a range of colour options. The gas range includes the three burner FURNACETM, and the two burner FORCETM models, both with high performance burners.

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Norfolk Leisure (stand 205)

Range growth needs an even bigger stand The Norfolk Leisure team will display its distinctive outdoor furniture and accessories on an even bigger stand this year, reflecting the company’s consistent growth and continually developing ranges over the past 25 years. Commercial manager Spencer Harnwell says new staff have been recruited across all areas of the business, including admin, sales and warehousing. LIFE is a luxurious outdoor furniture range offering sophistication and quality. The range this year will include exclusive new all-weather cushions with new soft touch Textilene. www.lifeoutdoorliving.co.uk The Norfolk Leisure collections offer a wealth of stylish good looks, comfortable lines and practical benefits, with an unrivalled range and variety. www.norfolkleisure.com Handpicked is the go-to brand for the latest offers, one-offs and feature items for seasonal finishing touches, wow factors or added touch of luxury. www.handpickedfurniture.co.uk Florenity is a contemporary collection

featuring a striking finish of painted and natural wood. This distinctive range features chairs, tables, potting benches and lanterns ideal for the smaller garden. www.florenity.co.uk Garden Must Haves is Norfolk Leisure’s signature range of quality, stylish, essentials, from statement parasols to clever storage ideas. www.gardenmusthaves.co.uk Happy Cocooning cocoon tables bring the warmth of a campfire to a garden, terrace or balcony, with gas burners that offer the benefits of a cosy fire without the hassle of a traditional wood burner. Strong and weatherproof, they come in multiple shapes, sizes and colours. www.happycocooning.co.uk Norfolk joined forces with the National Tree Company to offer the company’s realistic, finely crafted festive trees to a wider audience. www.nationaltreecompanyuk.co.uk Norfolk also offer Keter’s stylish and convenient home and outdoor storage solutions. www.keter.com

Tramontina (stand 345) In Brazil, home of premium cutlery suppliers Tramontina, barbecuing is all about tradition, celebration and joy. The Brazilian way of preparation for a barbecue is one of the most respected in the world. A main international supplier since 1911, the company products are now made in 10 factories and sold to barbecue lovers in more than 120 countries. The product range is vast, functional, original in terms of design and of very high quality. It comprises steak knives, skewers, utensils, cutting boards, barbecue equipment, grills and much more. Tramontina knives are produced with extremely high quality and durable raw

materials. The blades are made of stainless steel and combined with an elaborate heat treatment, which ensures a cutting efficiency, good corrosion protection and long edge life. The handles are made from treated (and dishwasher-safe) real wood and are offered with a five-year warranty. Tramontina offers a complete point of sale solution, with customizable options. Information: www.tramontina.com


New LOFAssured initiative will reassure buyers over fire safety standards for garden cushions

The run up to SOLEX sees LOFA (Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association) focusing on raising awareness of fire safety standards/regulations for garden cushions in a new campaign – LOFAssured. This new LOFAssured initiative will be launched at the SOLEX show which runs from 11-13 July 2017 at the NEC in Birmingham. One of the conditions of LOFA membership is that members must adhere to a code of conduct, part of which is compliance with all current legislation; it is this culture of propriety that the retailer and customer buy into when they source product from LOFA members. LOFA has appointed FIRA (Furniture Industry Research Association) and entered into a Primary Authority Partnership with Hertfordshire Trading Standards to aid the members in their quest for full compliance. It is a condition of membership that all LOFA members are fully compliant and authorised to display the new LOFAssured logo. The message “Look for LOFAssured products and buy from a LOFA member. Take comfort in being fully covered by the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and 1993” will be promoted to retailers and consumers from January 2018 and throughout the 2018 season and beyond. LOFAssured will prove a distinguishing factor setting LOFA products apart from non-compliant suppliers. SOLEX will host an information stand attended by representatives from FIRA and Hertfordshire Trading Standards officers. Members and buyers can check out the full compliance regulations so that, throughout the supply chain, all are fully informed about the issue and the benefits of purchasing products from LOFA members. LOFA sees protection of members and their customers as a key part of the role of the industry’s trade association. For further information on the Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association, call 02392 258844 or visit www.lofa.co.uk. (https://www. firesafe.org.uk/furniture-and-furnishings-firesafety-regulations-19881989-and-1993).

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Tripod Home Ltd (stand 625)

Rustic eye-catchers are retail talking points Tripod Home will showcase many new products, including Root Wood Mushroom Clusters, Outdoor Candles in a Teak Bowl, Teak Root Trug Bowl and the very rustic Plank Back Garden Bench. As a company supplying rustic, recycled and handmade furniture and accessories to the garden centre market, it aims to inject excitement and character to garden centre outdoor furniture departments. The products are eye catching talking points designed to attract attention and are often used to enhance visual impact in garden centre departments. They are mostly made from salvaged teak, a wonderfully hard wood perfect for the garden. Making them by hand means they are ideal for adding a rustic element to an outdoor space. Information: www.tripodhome.co.uk

Brundle Gardener (stand 540)

Kadai Firebowls by Wilstone (stand 325)

Holi Grill means more flexible cooking Kadai returns to SOLEX with a product range it believes will revolutionise the outdoor cooking and leisure experience. Kadai by Wilstone has been at the leading edge of fire bowl barbecuing for the past decade. Its approach brings together the traditional skills of artisan producers with innovative British designs that have shaped the way firebowl cookery has evolved. Christo Mckinnon-Wood, co-founder and MD of Wilstone, says the new newly-designed Holi Grill system, to be incorporated into the Recycled Kadai Firebowl, is an example of innovation in action, allowing wood or embers to be moved, stoked or replenished without the need to interrupt cooking time. “This provides unlimited levels of flexibility and control over cooking and heating zones and styles,” he said. The Holi Grill concept, which works alongside the interchangeable range of Kadai accessories, means food can be placed in different zones and at different heights to allow complete control over cooking style, timing, taste and experience. At SOLEX, Kadai’s expanded portfolio will include a full range of outdoor living furniture, cast iron gazebos, obelisk planters, rose arches and a variety of hand-crafted benches. The Kadai Firebowl itself will be displayed as a planter, a barbecue and a firebowl, with 10 new accessories for the new season. The Wilstone team have worked closely with their artisan producers for the last 10 years to bring the traditions of Indian Kadai cookery to British consumers in a contemporary yet time honoured way, with a full stockist management team, marketing support for visual merchandising and live cooking demos as part of the service. Information: www.kadai.co.uk

Brundle Gardener, who won SOLEX’s Best New Product award last year, return with enlarged ranges of fireballs, furniture sets and spacesaving gardening solutions. Half-table, mosaic and illuminated bistro sets offer a perfect choice for smaller gardens, alongside the GreenWall vertical planting solution. Stools from the children’s range are now offered as a standalone product. Information: www.brundlegardener.co.uk

AEL Outdoor Solutions (stand 240)

Zest 4 Leisure (stand 555)

The Alu-Twist Centre Pole Parasol from Glatz (for whom AEL is the exclusive UK partner) is made from lightweight aluminum, featuring a smooth crank handle and a unique twist mechanism that allows you to adjust the canopy pitch with ease, up to a 45° angle. Another important feature is the cover’s UPF50+ sun protection and 98% UV protection. Available with a range of colour options. Information: www.aelsolutions.com

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New garden bench has under-seat storage Zest 4 Leisure is back at SOLEX with bigger and better stand to showcase its stylish and dynamic timber garden products. The furniture range has been expanded to include benches, dining sets and new innovative products like the Caroline Bench (above) with under-seat storage. Information: www.zest4leisure.co.uk



Wild bird care Discover what’s new in this growing sector of the market p24-25


Transforming a garden centre Tong returns to its former glories p10

Report & pi

JULY 2017

Advice and information for garden centre professionals


THE TOP INTERVIEWS People in the news

GIMA Golf & Activity Day Special report on pages 18 & 20

The changing face of plant retailing Exclusive feature on the slick operation at Coolings


Where better to find out about the changing face of plant retail than to visit one of the top four biggest single-site retailers, Coolings Rushmore Hill...

Moving with the times GTN’s Trevor Pfeiffer took breakfast at the Coolings Rushmore Hill garden centre in Knockholt, near Sevenoaks, Kent, with Chairman Paul Cooling and MD Gary Carvasso, to find out their views on the rapidly changing plant sales scene. Paul Cooling was brought up in the family business based at the original site in Chislehurst, which was started by his grandfather. Paul said: “I remember sitting in my Pest & Diseases lecture at college, wondering if I would ever understand the life cycle of a greenfly? But I did, and for the first few years this information was quite helpful. I could explain to customers that they needed a certain type of bug killer because greenfly have a life cycle of seven days - and it came across as being quite knowledgeable. “But in this day-and-age customers don’t want that information. They don’t even know what the problem was in the first place. They don’t want horticulturalists showing off by detailing all the intricacies of greenfly lifecycles. The skills we need now are more the people and business skills, the horticultural element is minimal. I find that a bit of a shame really because it’s the horticultural bit I enjoy.” In spite of the lack of interest in pest and diseases information, education with social interaction remains a key component of the business strategy. The Coolings Lecture Room is used six days a week during term time and three evenings a week with RHS courses, garden design courses and even botanical painting courses. More than 600 children a year go through the interactive lessons in the garden centre and production nursery, and all new company recruits join the RHS course. Paul explained: “So much of it is down to educating the customer about what’s achievable, so that we manage their expectations and they get what they expect - or better. Some customers will be happy spending £12-£15 on something that will look good for a few months and then be quite happy to replace it next year. Others are not happy paying even a fiver unless it’s going to come up year after year.” Gary Carvasso joined Coolings straight from school, progressing on to become MD at Rushmore Hill in 2006. He explained the impact of changing consumer demand on the staffing mix: “Our plant staff have evolved from solid horticulturalists; we have still got some, but we have added some very good people with a strong, healthy interest in gardening. They all need to be fantastic with

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people and understand that selling is part of the role. For many years if you mentioned that you were a salesman to a member of plant staff they were uncomfortable about it. Now we want customers to get the right choice for the right outcome, so that mindset has changed. We are more aware that people want solutions so we are presenting ideas, themes, colour schemes, planted containers, the entire look - almost the IKEA model of selling.” Coolings has just completed a 10-year plan with plants at the core. “We did wonder a few years ago whether young people would want or need to buy plants, and what the impact of garden decoration rather than gardening might be. And we looked at the future of online plant retailing. However, we remain convinced that the interest in plants and being outside won’t change. People want to come out and have an experience - they want a destination.” Gary continued: “For us plant retailing is about volume and quality, with aspirational displays, but it’s still very much the large block of colour that attracts sales and if you

EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING The Garden Communication & Media Company Ltd (TGCMC), The Old School, 4 Crowland Road, Eye, Peterborough PE6 7TN Tel 01733 775700 Fax 01733 775838 gardentradenews@tgcmc.co.uk www.gardentradenews.co.uk


Facts Figures can suggest that there’s an offer involved then people buy into that even more. “We retain a significant A-Z, particularly for shrubs and herbaceous plants, and climbers. Because of the volume we sell it would be a management nightmare not to have the A-Z, but we do also have enough space to also pull out the bestsellers. If an A-Z becomes a weedy mess, or a plant hospital, then that isn’t going to sell anything. But if it is maintained and there is colour on the end caps and something to draw people in, then it becomes a key part of the experience.” Paul added that they do still get people coming with a list of plants they want: “We get more than most centres because we have the range, but it happens less frequently now. The fanatics, the collectors of specific plants, have largely gone and we now sell them via our website. You’ve got to be within an hour’s drive to make it worth coming out for the day.”

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4.5 1913 £6.4 600

acres – the size of the Production Nursery. The year Coolings started in Chislehurst. turnover at Rushmore Hill.

children attending the Coolings Busy Bee Gardener Schools Programme.

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staff at Rushmore Hill.

staff at Green & Pleasant.


THE GTN TEAM Editor: Neil Pope neil.pope@tgcmc.co.uk Associate Editor: Mike Wyatt mike.wyatt@gardentradenews.co.uk Managing Director: Trevor Pfeiffer trevor.pfeiffer@gardentradenews.co.uk Publisher: Mandy Davies mandy.davies@tgcmc.co.uk Advertising: Alan Burdon alan.burdon@tgcmc.co.uk Ben Greenwood ben.greenwood@tgcmc.co.uk HOW TO SUBSCRIBE Tel 01733 775700 or email subscriptions@gardentradenews.co.uk Subscription rates UK: £145 Subscription includes a password for full access to GTN Online plus a weekly copy of GTN Bestsellers OUR PUBLISHERS GTN is published by The Garden Communication & Media Company Ltd (TGCMC), who also publish: * www.gardentradenews.co.uk website * Weekly GTN Xtra and Pet Trade Xtra newsletters * Garden Radio * Official Glee Catalogue and Glee Daily News Online – the only official guides to the garden industry’s leading annual trade show SMALL PRINT All material © TGCMC 2017. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or not, without the express permission of the publishers. The information contained in this publication is published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. TGCMC Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any error or misrepresentation. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or other damage caused by reliance on information contained in this publication or in the event of any bankruptcy or liquidation or cessation of the trade of any company, individual or firm mentioned, is hereby excluded.

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The Pet Solution Supplier If you’re looking to stock the ultimate in pet and wild bird care products then a trip to the new Petface showroom is essential. Here’s a glimpse of what’s in store. Petface has now launched its new showroom at Stotfold in Hertfordshire and is eager to welcome garden centre buyers to the impressive set-up. In the light and airy two-storey building you’ll find everything needed to stock your pet department as well as one of the most comprehensive displays of wild bird care products and food. “I want buyers to look at Petface and think this company is the Solution Supplier,” says Sales Channel Manager, Chris Stevenson. “We have all the pet products that a garden centre needs, and our wild bird care offering is one of the most impressive in the marketplace.” The showroom is split over two floors and is more than double the size of the previous layout. The whole Petface product range is now on display, and thanks to the expertise of Helen Jones (Business Development Manager) and Sarah McGarty (Merchandiser) the showroom is designed to look like an instore retail area. The layout also helps visitors to discover different ways to display Petface products depending on the amount of space they have available. “We’re very proud of how the new showroom looks,” adds Chris, “and as a result we want all our customers to come and visit us. No matter how big or how small, we have a solution to fit every need.”

Display Trees An innovative way to showcase Petface’s wide range of bird feeders is on a wooden display tree. There’s a new range of mid-market bird feeders which slot neatly between the great value LokTop Feeders and the Signature range. The Premium range offers a great blend of style, function and value, and can be displayed perfectly on the display tree. “These wooden display trees are becoming increasingly popular with our customers,” says Chris Stevenson (pictured above).

Feed Centre The Feed Centre FSDU (Free Standing Display Unit) is a great way of linking a particular design of feeder with a specific feed. There are five mixes in the Feed Centre range – Sunflower Hearts, Peanuts, Nyjer Seed, Dried Mealworms and Seed Blend – and they’re all available in FSDUs. Petface is offering compelling deals on this range.

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Fat Balls & Mixed Pallets Petface offers safe, no-net 90g balls in Value Packs in both 20% and 30% suet versions. Right is an example of how both can be merchandised attractively on the shop floor. Mixed bags of wild bird seed and peanuts are also being displayed on pallets for those customers who want to buy larger quantities.


Bolt-on Wall Stands Petface is able to cater for all sizes of pet departments – both small and large – and that’s clearly displayed in the new showroom. The one-metre wide wall stands can be bolted together to make larger displays of toys and accessories.

Dog bedding Petface is constantly adding to its impressive range of dog beds, which come in different styles, sizes and designs. The eye-catching products welcome visitors to the new showroom and are an instant show-stopper.

Comprehensive range There’s everything a pet owner will need in terms of accessories in the Petface range. Grooming products, collars and leads, feeding bowls, treats and toys – they’re all here in the new showroom. And cat owners are covered too with beds, carriers and scratchers.

The Petface Showroom is now open. To arrange a visit contact your Petface representative, call 01462 832000 or email sales@petface.com


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continued from page 3 Coolings has a second site - Coolings Green & Pleasant - just 1.5 miles up the road. Here there is a slightly different feel and they sell garden furniture, BBQs, gifts and other parts of the expected garden centre mix that they cannot sell at Rushmore Hill due to planning restrictions. There is also an extensive nature trail, which is a great entertainment attraction. “We serve different types of gardeners at the two centres. They are of the same socioeconomic group, but at Green & Pleasant they are younger, family-oriented and generally less experienced,” Paul explained. “The range and the knowledge of people coming to Green & Pleasant means we have one or two people who are plants people but a lot of the time customers are just attracted to whatever is looking good. I believe it’s down to the fact that at supermarkets you can help yourself to plants from a trolley outside the front door while buying your groceries, so shopping in this way for plants is becoming the norm. “The advent of the cooking programmes on TV has highlighted a similar scenario. I enjoy food but I don’t have a clue what to cook and what to combine to get to the finished product and it’s the same with people and gardens. They know they would like a pristine lawn and a nice cottage garden border but they don’t have a clue how to get

6 July 2017

there. The service aspect is becoming more important now.” Paul and his team thought that sales of garden furniture would move all online a few years ago, but that hasn’t happened. Just like shopping for plants; “people like to come out for the experience, to feel and touch.” Where the internet has had an interesting effect at Coolings is on the delivery of free ‘educational’ material. “Years ago a free hanging basket course would have standing room only with 100 people packed in; now

you only get half a dozen. Yet if you charge for it and it’s done well plenty of people want to take part.” Gary’s view is that “If they want it for free they look on the internet these days. Whereas paying to go on a course allows them to meet other people and it becomes a good social experience too.” As we finish breakfast in Arthurs, the coffee shop that opened in 1997, Gary explains: “That’s about the time trade exploded. I bet in five years we will look back and see even more change - we just have to be prepared for it. But buying plants and the interest in being outdoors won’t change, of that I’m sure.”

The Top 4 single site plant retailers 1. Longacres Bagsot 2. Otter Nuseries, Ottery St Mary 3. RHS Wisley 4. Coolings, Rushmore Hill

Coolings Green & Pleasant attracts younger, family oriented, less experienced gardeners.





A special ribbon cutting event has been held at Notcutts Garden Centre Wheatcroft in Nottingham to mark the opening of the new Notcutts Garden. The garden was officially opened by Garden Centre Manager Nic Perrett alongside customers, local gardening groups and the Notcutts Wheatcroft team. The Notcutts Garden, which is split into two zones, aims to inspire visitors with creative ideas for their own outdoor spaces. Zone A includes an impressive water feature table in which culinary kitchen plants and herbs are the star of the show, whilst Zone B is inspired by a vintage country garden.


This image below is of Smart Garden’s soonto-be opened new logistics hub, aptly named ‘The Eureka Building’, just 1 minute off the A1 at Peterborough. Paris Natar’s family property company, P.A. Properties Limited, has invested more than £18m in purchasing the land, plus the build. The project is being managed by Paris’s eldest daughter Sara, a qualified surveyor and commercial property investment specialist.


As the garden retail industry shows its continued support for the GIMA Awards with a record-breaking number of products entered to win one of the coveted prizes, it has been confirmed that one of the nation’s top comedians, Hal Cruttenden, will host the 2017 awards ceremony (13th July, Celtic Manor Resort, Newport South Wales). Hal, who is most famously known for his work on BBC’s ‘Mock the Week’ and ‘Have I Got News For You’, as well as his own stand-up show, and Radio 4 sitcom ‘Hal’, is also a three time Chortle Award nominee and was previously nominated for the Perrier Newcomer Award in Edinburgh.


Westland winner Peter Knight from Taunton has donated part of his £1,000 prize to his grandchildren’s primary school to use in its garden.Peter was one of the first to win a competition held by Westland to celebrate the 15th anniversary of its No.1 selling compost, Westland Multi-Purpose Compost with John Innes. He bought the compost at his local garden centre, Monkton Elm in Taunton, which is where he also collected his prize. He spent the money on a few gardening supplies for his own garden, donating the rest to North Newton Community Primary School, which his grandchildren Sophie (8) and Harry (5) attend.


The third Bunnings Warehouse store in the UK and Ireland opened its doors to customers in Hemel Hempstead, Buckinghamshire. The new store, on the site of the former Homebase at Apsley Mills Retail Park, continues the momentum of establishing the Bunnings Warehouse format in the UK’s £38billiona-year home improvement and garden market. The Hemel Hempstead store is over 64,000 square feet and employs 111 people – including 53 in newly created full and part-time roles.

Full versions of these reports first appeared in GTN Xtra, our weekly e-newsletter mailed direct to registered email addresses to keep readers in touch with industry news as it happens. To register, send your email address to: trevor. pfeiffer@tgcmc.co.uk and put ‘GTN Xtra’ in the subject line.

8 July 2017

Career Moves


Phil Hurst (above) has joined Mr Fothergill’s as Finance Director. He comes to the Suffolk seedsman from the food group Hain Daniels where he was Financial Controller. This followed spells at Molton Brown and Activity Superstore. Phil said: “Mr Fothergill’s is clearly a very well run business and has clear goals and objectives. I am looking forward to contributing to future growth plans.” Meanwhile, Matt Jackson has joined Mr Fothergill’s as Business Development Manager. This is a new role and Matt will work with the key garden centre groups and collaborate closely with the field sales teams. Matt said: “I am delighted to be joining Mr Fothergill’s to team up with their accomplished sales force. There are exciting plans for the future and I hope to contribute my part to the full!”

Grange Fencing has boosted its marketing team with the appointment of two dedicated team members. With over 15 years of marketing experience, CIM-qualified Mark Morris has been appointed marketing manager at Grange Fencing and will be responsible for ensuring continuous progression across all aspects of the company’s marketing and communications strategy. Mark will be supported by recently appointed marketing executive Peter Holloway, who brings with him an in-depth knowledge of retail marketing and relationship management. Mark and Peter will be joining Grange’s head of commercial, Rob Giles and marketing co-ordinator, Julie Hall to create a steadfast marketing team.


MINUTES WITH Mark Farnsworth Co-owner, Tong Garden Centre

Lack of garden industry knowledge didn’t deter Mark Farnsworth and his business partner from buying Tong Garden Centre in Bradford. It has proved to be a wise move as the centre goes from strength to strength.

When did you buy Tong Garden Centre? We bought Tong in May 2015. What made you believe you could transform the business? Tong is in a great location in the middle of West Yorkshire. We have nearly two million people within a 45-minute drive of the centre. The building was in good order and is a large 60,000 sq ft rectangle which we felt was good to retail from. The site also has 650 car park spaces. We are also lucky that we have 14 acres in total so there is plenty of space to do other things. Finally, we knew Tong had done good business in the past so why couldn’t it do good trade again? Did it worry you that you weren’t from a garden centre background? Yes and no! Yes, because we didn’t know the industry and didn’t have huge amounts

of product knowledge so that was quite daunting. No, because we knew we had the enthusiasm, drive and commitment to give it a real go. One of the things that we knew we had to do first was to assemble a great team and we have been very lucky in the quality of people we have assembled. They have done a great job so far and we are very proud of them all. What things needed fixing first? There was so much to do that we actually ran about 12 projects at the same time. Probably, the very first thing we did was to re-lay the plant area. We took over on 5th May 2015 so we knew that we had to do whatever we could to maximise sales in that area given that we were in the middle of the season. So we spent the first two weeks re-laying and having a good clear-out of stock and bringing in some decent stock.

What new things have you introduced to the garden centre? We have taken the catering side of the business from 150 covers to 310 and nearly doubled the space. We have six concession partners trading nearly 10k sq ft, we have a food hall, a kids’ play area, a new warehouse, a resurfaced car park and even a new drainage system as we couldn’t cope with the increase in visitor numbers. Are you pleased with the progress made so far? We are very pleased, there is still plenty to do but we have made a very encouraging start. The speed of the response from customers has been the most pleasing and it has been great to see how quickly word of mouth can support your growth. Above all though I am so pleased with the team we have put together. These very talented people can deliver sustainable growth and will take us way beyond where we originally thought we could get to. Are you ahead of your business plans? Yes on all fronts – sales are well ahead but we have also invested more sooner than we had planned so the sales v investment model is about where we thought. We are just three years ahead on both scores! It has been great that we have had the confidence to bring forward that investment.

Leeds-based garden designer and TV presenter Katie Rushworth is working with Tong on a year-long series of projects, including a new people’s garden at the Bradford garden centre. “My show garden is about creating something accessible for people to replicate,” said Katie, seen here with Mark Farnsworth at the opening.

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What next for Tong Garden Centre? We have just started to think about the next stage of development so that we can keep the momentum going. I suspect we will be seeking some more indoor retail space probably with additional catering that also allows us to have more seasonal space. We are also becoming much clearer on what we want to be, refining that model, and then I hope we will look for additional sites. It has been great fun so far. It’s a great industry to be involved in and we are having a lot of fun.


Celebrating The Greatest Special report and pictures from GTN’s Greatest Catering Award winners for 2017. Great garden centre retailing is all about creating memorable experiences, and catering teams have the most opportunities every day to deliver that special feeling. But arguably they have the toughest job of any in the garden centre environment. Plenty of opportunity to delight but easy to disappoint if standards slip. That’s why GTN’s Greatest Awards team go and visit the nominated centres to really get a feel for what makes them so special and why they might be worthy of winning the

title…The Greatest Garden Centre Catering Team in the UK. Our experts travelled thousands of miles from North Wales to East Anglia and from Scotland to the South Coast to meet more great catering teams over the past seven months and out of all the centres visited these are the winners. Masterchef winner Jane Devonshire joined GTN’s MD Trevor Pfeiffer on stage at the HTA Catering Conference 2017 to present the awards after dinner.

The Greatest Garden Centre Catering Team Bronze: Green Pastures – a must-visit centre if you are in the area. Silver: Strikes Garforth – the team that started the transformation of the Klondyke catering operation. Gold: Fron Goch – There was no doubt amongst our judges that The Greatest Garden Centre Catering Team is from Fron Goch. “Our team get great pleasure from delighting customers,” Melanie Sewell told our judges. “We are conscious that we are effecting people’s lives, our aim is for them to leave here feeling better.”

MORE WINNERS ON PAGE 14 12 July 2017

A satisfied customer after tea at Fron Goch.


AWARDS The Greatest Chef Team Bronze: Coolings – the colourful and cheery chef team at Arthurs. Silver: Squires Badshot Lea – adding impromptu seasonal items to the menu and cooking outside on a BBQ when the weather permits. Gold: Green Pastures – the team who use their own range of up to 40 salad leaves grown on site and other freshly grown veg to create amazing food in The Gardeners Kitchen (picture below). Gold: Planters Tamworth - winning awards across the catering industry, that’s the team from Planters Tamworth.

The Greatest Front of House Team Bronze: Scotsdales Cambridge – above and beyond the call of duty for The Garden Re-Leaf Day Walk in March. Silver: Hillview Studley Gardenstore – maximising sales from the refurbished main café and the adjacent soft plant café. Gold: Christies of Fochabers – a team who take customer service so seriously they were awarded World Host status this year. An award which also helped the town of Fochabers gain World Host status as part of its local tourism initiative.

The Greatest Garden Centre Coffee Team Bronze: Baytree Coffee Lounge – which opened up new business for the centre and led them to redeveloping their restaurant offering too. Silver: Squires Café Bar, Chertsey – possibly the smallest garden centre in the south east, a welcoming and jovial team presents the exquisite new Café Bar. Gold: Poplars Little Beans – They take their coffee offering really seriously at Poplars, with three different blends, premium pricing and the clearest signage the judges saw to ensure customers get the right drink.

MORE WINNERS ON PAGE 16 14 July 2017


AWARDS The Greatest Afternoon Tea Experience Team Bronze: Fron Goch – Delighting customers with a Gluten Free option too. Silver: Green Pastures – Now serving the Gardeners Afternoon Tea Mk2, simply divine! Gold: Squires Badshot Lea – Their Afternoon Teas are so famous they are booked for baby showers, WI and church meetings, Hospice bereavement groups and even for wakes after funerals of passed customers at Squires Badshot Lea.

Squires Badshot Lea team excel in providing their excellent afternoon tea for walk-ins as well as bookings seven days a week, any time of day.

The Greatest Garden Centre Baking Team Bronze: Perrywood – Tried to bribe the judges with the most wonderful Stilton and Walnut scones, they are delicious and not surprising sell at a premium price. Silver: Fron Goch – Home baked gluten free and vegan baking provide some of their many bestsellers (above). Gold: Glyndwr Plant Centre – Cyclists and gardeners flock to Corwen in North Wales for their cakes, especially Myfanwy’s Bakewell tart (below).

The Greatest Pot Wash Team To celebrate the most critical part of any garden centre catering operation. Gold: Perrywood – where the Pot Wash team is the whole front of house team. Gold: Fron Goch – they can only use both dishwashers in the afternoon after the ovens are turned off as the site only has a single phase power supply.


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A day of rain, sunshine, networking and healthy competition Report and pictures from the GIMA Golf and Activity Day. Suppliers and retailers from the garden retail industry came together for a day of fun, team building and networking at the GIMA Charity Golf & Activity Day, raising much needed funds for Greenfingers and St Richard’s Hospice. The 2017 event marked the first time that Kwik Cricket and the Laser Clay Shooting Challenge were added to the mix, opening the event up for more industry colleagues to get out from behind their desks for a day of team building and fun. In total 17 teams entered the annual golf competition, and another two completed the rivalry over on the Kwik Cricket and Shooting pitches. On the golf course, the biggest prize on the day was over the 18 holes. It was a fiercely fought competition but it was the team from Grange Fencing who retained their winner’s title, taking home the trophy for the second year running. Coming up a close second was Smart Garden’s A-team, with the Mr Fothergills team following behind in third position. As always, the golfers had not just their handicap to beat, but a number of other prizes up were for grabs keeping the competitive juices flowing. The winners of all the prizes from the golf course included Steve Harper, James Mitchell, James Parr, Steve Ainscough, Simon Neat, Jerry Walker, Phil Swainston and Raoul Curtis Machin, who all successfully beat the pro. Each of these

winners took home a voucher for a ‘four-ball’ at Telford Golf and Country Club. There were also several spot prizes available, the winners of each receiving a bottle of champagne and sleeve of golf balls. The winners were:

Nearest Pin 3rd Hole - Pete Bunker Nearest Pin 11th Hole - Chris Owen Nearest Pin 16th Hole - Andy Bestwick Nearest Pin in 2, 8th Hole - James Mitchell Longest Drive 14th Hole - Dave Kearsley Straightest Drive 18th Hole - Derek Bunker

Turn to page 20 for pictures from the GIMA Activity Day

GIMA Golf Day Results Pos 1st. 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th

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Points 89 87 82 82 81 78 78 78 77 76 75 73 69 64 58 57 40

Company Grange Fencing Smart Garden A Mr Fothergill’s Seeds Growise B Woodlodge Westland GIMA Zest 4 Leisure Vitax Growise A The HTA Cadix Forest Garden Gardman Ascential Events Smart Garden B Bathgate Silica

Quality background music for HTA retail members with no PRS or PPL licences for only ÂŁ450 per year

Garden Radio, The Old School Studio, 4 Crowland Road, Eye, Peterborough, PE6 0TX. Call 01733 775700 or email gardenradio@tgcmc.co.uk www.gardentradenews.co.uk

July 2017 19


GIMA Activity Day The competition was equally fierce over on the Kwik Cricket and Shooting pitches in Lilleshall, the cricket club of Colin Wetherley Mein of Vitax. The first time these events have been added to the roster, participants were unsure to begin with but quickly discovered their talents for both the cricket and laser shooting. Like the golf, these events also included a sense of friendly competition with Andrew Peers winning the shooting challenge, and a team made up of colleagues from Cadix, Kelkay, Glee, Bathgate and PetQuip winning the overall challenge. Aside from the fun, there was also a serious element to the day, and that was to raise funds for two most deserving charities – Greenfingers and St Richard’s Hospice, the latter being selected as GIMA’s 2017 charity by GIMA president, Chris Ramsden. The total fund raised will be revealed at the GIMA Awards on July 13th, Celtic Manor. Talking about the Golf & Activity Day, Vicky Nuttall, GIMA Director said: “What another fantastic event. The weather may have been a tad unpredictable but nothing

we aren’t all used to! It was so great to see so many retailers and suppliers coming together for a day of networking, friendly competition and fun. I’m sure Greenfingers and St Richard’s Hospice are going to be overjoyed by the endless generosity of all those that attended.

“Our thanks go to everyone who attended, as well as all the staff at the Telford Hotel & Golf Resort, and Lilleshall Cricket Club. Here’s to next year!” A full gallery from the day can be found at www.gima.org.uk

Guest of honour at the GIMA Golf & Activity Day prizegiving was retired jump jockey Richard Pitman.

20 July 2017



Retail Lab @ Glee Everything you need to know Created by a panel of industry experts to create something entirely fresh and new at Glee, the Retail Lab @ Glee is set to be the key focal point of the 2017 show, and will be the exhibition’s interactive hub full of inspiration and the latest trend information. Unlike any previous features at Glee, the Retail Lab will be future facing, providing visiting retailers with a long-term vision for their retail environments. Focussing on consumer engagement, market insight and effective access to future facing trend information, the Retail Lab @ Glee will be located at the very heart of the show. Combining interactive content, guided tours, and self-learning material, visitors will be able to arm themselves with content that not just inspires but will also drive them to action new retailing ideas within their own stores. The aim of all of this being to help retailers to grow both their offering and business, whilst also targeting new customers. Split into four sections, the area will focus on four key consumer themes as identified by the Retail Lab’s Creative Director, Romeo Sommers, and world-leading trend experts, WGSN. These themes will be: Well-being, Family, Community, and ‘Re-wilding’. Why has it been developed? The Retail Lab @ Glee has been created to offer something that looks to the future of garden retailing, focussing on trends that are within touching distance; trends that will directly affect consumer spending habits in the near future. As consumer spending habits continue to

change, and become increasingly influenced by aspects such as environment, economics, and social consciousness, the role of garden retailers and the way they interact and appeal to their core markets is also changing. The Retail Lab @ Glee recognises that these changes are taking place, and is here to cut through the noise. What will retailers and suppliers get out of visiting the Retail Lab? The Retail Lab @ Glee will enable retailers to retail effectively, ensuring the longevity of their existing customer base, whilst also engaging with new consumers for a profitable future. From inspirational ideas regarding retail spaces, to new merchandising ideas, the Retail Lab @ Glee will be unlike anything ever before seen at the show. What shape will it take? Designed by Retail Lab’s Creative Director, Romeo Sommers, and made a reality by Robin of Moore Consulting, the Retail Lab will form a real hub area at Glee 2017. The ‘Lab’ will be divided into four unique sections, that will work as stand-alone inspiration hubs, or together as a visual journey through the store of the future. Guided tours, info points, interactive content, and TV screens will also be supported by the onsite Retail Lab team who will walk retailers through the area, answering questions as they go. The HTA, associate partners of the Retail Lab @ Glee, will also have its own inspirational dedicated area, providing a

You can follow Glee on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Glee_Birmingham Watch us on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/GleeGardeningBirmingham Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Glee.Event Glee is an Ascential event. www.gleebirmingham.com

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networking and educational hub at the show. Glee’s seminar theatre – in partnership with Inside Retail - will complete the offering, bringing a daily schedule of top industry speakers together to tackle those big issues affecting the garden retail industry today. The Retail Lab @ Glee branding – more than just a logo Like all aspects of Glee 2017, the Retail Lab has been issued with its own branding identity. The icon itself takes inspiration from the Fibonacci Sequence. It represents the team of specialists working together to help you take advantage of new developments in garden centre retailing. specifically, the Golden Section which occurs throughout nature, and has a three-fold meaning: 4It represents growth, evolution, progression and trust. 4A scientific solution with organics origins. 4A natural mix of specific elements that create a perfect balance.

The four carefully selected colours represent the Retail Lab’s four themes: Family, Community, Re-Wilding and Well-being.


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Gardman’s birdcare strategy delivers growth in market share The latest data from analysts GfK data suggests that Gardman is the only brand to have grown its market share since the launch of the new wild bird care season in August 2016. The figures show that Gardman, which is re-branding its birdcare range with a new look for next season, was double the size of the No.2 branded competitor and had the fastest sales and volume growth.* Other data showed the brand also had more consumer awareness than its closest branded competitor.** *Source: GfK Gardman Wild Bird Care Report, August 2016 - March 2017 Gardman says the results are proof of the success of the four-pronged strategy launched last year to re-invigorate the category. The latest stockist count is more than 500 garden centres. The company launched more than 70

products designed to make it easier for consumers to care for garden birds; from easy to clean nest boxes and feeders through to easy to assemble feeding station kits to filled up flip top feeders. In an initiative designed to encourage more consumers to feed garden birds all year round, Gardman’s autumn Royal British Legion and spring Marie Curie campaigns achieved combined retail sales of over £3 million and 450,000 units through more than 900 garden centres. The Royal British Legion campaign surpassed its target

donation by 20%. The company’s decorative garden feeders generated more than £1 million of retail sales since its launch last year, clearly showing that the decorative garden trend is equally relevant to feeding the birds. Finally, more 400 garden centres now stock Gardman’s children’s range, which includes everything to teach children about the importance of looking after garden birds and the enjoyment it brings. Initiatives designed to maintain growth in the new season include ay upweighting of the Supreme range of premium blends, the launch of a Ready to Feed range of easy-touse products, more charity-based campaigns and re-designed packaging to soften the appeal of the décor range. Sources: *: GfK Gardman Wild Bird Care Report, August 2016 - March 2017. **Pragma independent report

Petals and dewdrops inspire new feeders

lodgings for insects through Glass or plastic tubes will cause condensation and fungus moulds so aim to stock products containing natural materials Deco-Pak’s new insect hotels line-up Four Seasons (RRP £9.99) The bright colours will attract bees, who will find a multitude of shelters in a fun house-shaped structure. Includes wood shavings, pine cones and bamboo, painted sloping roof and hook for hanging. Boutique (RRP £12.99) With a protective two-part metal roof, all visiting insects will be kept dry. Butterflies are especially well catered for thanks to

the spacious grill areas that are covered by veneers that allow just enough room for them to slide in and out. The Lodge (£12.99) Will cater for a wide variety of invertebrates in a compact space. Solitary bees will enjoy the bamboo canes on the middle level. The Tower (£19.99) At over 49cm high, the tower has the space to house whole colonies. Supplied with a metal roof, the structure contains bamboo and wood shavings. Ladybirds (whose larvae are predators of aphids) will find it ideal.


Wildlife habitat product designers and manufacturer Wildlife World has introduced two new bird feeders. The new ceramic Petal Cup feeder is a wild bird feeder with a ground spike for placement in flower beds, lawns, wildlife gardens, pots or planters. There are red, yellow and blue versions, allowing bird watchers to spot birds feeding against its vibrant colour – a particular benefit in winter. The cup has a drainage hole and is suitable for all weather conditions. The ground spike is dark green and comes in three sections that screw together, with varying height options. The feeder should be cleaned and its food replaced every three to four days for good bird hygiene. The new Dewdrop Window Feeder is a transparent design that allows nature lovers to clearly watch small birds perch on the box whilst feeding. The clear moulded Perspex allows observation from all angles and is easy to secure to the window with two heavy suction pads. The design is also waterproof with just a small circular entrance for birds. Norman Sellers, managing director at Wildlife World, says the Dewdrop window feeder is the closest you will ever see wild birds in their environment. “Its shape is elegant and innovative, replicating that of a teardrop. This design is an example of our premium production, providing an attractive wildlife accessory for wild bird enthusiasts of all ages.”

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Power of PR

Squire’s Garden Centres recognise that good Public Relations can drive customers into their stores so they employ a specialist agency, Kavanagh Communications, to handle things for them. We spoke to Account Director Samantha Cuthbert about the power of PR. How long have you been working for Squire’s Garden Centres? We’ve worked for Squire’s for about 10 years. Do you deal with one person at Squire’s? The key contact is Karen Smith, Squire’s Group Marketing Manager, but we also work closely with the whole team at Squire’s. How pro-active are you in getting new stories from your client or do you wait for them to put forward ideas? We are very pro-active in generating stories; otherwise we wouldn’t be doing our job properly! We set an annual PR plan at the start of the financial year, and then have a calendar of stories and PR opportunities to use throughout the year. Some are seasonally or event focused, whilst others are used as footfall drivers or awareness building. We also manage media relations as events occur. Do you arrange the photography to go along with the press releases? Squire’s provide the images to accompany press releases, but for other clients we usually provide photography and design support. How important is PR in raising awareness for garden centres? PR is hugely important in raising awareness and driving shopper engagement. By securing media coverage through various outlets we’re increasing brand awareness to both new and existing customers –

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encouraging new customers through the door and giving existing customers more reasons to visit. This grows the customer base and encourages brand loyalty and trust. Do you have a good relationship with both the local media as well as the trade press? Absolutely! PR is all about having great relationships with the media, knowing who to contact and when. As well as the trade press and local media we are also in regular contact with the national press, magazines, bloggers, radio and TV, as well as more unusual or niche titles depending what topic we are focusing on. Do you monitor and feedback all the coverage you get for your client? Yes, it’s vital to monitor the media coverage you generate, otherwise how would you determine whether your activity has been effective? We monitor all coverage in a monthly report showing all the articles generated, along with the value of the articles as well as the circulation reached.


What advice would you give to a garden centre owner/manager? Think about what potential customers want to hear and what will motivate their interest in your centre, not just about what you want to promote. Consider an over-arching brand message to set your business apart from your competitors. Make the news in your press releases interesting, and include at least one high-resolution image. Local media are always keen to promote events, so start by focusing on these, and then branch out. Think about what’s great about your business, any quirky or interesting stories that have happened, and link to seasonality if appropriate. Remember that monthly titles can have deadlines of up to two months before publication, so get your information out early for them. Consider hiring a PR Agency, as they will put the plan together for you, write press releases, and will manage your reputation and exposure with publications and journalists to secure features that will help the commercial success of your business.

What Squire’s have to say... Karen Smith, Squire’s Group Marketing Manager, commented: “PR is a big part of our marketing communications plan. It allows us to connect with local communities, and enables us to get more detailed information out there about what we’ve got to offer. As well as increasing brand awareness our PR really helps to drive footfall, and gives us a great return on investment.”


PATS Telford will be bigger and better The biggest-ever PATS show being held at Telford International Centre on September 24-25 will be the only place this Autumn to see all the new pet products to be launched in the UK. Britain’s No.1 pet trade exhibition is THE show where the whole of the industry gather under one roof with over 200 companies showcasing their products in one massive hall. It’s the ideal event for pet retailers and garden centres to decide what products to stock over the next year with hundreds of items being exhibited, many of which are new launches.

Here are 10 reasons why pet retailers and garden centres should visit PATS Telford.


More than 200 exhibitors. PATS Telford is the UK national pet trade exhibition showcasing products and services from all the leading pet food and accessory firms. International exhibitors. Companies from America, Russia, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Finland will be joining their counterparts from the UK and Ireland to make PATS Telford a truly international show. Over 300 new products. Last year at Telford a record number of new products were exhibited in the New Product Showcase, and the signs point towards that figure being surpassed in September. Bestsellers of tomorrow. All the products entered into the Showcase will be judged by a panel of independent pet retailers on the first day of the show, and the winners of each category will be announced at lunchtime. Past New Product Award winners have gone on to become bestselling products. Great show deals. PATS is the ideal place to take advantage of cash-saving offers on orders placed at the show. Strong line-up of speakers. Experts will deliver two days of unrivalled seminars, designed to give pet retailers ahead-of-

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the-game ideas on new lines, new approaches and new profit potential. Top grooming demonstrations. The PATS Grooming Workshops will feature state-of-the-art grooming demonstrations from leading names in the industry. Everything under one roof. PATS is the only pet trade exhibition in the UK to provide visitors with the opportunity to see the latest launches in one massive arena. And it’s free to enter – just register at www. patshow.co.uk. Extensive catering facilities. Receive a free cup of tea or coffee, and plan your movements with the aid of a free catalogue. If you arrive before 10am you will also receive a free refreshment voucher, redeemable throughout the day (subject to availability). Getting there couldn’t be simpler. Telford International Centre is ideally situated, being only 15 minutes from the M6 motorway, and within easy access of Birmingham and Manchester airports. Parking is free of charge at the venue. Rail transport is also excellent with Telford Central Railway Station just a two-minute shuttle bus ride from the exhibition.


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INSIGHT Dobbies CEO Nicolas Marshall (left) and chairman Andrew Bracey hosted an evening in the Orangery at Kew Gardens for representatives of British plant growers.

Plants take centre stage at Dobbies CEO Nicholas Marshall has revealed that his ambition is to make Dobbies the sector leader in everything it does with plants being the centre stage to this renaissance. He was speaking at a Dobbies-hosted hosted event at the Orangery, Kew Gardens, attended by over 150 representatives from British plant growers. After guided tours of the gardens, Nicholas Marshall addressed the invited guests and members of Dobbies staff. Here’s what he had to say… “Dobbies has a long history and is a wonderful brand that attracts great loyalty

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from customers all over the country. “I’ve known and admired Dobbies all through my career because I am a friend of James Barnes, who as you all know was responsible for building Dobbies into a national brand. “I often used to speak to James and compare notes as I first ran Country Gardens and then Wyevale. Dobbies spent the last few years owned by Tesco but last summer Midlothian Capital came along and fortunately bought it. I therefore jumped at the chance to come to Dobbies when chairman Andrew Bracey, an


old friend, rang me. I couldn’t wait to get going again. “I’m very fortunate to be joined at Dobbies by a host of old friends – most of them have worked with me for many years – and now together with existing Dobbieites form a very experienced, cohesive, loyal and vibrant team. They are all here tonight and I hope you get a chance to meet them all. “We are completely aware of what we’ve got to do and we will work tirelessly to achieve it. We will cherish Dobbies and polish up the somewhat tarnished image of the last few years. “Our ambition is to make Dobbies the sector leader in everything we do and plants are centre stage to this renaissance. Now is the time for British nurseries to step up to the plate. “Welive in uncertain times. but it’s a real opportunity for the horticultural industry. “We already know that our customers would prefer to buy locally grown British plants and the weakness of the pound against the Euro now gives British nurseries a great opportunity. “We want to do business with British nurseries but we want a fresh approach. Our customers will support you but in return they deserve to be offered the best quality, range and value for money. “We will work with you to provide what the customer wants. We’ve recently announced that we’ve linked with Ocado, the best British on-line retailer with a database of more than 6 million customers. “Currently over 40% of all UK retail sales are on-line and growing. Our gardening market is worth £4 billion and the amount of on-line sales in the gardening is frankly piffling. But the march of progress is inevitable. “The sky is therefore the limit. Now is the time for all of us to step up to the plate, it’s a great opportunity for all.”


AQUA 2017 promises a must-visit show Visitors to AQUA 2017 in October can expect a busy and exciting show as most of the exhibitor stands at the two-day event have now been sold. Having already attracted an impressive number of over 80 exhibitors, the two halls at Telford International Centre will be packed with companies showcasing new products. Show organiser Annie Foord said: “I’m delighted that confidence in the show is reinforced by the number of exhibitors already booked. The UK’s major exhibitors are again heading for Telford and we will be welcoming more international companies than ever before despite the uncertainty over Brexit. “It’s great to know there is such enthusiasm for the show and that it keeps growing in size. This event is an important date in the industry calendar, and retailers can be assured of an enjoyable and profitable visit.” Exhibitors include: Aquadip, Aqua One, Berry Ring, CASCO Pet, Cloverleaf, Eheim, Evolution Aqua, Gordon Low, Heritage Distribution, Hertford Shelving, Interpet, JMC Aquatics, LotusAtlantis, Mars Fishcare, Nishikoi, OASE, Red Sea Aquatics, Tetra, TMC, Velda and Waterlife. A full list is on the AQUA website www. aquatelford.co.uk. As well as meeting up with a long list of AQUA regulars, visitors will be greeted by a host of new faces when the show takes place on October 18-19. A growing number of companies are choosing to exhibit for the first time as they see AQUA as the perfect opportunity to showcase their products to retailers and overseas distributors. New exhibitors include Aquaja, Dennerle, Soell, Marine Arts and OCTO by Reef Octopus. A sure sign of AQUA’s growing importance to the industry is that a third of exhibitors have increased the amount of stand space since the last exhibition in 2015. Heritage Distribution Ltd is one company that acknowledges the benefits of exhibiting at such a prestigious event. “We launched the company at AQUA 2013, and it was the ideal place to start the business,” said Andrew Werendel. “In 2015 we secured 50% more business at the show with more new customers on board. “I’m pleased to announce that we have doubled our stand size for this year’s show, and are lucky enough to have Jack Kent on the stand with us. Jack has invented more aquatic products than anyone I know and is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the marine industry.” As well as getting to see all the new products to be launched on to the market, visitors will be well looked-after during their stay, including a complimentary deli bag lunch and a wide range of catering facilities. Parking at Telford International Centre is also free. Retailers and buyers will be invited to join exhibitors at an AQUA dinner on the first evening of the exhibition. The dinner, which will also be free, is a popular feature of the show, and for the first time the New Product Awards will be presented during the evening. Visitor registration is now open at www.aquatelford.co.uk, where visitors will also be able to book their place at the dinner.


July 2017 29



For the first time in a while we’ve had a dry start to the year. With the exception of a few weeks, the nation has been bathed in above average temperatures and the sun has even made an extended appearance. This good weather has driven us all out into our gardens, and this can mean only one thing for us an industry – a peak in demand for core garden products and accessories. What a great position to be in, I’m sure we can all agree. However, there is one issue that continues to plague our industry – supply and demand. I do, of course, appreciate that when it comes to core gardening products many retailers order initial stock holdings based on historical sales data, and in recent years this would mean reasonably low stock levels. However, good weather has caught out many, with the pressure being placed firmly on the supplier as retailers urgently

demand more stock, often placing singular large volume orders. Many GIMA members, including some of the larger brands, have noted that this demand is placing siginificant pressure at a time when the supporting infrastructure, particularly transportation, is already at seasonal breaking point. Working weeks are already stretched to the maximum, and frustrations are rising as longer lead times and stock shortages take hold. From a supplier perspective the ideal scenario would involve putting in as much stock as possible at the beginning of the season, and then retailers replenish directly when required. Retailers, however, would rather re-order when needed, saving themselves from having excess stock at the end of the year should the weather and economic climate keep consumers from spending. There

is no way around it – these are two very opposing views. So the question remains, how can we work together to find a solution that suits both parties? Is there a real compromise that can benefit all parts of the supply chain? One argument is the concept of ‘enough to fill the shelves’. Sounds simple, and in many ways it is. This concept simply relates to increasing stock levels by a small percentage, arming retailers with enough stock on display plus a surplus to meet peak demand. This will also enable them to buy themselves enough time to re-order in line with supplier lead times, receiving stock before the shelves empty entirely. Some suppliers have, of course, taken matters into their own hands, with advanced technological ordering systems, enabling them to view live stock levels, and efficiently forecast incoming stock demand.

Suppliers and retailers had the chance to network at the GIMA Golf Day. See report and pictures on pages 20-21.

30 July 2017


Time will tell how effective these methods are, and no doubt they will be successful, but there is also no substitute for better communication and compromise. As we look ahead to the coming months, I am sure that core garden product suppliers and retailers will find an equilibrium to suit both parties. However, more collaborative discussions need to be had about how to avoid this problem in the future. GIMA is here to hear the thoughts and experiences of its members, and would also love to hear from retailers also – after all, there are two sides to every story. Email info@gima.org.uk.

CONTACT GIMA To find out more about GIMA and its many member benefits please visit the GIMA website, get in touch with the GIMA office on 01959 565885 or email info@gima.org.uk.

Profile for Garden Trade News

GTN July 2017  

GTN July 2017