Wyevale targets fresh impetus

Acting managing director Andy Johnson cautiously optimistic for 2014 after three tough seasons.

Wyevale: nurseries in Hereford
Wyevale: nurseries in Hereford

Wyevale Nurseries acting managing director Andy Johnson has said he is feeling "cautious optimism for 2014 tempered with some apprehension about the colossal amount of change within the industry".

The company has undergone personnel changes, with Steve Ashworth moving to its Earlswood cash and carry, Marcel Willems joining Mahood Brothers and Adam Dunnett due to start as sales and marketing director in January. It also split with Wyevale East (now Provender Nurseries) in 2012.

Following the death of chairman Peter Williamson and retirement of sales and marketing director Doug Reade, both in 2011, Johnson said: "We've had three challenging seasons with weather and demand and we've been without a full-time dedicated sales and marketing director since Doug retired.

"But with the amount of change within amenity and retail, we felt we needed a sales and marketing director to strengthen the sales team and provide the business with a new impetus."

Johnson is unifying Wyevale's three separate production companies set up by Williamson - Trees, Transplants and Containers. "There is "a lot to gain by working together", he said.

He will work with Dunnett on sales and marketing as well as product and service development. "It's all about finding solutions rather than just growing product and selling it," said Johnson.

"Changing a nursery is like steering an oil tanker. Production for the next two-to-three years is on the ground so there's no rush. We need to respond to markets."

Supportive role Developing the business

The late Wyevale Nurseries chairman Peter Williamson's daughter and son Heather and Simeon are now co-chairmen.

They have "taken a supportive role in the restructure but have limited day-to-day involvement, leaving us free to continue to develop the business," according to acting managing director Andy Johnson.

The Hereford grower is "well spread" with sales to retail groups, independents, cash and carries, the trade, landscapers, local authorities and forestry customers but wants stronger partnerships across the board.

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