Garden Centre Association member audits have led to 15 centres achieving Garden Centre of Excellence status.
The centres are the highest scoring of all members following annual audits carried out by GCA inspectors, who found that despite bad trading conditions in spring and early summer, centres had not let their standards drop.
The inspectors included industry consultants Eve Tigwell and Ian Boardman. Tigwell said: “What stood out was the way the winners had responded positively to a difficult year in terms of trade.”
Boardman added: “Standards are at an all-time high. There is some excellent retailing going on in GCA centres and the audit process plays a big part in this.
“It helps to give motivation to staff to go the extra mile and customers love to shop in an award-winning GCA garden centre.”
One winner was Millbrook Garden Company of Gravesend in Kent. Operations director Tammy Woodhouse said: “It’s a great thing to be able to tell customers about and to use in promotional material.”
The top three winners will be announced at the GCA annual conference in January 2006.
The 15 centres are: Aylett Nurseries; Armitages Pennine GC; Barton Grange GC, Woodford; Bents GC & Nursery; Coolings Nurseries; Frosts of Willington; Grosvenor GC; Heighley Gate GC; Lady Green GC; Millbrook Garden Company; Sandyholm GC; Squire’s GC, Twickenham; Webbs of Wychbold; Whiteleys GC; and Woodlands Nurseries.
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