Garden Centre Group's Nicholas Marshall defends Wyevale name change

Nicholas Marshall, chief executive of the Garden Centre Group (GCG), formerly Wyevale, has responded to complaints about changing the name of the centres so they are localised.

GCG recently changed the name of its Chartham centre to Canterbury Chartham Garden Centre, leading to Edward Boult, owner of Canterbury Garden Centre at Herne Common near Canterbury in Kent, to complain that customers are confused because the two centres have similar names.

GCG's Stratford-on-Avon Garden Centre has had similar complaints from the owners of the independent Stratford Garden Centre. 

But Marshall said: "We changed the name of Canterbury Chartham Garden Centre in June as the centre is very much at the heart of the community and the staff there wanted to change the name to suit the location of the garden centre.

"It opened more than 12 years ago and was originally called Canterbury Garden Centre, and it has very much established itself as a local garden centre that is part of the community."

Boult said: "We have built an impressive large garden centre and when you do these things you end up borrowing a lot of money and literally put your life on the line. The Canterbury name seemed the perfect choice as our aim is to be the major garden centre servicing the Canterbury and surrounding area

"Several months later Wyevale decided to change the name of their centre at Chartham to ‘Canterbury Chartham Garden Centre'. We obviously felt this to be too similar to our name and that it would cause confusion.  As our industry is generally a friendly one, we wrote a polite letter to Wyevale asking them to drop the Canterbury wording from their new name. They refused and even suggested that we change our name.

"Wyevale also claimed that they had been trading as Canterbury Chartham Garden Centre for several years, yet the centre has clearly been signed, for many years, as Wyevale.

"We also pointed out that the name would cause confusion to the general public. We've even had Wyevale customers coming in with Wyevale mail shot adverts, as well as stock intended for our centre being delivered and dropped off at Wyevale Chartham Centre.

"And best of all the Wyevale name change has even caused confusion to their own staff. "Only this week we had a staff member come in to our Canterbury Garden Centre for a training course being held at Chartham. The young man, who arrived in a taxi, was rather upset having had a long train journey all the way from Worthing. The Wyevale internal memo simply instructed him to go to Canterbury Garden Centre."


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