Circuses help to build new audience for garden centres

The circus is coming to town - and is setting up at garden centres, says First Franchise.

Sanders Garden World in Somerset has been working with ‘Paulo’s Circus Americano.’ Garden Centre Group regional manager Peter Burks said: "There has been a circus visiting Sanders Garden World for several years now.  They promote their presence at the garden centre very well and provide an excellent family day out which is in line with the experience we are looking to create at every garden centre site. They arrange a lot of marketing in the area in advance of the show, which also helps to promote the site."

Hilltop Garden Centre, part of Hillview Garden Centres, has organised ‘John Lawson Circus’ to visit their site in May. CEO Boyd Douglas-Davies said: "Part of the Hillview strategy is to bring our garden centres to ‘life’ as often as we can.

"The John Lawson Circus at Hilltop is just one of the many events we have planned through the year to attract new and current customers to site. This strategy forms a major part of our marketing plan and is working very well for us."

Meanwhile, Fenside Outdoor, an outdoor clothing retailer, is working with Frosts, Garden & Leisure and The Garden Centre Group, to set up merchandised sales marquees for three weeks outside their centres.

Jeff Stainton of Fenside Outdoors said: "Working with some of the UK’s leading garden centres is an excellent opportunity for our shows to generate as much customer interest as possible.  We are very keen to promote our presence in local press and in store in the run up to the event and we work hard to drive footfall.  We like having visible areas of the site to erect our display and we often get customer interest even before we start trading."

First Franchise Promotional Space MD Ian Silverton added: "Garden centres offer the organisers of external shows the perfect opportunity to create a draw to their shows or events due to the excellent benefits that have enabled garden centres to become the preferred, day out destination retail experience.

"In order to ensure that customers are made aware of this presence on site, it is essential that the events are promoted correctly which in turn ensures that the garden centre itself gets promoted.  This, in addition to the revenue that the site achieves from renting these under used areas of the garden centre, provides an excellent incentive for garden centre owners to work with the organiser."

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