Staff are often seen in the car park offering umbrellas and are on hand to lift compost and gravel. And till staff are trained and have 10 years' experience minimum. Staff also aim to push every trolley out to cars.
There is always one (or two people during busy times) in the covered planteria to talk to customers. The three planteria staff have 64 years' experience between them. They will try to find any plant within 10 days if it is not in stock and supply eight out of 10 requests.
In 2011, the centre began a next-day delivery service, which has now extended from Devon to the whole country. All goods can be delivered by 2pm next day on a weekday for £70.
Furniture ordered is built on site for free and heavy goods are placed in the garden where customers want them.
Sidmouth offers a 'happy to help' personal shopping service. There is free delivery and build on all garden furniture, free removal of old furniture, free planting plans and expert visits, free on-site landscaping advice, and free baskets and pots planting within the hour.
In a recent questionnaire, 91 per cent of customers said they would not change anything about the centre. Customer feedback has also led to a revamp of the toilets.
New for 2012 is a Facebook page, which has proved successful in engaging customers.
The monthly newsletter has a blog and top tips, and reflects the fun attitude of staff as well as containing promotional vouchers.
The Lifestyle shop now offers home visits for interior design consultations, which has improved average spend.
Fun days in store include a big Christmas party with mistletoe giveaways, a save-a-turkey campaign, mince pie tastings with mulled wine and a free Santa's grotto, which attracts private school trips.
- Judge's comment
"A fine example of how to add to a retail offer" - Matthew Appleby
Frensham Garden Centre
Garden & Leisure Group
For more than 25 years, Town & Country has been at the forefront of innovation within the gardening industry. With an award-winning range of gloves and footwear, it continues to drive growth for retailers