Ginkgo Garden Centre revamp boosts sales

Ginkgo Garden Centre in Ravenscourt Park, London, has undergone a £250,000 refurbishment, which includes the addition of a cafe and flower shop.

The garden centre has doubled its turnover in the weeks since the revamp was unveiled in the first week of March.

The cafe is a joint venture between catering firm Alistair & Hugo and Ginkgo Garden Centre partners Dan Curran and Tony Challis.

"Great people invent and true geniuses steal," said Curran. "We are aiming to be similar to Petersham Nurseries by providing good-quality food, but are more reasonably priced."

Florist Zita Elze has also opened a shop within the garden centre under the railway arches.

A new entrance allows customers to enter directly from Ravenscourt Avenue rather than from a side alley.

"It's made it much more inviting and it's had a massive impact" said Curran. "People are much more relaxed about coming in."

The plant centre has been rearranged, with bedding plants positioned so that customers have to walk close to trees and shrubs in flower to get to them, with the hope of provoking impulse buys.

Curran explained: "We're not trying to be at the top end of the market in terms of price but we are providing quality items. We can supply some of the oldest olive trees you'll find in London, pleached Liquidambar and Trachelospermum arches, which are ready for take away. Things that you can't get anywhere else in London."

Ginkgo has its own nursery in Surbiton, where it grows bulbs and herbaceous stock, but most trees and shrubs are bought in from Italy.

Curran added: "The garden centre has not made money in the past five years, but since the revamp it has doubled its turnover.

"We're trying to be a quirky little gem, somewhere for keen gardeners to go as well as a destination for mums and their kids who might want to try the Monmouth coffee in the cafe or buy Terralight pots from Caddicks for their patios."

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