HTA garden centre workshops to feature community champions

A new series of HTA workshops focusing on garden centre initiatives that support and connect with local and online communities is set to start at the end of January.

The workshops, 'Engaging Communities & Growing Business Locally & Online' will demonstrate the importance of engaging with these key stakeholders and feature the latest market research and case studies from garden centres across the country.

A recent HTA Member Voice survey revealed that 75% of garden retailers participate in or promote community events, and 68% take part in in local charity fundraising. A further 67% support school gardening initiatives.

Garden Retail award-winners involved include Fermoys in Devon who spend a lot of time and effort working with local school children setting competitions and teaching them plant care skills that they can take forward into adulthood.

Grosvenor Garden Centre in Chester also has close links with the schools in its region and uses social media such as Twitter to interact with consumers online. Dobbies run a bursary campaign, where they invite local community groups, projects, schools and charities and support them to get started with gardening.

HTA director of business development Tim Briercliffe said: "Initiatives that support local communities like working with schools, offering community services and acting as a meeting place, not only provide genuine local benefits but in today’s tough economic conditions make good business sense. The seminars also show how garden centres are using social media to engage with their customers online with many active Twitterers and Facebookers presenting on how social media works for them in garden retailing."

Workshop dates:

31 July at Dobbies Peterborough featuring Planters and Scotsdale.

1 February at Coolings, featuring Woodcote Green and Perrywood.

21 February at Grosvenor featuring Moota and Dobbies.

28 February at Cadbury Garden & Leisure featuring Fermoys and Cleeve.

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