Garden Retail Awards 2009: Employee of the Year

WINNER: Amy Goldsack, Shoots Garden Centre.

Amy Goldsack started work at Shoots Garden Centre on 30 September 2002. Her first job was as full-time assistant in the cafe, clearing tables. Now, seven years on, she is responsible for running the whole of Shoots Washington Garden Centre as the general manager.

At the age of 20, Goldsack studied Animal Science at Hartpury College in Gloucester. After two years, she completed her HND course with a merit. She applied for several jobs working with animals but, with no experience and nobody willing to give her the chance to gain experience, found this a trying time. Having worked at cafes while studying, she applied to work at Shoots, which was then called Washington Garden Centre, in the Colour Cafe.

Goldsack, then 22, was quickly given responsibility of running front-of-house in Shoots Cafe. After a year in the cafe, she had proved very capable and eager to learn. She blossomed into a confident member of staff.

She applied for the vacant pet manager's job. Having proved herself in Shoots Cafe, together with her qualifications in animal science, she won the role. She stayed in the role for five years, learning retail and merchandising skills and improving her customer service skills.

Shoots offered Goldsack the assistant manager role in September 2008. This involved overseeing 22 departments and two concessions in the garden centre and working with staff from a managerial position. The transition came very easily because the staff, who had seen her hard work and dedication to the company, supported her.

Earlier in 2009, Shoots promoted Goldsack to general manager following a management reshuffle across Shoots' three stores. At 29, she has worked hard to get where she is today. She remains friendly, astute, down-to-earth and proactive as well as bubbly, outgoing and determined. She has helped bring her staff together further as a team and that alone shows great managerial skills.

Shoots managing director Piers Mummery said: "Shoots employs more than 150 staff and it is unusual to select one over another based purely on merit as employee of the year for an external event. But Amy is, in my opinion, the future of garden centre management. She retains genuine charm and empathy with all the people she meets - customer, supplier or staff."



Sarah Dumont, Fermoys Garden Centre
Karen Jones, Gordale Nurseries
Lisa Joyce, Garden & Leisure Group Bob McQueen, Hillier Garden Centres



Horticulture Week Horticulture Week is the UK's leading business weekly for the professional horticulture community, providing news, analysis, opinion, technical reports, product and market data. Published since 1840, it includes coverage targeted specifically at professionals working in production horticulture, historic and botanic gardens, parks, garden retail, contracting, landscape design, arboriculture and turf.

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