In 2009 Scotsdales' main goal has been to offer the gardener in the Cambridge and surrounding 30-mile area a totally professional retail gardening experience, ensuring that customer service remains the focus of its business to achieve increased turnover and resulting profitability.
The challenge for Scotsdales was to make sure that in a period of recession the centre should attract new customers and increase the number of visits from existing customers.
Scotsdales achieved its goals by developing a strong marketing plan using its existing methods of marketing and adding TV advertising at Christmas, as well as the Haymarket-published Tillington Beautiful Gardens magazine sent to 200,000 homes with eight free offers over 16 weeks. Scotsdales again held a full programme of gardening events and talks.
Sales have grown over the past 12 months. Core gardening represents 75 per cent of turnover and gives Scotsdales a point of difference from high-street retailers.
Scotsdales managing director Caroline Owen became president of the HTA in October 2009 after serving as chairman of the HTA retail committee for two years.
Scotsdales now turns over £13.3m a year and is second-biggest garden centre in Britain.
Plants (£3.5m) and garden care (£4m) form the majority of sales. Sundries, bird care, pets and catering are other important departments.
On-site demonstration gardens offer hard-landscaping offerings.
Scotsdales has set up an on-site cancer help centre through the Scotsdales Charitable Foundation. The garden centre donated the land and raised funds by donation. Scotsdales chairman David Rayner, Owen's father, is behind the project.
Customer feedback - from testimonials reporting staff going the extra mile to help, to charities and garden clubs thanking Scotsdales for support - are all small examples of how the garden centre is well thought of in the community.
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