Garden centre diversifies, adding a dress agency to beat the weather

The owner of a Worcestershire garden centre says the recent inclement weather has been "crucifying business" leading him to diversify into concessions to survive.

Tim Cupper, from De Beers Garden Centre near Kidderminster, said the cold snap had caused a 40 per cent dip in sales in March compared to the same month in 2012.

Cupper took over the Torton-based centre, then called Fuchsiavale Nurseries, in November 2008. The family of his partner Rachel De Beer had previously owned the business.

Since opening in February 2009, a cafe has been introduced along with a hand car wash 18 months ago and a dress agency six months after that in a bid to generate trade all year round.

He said: "The wet summer and elongated winter is crucifying business trade with all garden centres.

"Poor light levels have caused problems this year and we're three to four weeks behind with the plants.

"Plant sales are low and when the weather improves customers will expect the usual choice of products but it won't be that instant.
"We have a window between the end of March and the start of June where we do most of our plant business," he said.

"We can't survive as a garden centre alone so we've had to make the changes in order to make the centre work for us for the full 12 months."

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