Marshall speaks at Glee

Dobbies chief executive Nicholas Marshall has told industry leaders at Glee what he thinks makes a good garden centre leader.

Speaking at Glee, Marshall listed great people in garden centres who have influenced the industry in the last 20 years.

He talked about people he regarded as heroes of the garden centre industry and the attributes they have in common - that they are proud and fond of the industry despite the sector being viewed as unsophisticated by the High Street.

Marshall also talked about his 37 years of experience in the industry with Country Gardens, Wyevale and Dobbies and how various regimes from outside the industry, particularly from the High Street and supermarkets, running garden retail groups have had mixed success.

He listed John Ravenscroft of Bridgemere, Bob Gault then Bob Hewitt from Klondyke, Warren Haskins, Caroline Owen from Scotsdales, Bents, Toppings of Barton Grange, Nigel Long of Longacres, James Barnes formerly of Dobbies, Alan Roper of Blue Diamond, Brian Evans formerly of Wyevale, Peter Self from Whitehall, Colin Squire, Charles Notcutt, Robert Hillier, Martin Stewart and the Blooms.

Suppliers he listed were the late Brian Carbury, Westland's Ed Conroy and Nick Davies of Crest and formerly of Solus.

He thanked his team at Dobbies, which he said had 400 years experience: Lorrie Robertson, Andrew West, Graeme Jenkins, Marcus Eyles, Costas Constantinou, Martin Andrews, Nick Anderson, Craig Turner, Dale Lewis, Pippa Hawkins, Richard Lockwood, Louise Golden and more.

Marshall said everyone he admires had experience running garden centres and criticised unsuccessful experiments in garden retail such as Garden Store and those who only use analytics rather than experienced staff to run garden centres.


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