After a challenging year, David Austin has slowly started to re-open parts of its business closed due to the impact of Coronavirus. Spring 2020 saw the closure of Garden Centres across the UK and the subsequent closure of David Austin’s wholesale trade and its own Plant Centre in Shropshire.
Whilst David Austin weathered the pandemic by relying on its well-established mail-order business, the effects of both Coronavirus and Brexit have had a profound effect on the long-standing business.
“We have been faced with a combination of challenges we could never have imagined when planning our crops even a couple of years ago. However, we are adapting to these new challenges and preparing for the future, although it will take us a little time to catch up due to our 2-year growing cycle.” says Richard Austin.
Spring 2020 saw David Austin unable to pot up 230,00 roses and planting was significantly reduced, the effects of which are only just being felt. In order to re-open the company has had to face the difficult reality of reducing its wholesale customer base by half. Carefully selected customers have been invited onto the Partnership Program where they will have priority access to the limited stock available.
“This is not how we planned to embark on our Partnership Program, as despite being guaranteed stock this season, our partners will still be limited on the quantity and varieties available while we deal with the wake of the coronavirus effect. Over the next couple of growing cycles, we will be able to return to some normality, continue to improve our trade offering and invite more customers onto our partnership programme.
We are re-opening, slowly and cautiously and we hope to be able to re-open our own plant centre and gardens too in the foreseeable future, however it is unlikely to be business as normal for a while both in the UK and in Europe where we have currently had to suspend trade altogether,” summarises Richard Austin.