YGC Group, the parent company of Tong Garden Centre, are taking over the two Stephen H Smith garden centres in Otley and Harden, near Bingley. All of the 100 strong Stephen H Smith’s team are transferring to YGC Group.
YGC Group MD, Mark Farnsworth is excited about the opportunity and said: “We are delighted to take on the Stephen H Smith sites. Their business was established in 1966 and has a proud history, we are very grateful to Christopher Smith for the opportunity to run these two great garden centres. We hope we can retain and enhance their reputation in the coming years.
“We plan to invest in both sites to help them thrive, which we hope will provide great opportunities for the existing team and for future employees.
“It has always been our ambition to create a group of family destination garden centres in Yorkshire and the addition of these sites sets us well on our way. We have been delighted with the progress we have made at Tong over the last seven years and, with Tingley set to open in the autumn and a planning application submitted for a third site at Thorp Arch, it’s going to be a busy second half to 2022.
“We have been building towards this growth for some time, so although we have a very busy couple of years in front of us, we are very confident that we have the team and the infrastructure in place to help deliver our plans. We hope to continue to enhance the offer for our customers and to create further opportunities for our fantastic teams at all sites,” concluded Mr. Farnsworth.
Christopher Smith, partner in Stephen H Smith, said: “I’d like to thank our teams at Otley and Harden for all their hard work over the years, it has been very much appreciated. I am confident that we are leaving the business in very good hands and wish everyone every success for the future.”
YGC Group founders, Farnsworth and Tom Megginson acquired Tong Garden Centre in 2015 with 45 staff and a turnover of £3.3 million. Since the acquisition, turnover has grown to £15m and the team at Tong have raised over £50,000 for local charities.
YGC Group’s first garden centre at Tong occupies a 19-acre site in Tong village. It is one of Yorkshire’s biggest independent garden centres with 125,000 square feet of retail space and parking for up to 700 cars.
Photograph caption: Left to right: Tom Megginson (YGC), Sharon McNair (YGC), Christopher Smith, Mark Farnsworth, Richard Coggill (SHS GM), Charlie Barker (YGC)