Horticulture Week Podcast: Hillier's Chris Francis speaks about Syon Park and the future for the renowned retailer/nursery

Hillier Garden Centre & Wholesale Nurseries director Chris Francis has spoken about the group's new garden centre, Syon Park in west London, as well as the Hampshire-based garden centre and growing group's plans for the future and how 2021 has gone so far.

Hillier Garden Centre Syon Park's point of difference is to target a higher-end customer, says Francis, who has used his connections with Peter Jones and the John Lewis Partnership, bringing David Morley, who ran the Sloane Square department store, on board. 

At Syon Park there are two different catering offers and the podcast is recorded in the main restaurant, as staff prepared to open.

In 2019, Hillier decided to concentrate plant production towards its own garden centres and Francis jokes how that unwittingly "amazing decision" was absolutely the right decision for the business during the pandemic and Brexit.

"We have been growing the business and we have a nursery that was probably concentrating on supply to other customers more than our own garden centres, and actually in the nursery we have such a unique proposition — a very high-quality product that if we worked on it properly we'd be able to fill our planterias with a unique, high-quality product that gave us a real point of difference to any other garden centre group.

"That's going to be very important as the supply base rationalises and there are fewer suppliers and potentially every business has the same range, we have the opportunity to have a range of products that's different to everyone else, which works for us and works for everyone else.

"We're making sure the product that comes off our nursery is A1 quality. It's not about value engineering. It's a really high-quality product where we're not afraid to charge the right price for the production of that product."

If you are interested in producing a podcast with Horticulture Week, contact matthew.appleby@haymarket.com or roisin.kennedy@haymarket.com.

Listener feedback - please email hortweek@haymarket.com with "Podcast" at the beginning of the subject line.

Read the latest horticulture news, views, analysis, industry insight and data at horticultureweek.co.uk.

Follow us on Twitter @hortweek
Join our LinkedIn group
Follow our LinkedIn page


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next


Partner Content

How retailers and growers are responding to the gardening boom

How retailers and growers are responding to the gardening boom

Presented by Fordingbridge
How LED grow lights can help  improve crop production

How LED grow lights can help improve crop production

Presented by Signify
Using nature against nature: two pest management essentials

Using nature against nature: two pest management essentials

Presented by Fargro
Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Horticulture Week Top 150 GARDEN CENTRES 2020

See our exclusive RANKING of garden centre performance by annual turnover plus the FULL REPORT AND ANALYSIS  of the market drawing on our garden retail industry-exclusive research

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Garden Centre Prices

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles

Neville Stein

Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation
 

Read latest articles
}