Independent garden centres are celebrating after bagging GCA display awards, with Bents Garden & Home winning the 2017 title of Best Christmas Display in the Country, and Perrywood Garden Centre winning in its regional heat.
Warrington-based Bents beat off strong competition from other centres within the region and throughout the UK to win the top spot. The coveted title was presented to Bents following an extensive judging process, which saw centres from throughout the UK hosting spot visits by the Garden Centre Association (GCA) to determine regional winners as well as the overall national title.
Centres are judged on their innovation, inspiration and the excitement created by the way Christmas products are displayed and the 2017 national title is yet another cause for celebration at the family-owned and run business. The announcement comes in a very special year for Bents as it is also celebrating its 80th anniversary..
Bents MD Matthew Bent said: “What a fantastic start to the festive season, especially in what is our 80th year; a great way to celebrate our anniversary.
“The title is a credit to all of our Christmas colleagues who work extremely hard throughout the year to deliver a magical experience. Everything, in all our displays has been designed, created, fashioned, built, painted by our own in-house team of experts both on the shop floor and behind the scenes and we would like to say a big thank you to each and every one of them for their continued commitment to creating our spectacular displays.”
Bents is also the current holder of the GCA’s title of Best Destination Centre in the North West, recording one of the top audit scores in the country for the wider centre. It has now been shortlisted for the national title of Best Destination Garden Centre in the UK, which will be announced at the annual conference in January, following a second, similarly strict audit.
Meanwhile, Perrywood Garden Centre in Tiptree, Essex, was awarded ‘Best Destination Garden Centre in the region’ for Christmas. The award is in recognition of Perrywood’s ‘Lost in the Forest’ Christmas experience. In addition to this, Perrywood featured in the top five destination garden centres in the whole of the UK.
This year, the team at Perrywood has worked hard to deliver a Christmas experience which pulls out all the stops. Customers are immersed in festive cheer from the moment they pull into the car park and this theme flows through the centre in every department.
Visual merchandising manager Alex Downes commented: “We are over the moon to have won this award. We put a lot of effort into our Christmas displays and it is great to be recognised for this. Being named in the top five in the UK is also very special to us, as it shows our creative ideas and fabulous displays have really paid off.”
GCA judge Liz Hutson said: “On a personal note, I thought Christmas looked amazing at Perrywood – very atmospheric and creative’”