Percy Thrower Garden Centre is forming a blueprint for refurbishments of Wyevale Garden Centres, the 151-centre chain has said. The Shropshire centre reopened in March and Cadbury, Heighley Gate and the rebuilt Cardiff centre are using some aspects of the refit, with concessions, soft play and catering at the heart.
Wyevale expect 250,000 visitors between now and Christmas at Cadbury and Heighley Gate. It would not say which centres it plans to refurbish in 2016 but because Thrower's and Cadbury are former Garden & Leisure centres the other five in that group could be refitted.
Percy Thrower's has eight concessions including Yankee Candle, Pets Corner, Dash, Maidenhead Aquatics, Bonmarche and Mountain Warehouse, while Cardiff has seven concessions and Heighley Gate has 12 plus Costa Coffee, Dinosaur Golf, Cotswold Outdoor, Rockin' Baby children's wear and Dash.
Wyevale said the "flagship" Thrower centre's living wall, giant spade, concessions and soft play area will be replicated in other refurbished centres. The chain now has almost 500 concessions in its 151-store portfolio.
In newly bought centres Armitage's and Raglan, Wyevale is launching local community initiatives to help "win over hearts and minds" of customers. Customers drop a bulb in a Perspex bin for one of three community or school spring makeover ideas. The bulb acts as a vote in a similar way to Waitrose's "green coin" scheme.
The pilot Wyevale scheme will roll out in more centres in 2016. More than 50 food and beverage refurbishments have taken place. Jason Danciger, who developed the catering "nip and tuck" concepts including Botanic Kitchen, Garden Centre Kitchen Restaurant and Coffee Ground, has now left and is not being replaced. Marketing director Sarah Fuller left in June 2015 and was not replaced after rebranding the former Garden Centre Group as Wyevale Garden Centres. Fuller also "built capability in retail design", leading to the new Percy Thrower concept store.