Haskins Garden Centre at Ferndown is celebrating its 25th anniversary – in the year chairman Warren Haskins has chalked up 50 years since he took over the family retail nursery.
The family-run garden centre group has grown from a small market garden in Branksome to four centres across Dorset, Hampshire and West Sussex. Turnover has gone from £17,000 in 1969 to more than £32 million and the number of employees from seven to more than 600. Warren says acquisition of a fifth centre is on the cards in the near future.
“When we opened the doors to our Ferndown centre, more than ten times the amount of people we expected to turned up,” Warren said.
“Over the years, Haskins has ridden the humps of recession and I put our continued success down to the fact we have never and will not rest on our laurels.”
Haskins was founded in 1882 by Harry James Haskins, Warren’s great grandfather. Warren decided to open a small garden centre shop at Trickett's Cross in Ferndown and moved to the site at Longham in 1994 to accommodate the company's growing popularity. This new 10-acre site and £4 million development, offered an extensive range of plants and gardening accessories, 560 parking spaces and a 230-seater restaurant.
Three generations of the Haskins family cut the ribbon on the day the Ferndown centre officially opened - Warren, his mother, and Warren's three children, aged 10, 11 and 14 (pictured on cover page). Fast forward to 2019 and the Ferndown restaurant now seats 530 people.
The very first member of staff that Warren employed in 1969 was Richard Tite, who took on the role of production manager. Richard was eventually appointed a director and remains close friends with Warren.
Warren added: "Gardening remains the biggest single recreational pursuit in the country and so we're hoping to acquire a fifth garden centre in the near future, but in the meantime will continue to focus on the development of our Snowhill centre which is currently being redeveloped and will open in spring 2020. The business constantly impresses me with what it achieves.”