Pughs Garden Centres in South Wales have announced that they will not be running their award winning Christmas Grotto Experience in 2020 and the announcement has been met with hundreds of supportive posts on social media.
Roger Crookes, a member of the senior management team at Pughs told GTN Xtra: "We've been talking through how we would run the grotto ever since March and we eventually decided that even if there was no second peak in October we wouldn't be able to do something on the hoof that was up to our usual standards, so it was better to make the hard decision to protect our reputation and announce the cancellation.
"The response on social media has been overwhelmingly good and supportive with many pledging allegiance to Pughs for the future and welcoming the decision.
"We don't want to offer anything less than we have in the past. By end of February we had a plan for the grotto and then since the middle of March we have been weighing up all the options; Santa is not a young man, expectations of people having been before along with some measure of risk just didn't add up. Christmas grottos are such an emotive thing, people get easily upset if its not what expected.
"Having made the big decision its been good to see many other ideas to keep Christmas magical start to take shape. We're convinced we can maintain the commercial affection of our local customers through Christmas into next year."
Here's the statement from the Pughs website:
Statement Regarding 2020 Christmas Experience
The past few months have been tough for everyone and here at Pugh’s we have tried to keep an enjoyable shopping experience as well as hopefully providing much needed essentials such as food, plants and gardening products to keep people going throughout lock-down at home.
Being a seasonal business we plan everything 6 months in advance and usually by now we would be building our Christmas Santa Experience ready for November, so please forgive us for what is deemed by many as a very early post; however, we get regular messages asking when tickets are due to go on sale. We have had many discussions between us and we feel that we have had to make a tough decision on the Christmas Santa Experience in both of our garden centres for this year. It is with a heavy heart that we feel that it would be irresponsible for us to run our experience given the current pandemic situation. This is due to so many unknowns over the next few months and because of the sheer volumes of people that visit us over a short period of time and the way the experience is run in close groups. We feel that offering something small just for the sake of it would firstly not do justice to the experience that we have worked so hard to build upon and secondly not fulfil the demand for the number of people who would want to visit us, so this year we have decided to take a break for everyone’s safety.
We put our all into Christmas at Pugh’s and generations of families have visited us year upon year so, within the guidelines, we will endeavour to ensure the most magical shopping experience and focus on creating beautiful displays as always, as well as VIP shopping experiences, sumptuous Christmas goodies in the Food Hall, late night shopping and of course taking our Christmas Tree shopping experience to a whole new wonderful and magical level.
We truly believe that even though the Santa Experience will not be running this year, we can still create a Christmas to remember in so many others ways. We want to thank you again for supporting us through what has been such an unprecedented period of time in all of our lives. Pugh’s will remain at the forefront of creating magical memories for many years to come in one way or another and will strive to round off 2020 with the best Christmas yet.
We really hope you understand our decision as it was very difficult to know what to do for the best and this was a really tough call to make.
The Pugh Family
See GTN Xtra's gallery of pictures from the Pughs Radyr grotto in 2017, a Gold Award winner in GTN's Greatest Christmas Team Awards.
Pughs Radyr 141217_GTN001.jpg