The bottom line when moving in to a new garden centre is to make the takeover seamless, almost invisible to the customer – apart from the obvious improvements that being ‘under new management’ promises to bring. That means hiding, as far as possible, a whole load of hard work behind the scenes.
At 5.30pm last Monday, the Bourne family at Perrywood Garden Centre officially took over the Sudbury centre acquired from Wyevale Garden Centres. On Tuesday morning, Hannah Powell tells GTN Xtra, the centre was able to trade as normal – thanks to advance preparations. The first customer is pictured right.
“The work included a communications plan (temporary roadside signs up Monday night, website live on Tuesday, some internal signs replaced, ahead of a full signage audit planned for this week), facilities and health and safety (new fork lift truck, electrical checks etc),” said Hannah. “A new epos system and tills went in on Monday night, linked to our stock system although they won’t be fully integrated for a while. Then we made sure we had staff from the Tiptree site available for training on the till system through the week.
“We did some work to ensure that from week one, it felt more like Perrywood and had similar standards, so we brought plants across from Tiptree, moved houseplants to near the entrance and so on.
“The restaurant is closed, and will reopen as a coffee shop once we have done some work to improve it. We are having one-to-one meetings with all staff this week and next to get to know them and to map out where any skills or rota gaps might be. Next week we will look at resourcing. Publicity and PR will follow when we are confident we have the staff and stock in place.
“We will start to bring in stock from existing Perrywood suppliers from next week. So it’s been a busy week – but we’ve loved the enthusiasm and positivity from the team there, who are excited about being part of the Perrywood family. We didn’t know what to expect as we have not done this before, and we have certainly learnt a lot!
There are lots of decisions to make, but our suppliers of stock and services have been brilliant too, helping us along the way. Having trusted partners definitely helps.”