GTN September 2021 - Garden Trade News, UK

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mixes is being trialled right now. How much do you know about these trials, speak to your suppliers and share this information with your customers – they’ll be fascinated. Colleagues – along with our customers our colleagues have faced immense personal and workplace challenges. Take time to better understand your colleagues needs both in and out of work. The end of labour shortages is not even close yet so looking after the team you’ve got and making your business the employer of choice will become business critical. Whilst plants might be a fast-growing trend we have some way to go to make horticulture a well-trodden career path. To ensure the industry flourishes for years to come we need far more to join it. Catering – its place within garden centres may have changed for ever post covid but it’s not game over; far from it! The popularity of it, since it fully reopened a

The HTA's Million Planting Moments received royal approval with Prince Charles taking part last year.

It’s going to be fine, the industry is in great shape and the world is our friend.

few weeks ago, proves that customers love to eat, drink and be merry with family and friends in garden centres. However, expectations are higher than ever and as we will have to charge more to cover the many increased costs those expectations will continue to rise. Have you taken the time during enforced catering closures to critically review what you do? Creativity – the key to our industry for years gone by and years to come. We have faced many challenges and creative solutions have served us well time after time. For independent horticultural businesses to flourish they need to retain this skill. Customers love the innovation seen across the best centres in the UK. Events such as Greenfingers Garden Re-Leaf Day, National Children’s Gardening Week, a Million Planting Moments and more have proved to capture the imagination of many and generate sales, in centre activity and raise the profile of participants and benefitting charities. Communication - above all others, the most important C of the lot. Without this everything else has little if any impact. Whether it is between grower and customer, importer and shipper, centre to customer or colleague to colleague we need to communicate more than ever before. With the abundance of media channels it should be easier but in fact it is often more difficult as we choose the wrong methods. Yes, customers and colleagues have embraced digital technology but as we return to a mask free world let’s not forget the value of faceto-face communication. Allowing your teams time to engage with each other and their customers will be invaluable. Video conferences and webinars have taught us to listen without interrupting – make use of this newfound skill at every opportunity; listen, understand and solve happily (L.U.S.H.) should be the industry mantra going forward. So as I sign off my Presidency of the HTA, my words of wisdom for my soon to be appointed successor – Brett Avery of Farplants – are “It’s going to be fine, the industry is in great shape and the world is our friend”.

Find out more

The Horticultural Trades Association is the UK industry’s leading membership organisation. It welcomes all sectors of ‘ horticulture – to join please contact services@hta.org.uk.

www.gardentradenews.co.uk

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