3 minute read

YPHA member opens Dor’s Garden in Ross On Wye

Doors open at Dor’s Garden

A new store on the high street for gardeners. That is the vision of Stacey Gibson whose outlet in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire is now up and running.

For many years I have had this concept in my head to combine my skills in design, knowledge of plants and the experience I have built up in sourcing, supply and merchandising into a retail outlet which is accessible to all,” says Stacey. “My love of plants and the enjoyment and benefit they bring came from my mother who inherited that from her mother, my Nan and the difficult times of lockdown brought it into focus. Starting with on-line trading, I knew I wanted to get the shop up and trading and despite the years of thinking about it, it has really all happened quite quickly. Since I got the ball rolling it has quickly turned into an avalanche,” she adds.

Just before Christmans 2021, Stacey found a local estate agent and landlord, both of whom believed in her concept and she secured an HSBC Back Business loan supplemented by Herefordshire Council’s Revive and Thrive grant to help new businesses take their first steps into retail.

“The Marches Growth Hub Herefordshire has provided around 30 hours training in business skills and access to a business mentor for one- to-one sessions, so I’ve had support in sanity checking plans as well as skills in marketing. My landlord has been great, converting the redundant solicitor’s office into the modern, niche retail outlet which I managed to get open for trade in time for the May bank holiday weekend.”

‘Local’ is an important aspect of the concept indoor and garden plants come from just up the road at Allensmore Nurseries, Cacti from Pugh’s Nursery at Bromsgrove, Greenman Tools from the West Country, pot covers and planters supplied by Satchville Gift Company and many of the hardware lines and decorative items from Ascalon on the southern

Business owner Stacey Gibson, with mum Karen (left) cutting the ribbon at the official opening of Dor’s Garden on Friday 22nd April 2022. outskirts of Hereford, barely 10 miles up the road. Even the compost, although coir from Sri-Lanka, is from For Peats Sake, just across the border, in Gloucestershire.

A fully integrated point-of-sale system from Square Register is helping Stacey manage card and contactless payments, online sales, click and collect and delivery, as well as stock inventory and accounting data. While Stacey plans to continue her garden design business, she also has plans to convert and utilise additional building space at the back of the shop to run seasonal workshops and crafting sessions.

Realising running your own business can be a lonely life; Stacey has become an active member of Young People in Horticulture Association (YHPA). She says there are more young people in horticulture than perhaps we realise, and connecting those together is what YPHA achieves. She says keeping in touch via the WhatsApp group, being able to throw a note out there and get feedback of ideas and thoughts from others who have been there before you is a great support.

While Ross-on-Wye promotes itself as ‘the birthplace of British tourism’ , being at an important crossroads, between north, south, east and west, ‘local’ people will obviously form the core of customers when coming to the twice weekly market just a few yards down the High Street. While we were there, a steady flow of locals and tourists were on the street looking in through the shop windows at the colourful displays inside, before venturing in and of course who can resist a browse through a shop full of enticing things to buy?