First glimpse of Rosebourne Garden Centre

New food-led garden centre Rosebourne, in Andover, Hampshire, opened today and Horticulture Week has had a look round.

The site has taken 18 months to get through planning and building and is the first of three or four in the Rosebourne group planned for the next five or six years.

TV gardener David Domoney officially opens the garden centre on 22 October.

The centre has 70 staff. many recruited through Facebook. Manager is Val Kempster, formerly of Endsleigh garden centre, now owned by Wyevale.

Directors include Jon Kitching, Salim Sajid, David Brown and managing director Neville Prest.

The centre was a £4m build and shopfit from Thermoflor and HPW.

Kitching said the aim was for £6m-£7m turnover once established, with restaurant £2m, butcher £800,000 and food £1.5m.

He said the target audience was "ladies who lunch. We're very much food driven." He said the customers would "then relax and pick impulse product for garden and home".

Kitching said Rosebourne offers a waitress service and improved food presentation and service.

He said the aim was to offer a weekly food shop, but prices would be affordable.

The centre opens into fruit and veg, with a Cook concession, milk, eggs, bread and a butchery concession.

Kitching said using local suppliers helps affordability.

There is a cookware section linking the shop and the restaurant. Rosebourne has more gardening and 50 per cent more covered space than Kitching's Beckworth Emporium in Northamptonshire.

He said Rosebourne has options on other sites in the M40 corridor south of Birmingham, but it would be three months before anything is known and then there would be 18 months of gaining planning permission and building.

Rosebourne is funded by an Enterprise Investment Scheme, which offers investors one third tax relief.

After building three or four sites in five or six years, the group will float or sell private so investors can get their money out.


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