The North East and North West regional GCA awards were presented at Bents Garden & Home yesterday (Tuesday). The North East’s Garden Centre of the Year in the Destination Garden Centre category was Tong Garden Centre (above left) and Cowell’s Garden Centre (above right) in the Garden Centre category. In the North West, Barton Grange Garden Centre (below left)) and Fron Goch Garden Centre (below right) received the accolade.
Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA, said: “It was great to see everyone in attendance at our second regional awards meeting and paying close attention to our inspector, Gordon Emslie’s feedback. Now is the optimum time for our members to take this feedback on board, relay it to the rest of their team and start making any changes needed.”
Barton Grange Garden Centre also won the Customer Service Award for Best Customer Service and the GIMA award for Best Garden Products Retailer (DGC) in the North West during the awards meeting.
Claire Bryce, Farm Shop Manager at Barton Grange Garden Centre, said: “Winning these awards at yesterday’s GCA area meeting is such a fantastic achievement, especially seeing how close the competition is. It’s an excellent boost for staff to see that all of their hard work this year so far has paid off. It truly shows our team’s dedication and determination to do the best they can.
“These meetings are always beneficial. It’s a great opportunity to see the developments centres are making. This helps us to keep on moving forward and upping our game.”
Fron Goch Garden Centre also won the Environment and Community Award, the ifse Award for Catering Excellence for Best Garden Centre Restaurant (GC), Best Outdoor Living Retailer (GC) and Best Indoor Lifestyle Retailer (GC) in the North West.
Justin Williams, Managing Director of Fron Goch Garden Centre, said: “We have a very happy a team here! We are very proud of all our team and their hard work. The GCA is a wonderful tool that enables our team to network, share and learn via the regional meetings, inspections and conference. We would not be as motivated and engaged without it and it adds a personal and family feeling as we get to know other owners and teams.”
Tong Garden Centre has now won Destination Garden Centre (DGC) in the North East three years running.
Mark Farnsworth, Managing Director of Tong Garden Centre, said: “We are delighted to win this award again, we took over the centre four years ago and have set about restoring its reputation as one of the best garden centres in the North East and to receive this award again is very satisfying. This award is testament to the hard work of the whole team here at Tong, they have worked tirelessly, and we are incredibly proud of all of them”.
GCA Inspector Gordon Emslie was responsible for inspecting member garden centres in the North East and North West areas.
He said: “It has been a real pleasure visiting the North East and North West regions this year where again the standard of garden centre retailing has been outstanding. All the centres visited deserve recognition for continuing to strive to provide the best experience for their customers year after year.
“The overall customer experience has been exceptional where year after year each centre continually raises their operational standards. I would like to congratulate all this year’s award winners.”