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Garden centre bolsters weather-proof business with function room

Published: 2 July 2013
The increasing unpredictability of the weather has persuaded a Cumbrian garden centre to add a completely different dimension to its business - a function room.
Garden centre bolsters weather-proof business with function room
And along with the launch of the 225-person capacity venue, Crooklands Garden Centre has also rebranded itself Crooklands of Dalton.

Owner/manager Marc Charnley told diyweek.net that in recent years the weather had severely impacted the garden centre's trade.

"It's kept people in their homes, it's just put a dampener on things, to use a pun," he said. "We've been diversifying for the past six years, realising that the seasons are getting shorter and not as consistent. When you're in a business relying on the seasons being right the only way to survive is to change with the seasons."

Crooklands' garden centre and cafe have grown from what started out purely as a nursery. But, in order to create the space for the new function room, said Mr Charnley: "We took a bit of our growing area out - it's only making money for three months of the year."

Work began last July, and now the venue is available for family gatherings, business meetings and conferences, having created three new jobs. It features £20,000-worth of lighting, a large dance floor, fully-stocked bar and outside area, and offers a range of buffet-style menus.

Crooklands plans to continue its diversification too, with plans for another addition to the business in September. Mr Charnley would not say what it was but promised it would be "a massive leap away from our industry. I really do think it's essential to keep us going through the winter months."

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