2 minute read

Learning from each other on a HTA BIS Study Tour

Delegates enjoyed visiting eight garden retailers including St Peters Garden Centre, Worcester.

Lea rn in g f ro m e a c h o t h e r

On a recent HTA Business Improvement Scheme study tour, delegates found visiting other garden centres a great way to keep on top of trends and share success stories.

Talking and spending time with likeminded people is an ideal way to improve knowledge and, ultimately become more successful. Set up in the 1980’s the HTA’s Business Improvement Scheme has been acting as a catalyst to get people together so they can grow and develop their business, and this autumn 25 delegates visited eight garden centres in the Midlands.

Organised by Steve Myatt, BIS Consultant for

As well as touring other garden centres, members of the BIS (aimed at retailers with a turnover of less than £2m) work closely with each other and specialist garden industry consultant who facilitates regular meetings. The idea is to share experiences, help each other solve problems, identify potential new products and discuss how to make significant changes to improve business. A regular and popular feature of every meeting is a round table review of recent trade activities which includes a discussion on what is selling well and what is not. As part of this discussion members confidentially share data about their businesses. BIS membership is only open to those who are already members of the HTA. the South East, South West, Scotland and North, and sponsored by Smart Garden Products and For more information Red Gorilla, the group were on the HTA Business welcomed at eight centres. Improvement “The feedback has been Scheme search for positive and delegates all had a very enjoyable time, ‘business improvement’ at hta.org.uk or email training@hta.org.uk collecting useful information and ideas for their own businesses,” he says.

Carolyn Spray from Pentland Plants Garden Centre, Midlothian, certainly agrees. “This year’s tour of the Midlands was a brilliant selection of garden centres and we got lots of ideas to take home including new suppliers, creating maps of your site, display ideas and backdrops of local scenes along building walls.” From Gardentime in Devon, Chris Varlow says: “It was great to network with garden centre delegates form all around the country. The range and quality of the centres we visited was superb and as we were all on the same coach, the travel time was really useful for networking and discussion.

I particularly enjoyed the excellent Smiths Garden Centre and took away some great ideas for plantaria signage. With permission from Mick Smith, I also took pictures of their till area which was extremely well designed. We’ve since duplicated the design at Gardentime with great success!”

Exploring the house plant section at Ashwood Nurseries

The tour itinerary:

• Webbs of Wychbold, Droitwich, Worcester • St Peter’s Garden Centre, Norton, Worcester • Stratford Garden Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon,

Warwickshire • Smith’s Garden Centre, Baginton, Warwickshire • Ashwood Nurseries, Kingswinford, West Midlands • Pacific Nurseries, Aldridge, West Midlands, • Planters Garden Centre at Tamworth, Staffordshire • Melbicks Garden Centre, Coleshill, Birmingham