AWARD WON: Employer of the year
Location: near St. Albans. Hertfordshire
Managing director: Steve McCurdy
Tell me about your key goals/priorities as a business for 2019.
Expansion: we hope to increase production by 40% next year and will do this, in part, by adding 7.5 acres to our nursery to take it up to 27 acres. This will involve adding infrastructure and offices to support that growth. Because of the economic uncertainty it's hard to predict sales growth, but we currently have over 7,000 mature trees in stock, spanning more than 400 varieties. We are ambitious and set our sights high.
What do you feel will be the biggest challenge for you as a business (or for your sector) in 2019 – and why?
Bio-security is a big worry and authorities have to get really serious. In October, Xylella was found for the first time in Belgium. Meanwhile buffer-zone restrictions on the import of most species of oak into England to protect against oak processionary moth are a major concern - we will watch how this pans out in 2019, but for nurseries selling a few hundred thousand oak, it's a worry.
What do you regard as the biggest opportunity for you as a business (or for your sector) in 2019 – and why?
Biggest opportunity could be a 'hard' Brexit: EU quarantine and movement-of-plant rules have been a disaster, so hard Brexit could give buyers security and help UK growers sell their plants. Sales could jump by double-digit percentages, but the flip side is it could become a pain for importing stock and make follow-on growing difficult.
What was the best thing about winning a Horticulture Week Business Award for you as a business?
Winning a Horticulture Week Business Award is great for morale. It shows we are a respected industry player, which gives customers confidence. It also helps us recruit staff: potential newbies know they will be joining an employer that's good to work for and will treat them well.
***THE 2019 HORTICULTURE WEEK BUSINESS AWARDS IS OPEN FOR ENTRIES!***
For full details of categories and how to enter, please go to: www.hwbusinessawards.com