Award-winning retailer hails first-year success at open day

Online retailer Chrysanthemums Direct celebrated a spectacular first year with an open day and visit from shadow chancellor and local MP George Osborne.

The firm introduced itself to the public at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May and has gone on to pick up multiple awards, bringing in hundreds of new customers.

Its key contract with Marks & Spencer (M&S) has proved so successful that it has been asked to up production for next year.

Addressing an audience of more than 100 guests at last week's event, exhibition manager Don Wright said: "This company has been a big wholesale operation for a number of years but we had long been talking about experimenting in retail. About 15 months ago we were looking into the teeth of a recession and we finally decided to do it. It has been a great success."

Osborne joined the celebrations to give a talk, answer questions and pose for photographs with the company's many trophies. He told the crowd: "I want to congratulate you all. You are an example of how agriculture and the rural economy can use new technology to find new markets."

He added: "We are here to celebrate what can be achieved in the rural economy and you are a beacon for the opportunities out there. It is a great pleasure to be here."

Wright said the team deserved credit for the success and the fact that they were selling a highly sought-after product.

The company is looking to sell to garden centres next year and is due to increase its business with M&S.

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