As businesses up and down the country begin to reopen following lockdown, customers at Abergavenny Garden Centre are benefitting from the hard work put in by staff during that time.
The centre in Llanfoist may have been forced to close its doors to customers on multiple occasions during the last year, but since re-opening on March 22, business has been thriving with customers eager to see what staff have been up to whilst they’ve been away.
With a working plant nursery, the centre has benefitted from not being solely reliable on suppliers, and with the work involved in maintaining the nursery the centre was able to keep all their staff in work with no-one going on furlough.
Speaking to the Chronicle, centre Director Gavin Trinder has been delighted to see customers appreciating the staff’s hard work. Gavin said: “We have 12 members of staff at the centre, and we were very lucky with our facilities here such as the nursery that we didn’t have to place anyone on furlough, which is something we are really proud of.”
“Obviously we had to close our doors to customers which was challenging, but we were still able to do deliveries and that side of the business grew greatly from a couple of deliveries a week before lockdown to deliveries almost every-day now.
“The social media side has also been expanded which has allowed us to increase our customer base as people become more aware of what we do, so our links to our customers has improved if anything from before lockdown which is great.”
A family-run business which t has been established for over 60 years, Abergavenny Garden Centre is home to a wide range of different plants, including home-grown herbs, veg, perennial and annual bedding plants.
The centre also sells garden furniture and ornaments such as benches and Pergolas, many of which are locally-sourced from in and around Abergavenny and the surrounding area, as well as a great range of pots of all shapes and sizes some of which are Welsh made.
Gavin – who works at the centre alongside his younger brothers Lewis and Liam – has been working at the centre for 12 years having come straight from school, and the former King Henry School pupil is a keen plantsman who has learnt much over the last dozen years.
“I love the job really, I’m from a farming family so I’ve always been interested in the natural environment and working outdoors. Working with my brothers is also great, and there is a real good atmosphere amongst the staff here, which makes the job all the more enjoyable.”
The business continues to expand with work already underway in building a new sundries and plant area at the site, as they look to make the most of a busy summer season.
The centre is continually working on plans to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Gavin said: “With our customers returning and house plant sales on the rise, we are obviously looking to meet this increased demand by growing more plants. However, we want to do this in a more economic and sustainable way, so we’re introducing things such as growing in peat-free compost, using recyclable plant pots and also advising our customers to think about reusing before recycling.”
As a keen gardener himself, Gavin also believes that the increased demand and footfall at the garden centre since re-opening has much to do with more people becoming engaged in gardening after lockdown, adding:
“It’s been a very tough year for everyone with Covid and lockdowns, and I think being stuck at home for much of the last year gardening has been a great release from lockdown for many.
“It is well-known that gardening and working outside is good for your mental as well as physical health, and it is great to see people realise this and hopefully it continues for a long time to come.”