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Garden centres to receive surprise visits from GCA speaker

Published: 14 January 2013
Dubbed 'the King of garden centres', Wayne Hemingway MBE will once again be speaking at the Garden Centre Association's annual conference this January - and his talk will reflect the findings of several unannounced visits he will be making to garden centres in the weeks beforehand.
Garden centres to receive surprise visits from GCA speaker
Mr Hemmingway, former owner of Red or Dead, was one of the speakers at last year's conference and will once again be sharing his thoughts on the direction of the garden centre industry in 2013. According to GCA chairman Peter Burks, Mr Hemingway will be "digging deep to take a look at the state of the industry" in preparation for his talk; Mr Burks likened his approach to TV 'high street expert' personality Mary Portas.

"By visiting some of our member garden centres, much like Mary Portas visits shops, he will be able to offer his thoughts on areas where we excel and where opportunities exist. He will look at future trends and offer his unique take, using his extensive knowledge in urban landscaping, retail and fashion, to suggest ways to capitalise on them. We've dubbed him king of garden centres!

"This will be an extremely useful talk and we can't wait to hear what Wayne has drawn from his visits to the garden centres and his analysis of the industry as a whole. He is bound to offer many interesting new ideas and we hope attendees will be able to take these away with them and implement them in their stores."

Mr Hemingway's retail career includes evolving his own fashion brand Red of Dead from a market stall in Camden to a globally-renowned label. At the height of its success, Mr Hemingway sold Red or Dead in 1999 to start up HemingwayDesign, specialising in affordable and social housing design, as well as products from fold-up bikes to sheds.

Mr Hemingway also regularly appears in architectural and housing publications, and on TV shows including Stephen Fry's 100 Greatest Gadgets.

More than 300 delegates are expected to attend the annual GCA conference, which this year is featuring a reduced ticket price of £95 plus VAT per person. The decision to reduce the ticket price, said Mr Burks, was reflective of the difficult trading experienced across the industry last year.

The GCA conference will take place at the Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire from January 27 - 29.


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