3 minute read

LOFA Column – Working Together

Wor k i n g t o g e t h e r

Gina Hinde, Marketing Manager, LOFA

Isometimes think that we forget we are all working together in this beautiful industry. We’ve all had a challenging time over the last two years. 2020 started with garden centre closures, then storage issues. After that container prices shot through the roof, and I don’t think they are ever going to drop down again to what they were pre covid levels.

Brexit kicked off 2021 which brought with it logistical barriers and the severing of commercial partnerships with Europe. It was also the year of the great garden furniture shortage when you couldn’t buy a rattan chair for love nor money, which was mainly due in part to the Evergiven vessel getting stuck in the middle of the Suez canal causing a halt to passage, and this year it seems we have turned a full 360 and now there is so much stock in stores, warehouses are fit to bursting, but as yet take up at the tills has not kicked in and we are all praying, as we do every year, for the sun to start shining.

I personally think this year will be a completely different animal to the previous two, the increases in fuel, energy, food and interest rates have all halted the buying frenzy that we have benefited from during lockdown, and now we are maybe reaping what we have sown?

To add another spanner into the works there is a new outbreak of Covid in China resulting in Shanghai ports being closed. Not all of our members ship product from China but those that do will once again have the thankless task of juggling ports, shipping times, containers and dealing with congestion and demurrage. Some are likening this new Covid outbreak to the original outbreak in Wuhan and it may take a few weeks for the effects of this lock down in the east to hit the west. I have contacted some of our LOFA membership and they are now working with garden centres and stores to help where they can with the lack of storage space. However, please remember that we are all in this together, we are all working in the same industry and our members are having to spin a lot of plates to keep the supply chain moving so please be patient with them. If stores cancel orders/containers it means they lose a loading slot which are rarer than hen’s teeth.

If you want or need help speak to our LOFA members, they are on the end of the phone, or just an email away, and they will be only too happy to work out a way forward together, remember there are consequences to cancellations which costs them time and money, a commodity they unfortunately don’t have an endless supply of.


BBQ Whisperer at SOLEX 22

Marcus Bawdon, chef, consultant editor BBQ magazine, teacher, author, aka the BBQ whisperer will be joining us at Solex 22 in July.

Marcus grew up in front of the fire cooking simple honest food in the embers of the fire, Jacket potatoes with charred crisp skin and loads of butter and toasted chestnuts were some of the family favourites, and these flavours have stayed with him, thus fuelling the fire on his food loving journey.

His love of all things fire has built into an all-encompassing passion, so no wonder he was crowned King of Meatopia, one of the UK’s biggest BBQ events.

His website, Country Woodsmoke is jammed packed with great food cooked in the garden is full of recipes, videos in fact everything you need or could want to know about barbecuing. He also runs the UK BBQ School where he teaches everyone from beginners to chefs looking to learn new skills.

Visit the Loving Outdoor Living area at SOLEX 22 12-14 July www.solexexhibition.com