Having bought back the business he sold to Wyevale Garden Centres four years ago, Martin Davies was holding a ‘Getting to re-know you’ session at Raglan Garden Centre when GTN Xtra spoke to him on Friday as he contemplated the transition from corporate branch to family business.
“There are quite a few new faces,” he said. “as there aren’t very many of the old staff left, so my priority is to get to know them better before deciding what changes we might make.”
For now, he said, very little needs to change except the restaurant. “This will absolutely be the number one job, to return it to everything being home-made on the premises, which is not the Wyevale way. Once we have done that, everything else will follow. It is really key.”
With fond memories of the business he and his wife Jean had built together, Martin (pictured right while chair of the GCA in 2008) confirmed his company, Coldbrook Ventures Ltd, had joined the bidding process when Wyevale Garden Centres put its centres up for sale last year. “I remember there being a little tearful farewell when we left,” he recalls, “so I am delighted to be back.”
In the intervening four years, Martin and Jean have run a commercial investment business, focusing on high street retail, and spent time extending their home.
A bonus following the re-acquisition is the opportunity to introduce their son Alex, who gave up his career in corporate finance last year, to the business with a view to taking the reins in the long-term.
Martin has not ruled out re-applying for membership of the Garden Centre Association.
In the meantime, he says, he can’t wait to get stuck in.