Published on 10 - May - 2012
Northamptonshire Garden Centre to close on Jubilee Bank HolidayIn what the business described as a "controversial decision", Beckworth Emporium in Mears Ashby has announced it will close its doors on Monday, June 4 and Tuesday, June 5 to allow staff to enjoy Diamond Jubilee festivities with family and friends.
Beckworth, which operates a garden nursery, food hall and award-winning restaurant, will be open as usual on June 2-3 but has informed its customers it will not be trading on the Bank Holiday Monday and Tuesday. People and communications director Alison Williams told DIY Week the move was designed to reward staff for their hard work at Beckworth, which is open seven days a week, and to ensure service levels didn't suffer, with employees requesting leave over the period.
She explained: "There are very few days a year that we close. We have ice skating at Christmas and a really busy restaurant, so we don't really have an 'off' period. As the Diamond Jubilee is in the summer, we may have been under a lot of pressure with people wanting time off. We didn't want our service to the customer to suffer. We decided that, as long as everything is planned well enough in advance and we communicate the benefits to the customers and staff, it should be fine."
She added: "We've had a good response from the staff. Where you can do things like this for them, it is worth it and it means they will be more flexible on other days in the future. As a garden centre, it's quite controversial what we're doing but it feels really good at the moment."
While some would argue that closing during a peak trading period will cost the business a lot of money, Ms Williams is confident busy trading over the weekend leading up to the Bank Holiday and Half Term the following week will more than make up for any lost sales over the two-day period. She also believes shopping will be the last thing on Brits' minds when celebrating the Diamond Jubilee.
She told DIY Week: "We hope to distribute that business over other days. A lot of schools are closed on the Friday before, and then there's Saturday and Sunday, so I expect them to be busy. The schools are also off the following week and we're always really busy in the holidays. The Royal Wedding last year was quite difficult to plan for and actually was not a strong trading day at all. That whole weekend, people were celebrating and had things going on. If the weather is good, considering how bad it has been lately, people will be out, they won't want to come shopping!"
Ms Williams added that Beckworth also has no plans to extend its Sunday opening hours during the Olympics, which echoes the sentiment of 51% of retailers who responded to a diyweek.net poll, stating that they will not be staying open later during the major sporting event.
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