Queen's birthday connection increases footfall to centre

Providing meals for the Queen's birthday celebration has generated interest in the company's garden centre.

A Lancashire garden centre owner has found publicity about an associated business is having positive spin-offs. Waterslack Farm Shop, Café & Garden Centre owner Steve Sowery also operates a catering company, which has been awarded the contract to supply food for the Queen’s 80th birthday party at Balmoral Castle on 30 June. Sowery has found footfall in the garden centre and café has risen: “There has been a lot of newspaper coverage locally, which has brought more people into the garden centre. “It has raised their curiosity level, so they have come to visit, which is great for business.” The catering company he runs in connection with the garden centre has provided meals during the shooting of various movies and television programmes, such as Coronation Street and Brassed Off, but it was his connection with rural soap Emmerdale that led to him being asked to provide food for the royal birthday, after Emmerdale producer Tim Fee put his name forward for the contract. Sowery will provide a five-course silver service meal for 400 VIPs, plus food for 15,000 members of the public. Sowery has run the catering company for 15 years. He bought the garden centre in November 2003 because he saw an opportunity to develop a strong visitor attraction to help boost sales. A local food hall, a patisserie kitchen and an arts gallery have since been added to create a diversified income in the winter.

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