Garden centre opens pets Christmas grotto

Planters Garden Centre, near Tamworth, is hosting a special grotto just for pets opening this weekend.

The 'Santa Paws Pet Grotto' will welcome hundreds of dogs. Father Christmas will see a new pet or family of pets every five minutes.

Brave cats are also welcome to the events on 12-13 November and 13-14 December.

Elsewhere, structure builder Thermoflor, which recently worked on Rosebourne garden centre in Hampshire and Klondyke in Leeds, said Christmas markets are facing "serious competition from garden centres in the battle to win customers’ attention and money. Over the last few years garden centres have provided increasingly large-scale, professional experiences that give customers a great day out."

Thermoflor cites Leurs garden centre in Venlo, Holland as using its 4,000sqm of new space to expand its range of Christmas items and include a Christmas show.

Meanwhile, Tong Garden Centre in Bradford has invited by play leaders at Leeds Children's Hospital to help deliver a festive ward makeover to be revealed on December 1.

At Van Hage in Hertfordshire, which opened its Christmas grotto and ice rink this week, a local school child designed a badge which will be distributed to thousands of children visiting Father Christmas at the three stores this season.

Beckworth Emporium in Northamptonshire has moved its 715sqm ice rink indoors after suffering from melting problems last winter. The rink opens on 12 November.

Waterside Garden Centre near Peterborough has a 12x12m synthetic ice rink opening on the same day.

Ruxley Manor in Kent has a 567sqm outdoor rink, which opened on 21 October. Webbs of Wychbold's rink opened on 5 November. Wyevale are not advertising rinks this season.

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Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation

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