The Garden Centre Association (GCA) unveiled on July 15 its winners for the North Thames region during a presentation at Poplars Garden Centre.
Perrywood Garden Centre – Tiptree won Garden Centre of the Year in the Destination Garden Centre (DGC) category while Squires Garden Centre – Shepperton picked up the accolade in the Garden Centre (GC) category.
Iain Wylie, chief executive of the GCA, said: “The first of our regional awards meetings was a huge success and it was great to see so many of our members turn out. We’d like to thank the team at Poplars Garden Centre for hosting a fantastic event and to our inspector, Jane Lawler, for her crucial feedback from her inspections, which we know our members will take on board for the future.”
The ifse Award for Catering Excellence for Best Garden Centre Restaurant went to Poplars Garden Centre (DGC) and Squires Garden Centre – Shepperton (GC). Poplars Garden Centre also received the Environment and Community Award.
David Little, managing director at Poplars Garden Centre, said: “Poplars are thrilled to have won two major awards at last night’s GCA area meeting. The award for best restaurant is a fantastic recognition of the hard work and attention to detail that our wonderful team of staff give our customers every single day.
“We are equally thrilled to win the Environment and Community Award. As a family business we are firmly entrenched in our local community and work particularly closely with our 13 local schools. To be recognised for our environmental work too is good for the planet and good for business. The standards on show last night were fantastic, the highest I’ve ever seen and every single member of North Thames should be very proud of their achievements this year – standards are on the up and as the GCA often says – better standards means better business.”
Perrywood Garden Centre – Tiptree also won the Barton Grange Trophy for Commercial Innovation and Creativity.
Hannah Powell, communications and HR director at Perrywood Garden Centre, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have achieved such resounding success at the GCA regional awards last night. To be recognised once again by our trade association is testament to the continued hard work, passion and dedication of the entire team at Perrywood Tiptree.”
GCA Inspector Jane was responsible for inspecting member garden centres in the North Thames areas. She said: “It has been a privilege and a pleasure visiting the North Thames centres and I’ve met so many enthusiastic and knowledgeable people. It’s no wonder the garden centre category is bucking all the retail trends and continuing to grow. There’s something to interest and engage at every turn!”
The area chairwoman for North Thames was Sarah Squire, who organised the meeting. She said: “It was great to see so many North Thames members at the meeting and to welcome representatives from some of our newest members. We are so grateful to Poplars for their very kind hospitality and generous buffet.
“Jane gave us a very comprehensive and enjoyable account of her inspections. This is such a great way for us all to learn from one another and inspires us to improve standards across the board. It is a truly significant benefit to being a GCA member.”
The next regional award meeting will take place at Bents Garden & Home in Cheshire with inspector Gordon Emslie presenting his findings for the North West/North East.
The South Thames region will meet at Haskins Garden Centre, Snowhill in Sussex on Wednesday July 17 with inspector Alyson Haywood.
On Thursday July 18 inspector Michael Cole will present his findings at the Midlands region meeting at East Bridgford Garden Centre in Nottingham.
Mr Cole will also be presenting at the Wales & West region meeting on Tuesday, July 23 at Castle Gardens, Sherborne in Dorset.
The Scotland and Northern Ireland area awards meeting will follow on Thursday, August 29 at Klondyke, Mortonhall with inspector Jane Lawler.
The full results for the North Thames region GCA area awards are as follows for the DGC and GC categories:
Garden Centre of the Year: Perrywood Garden Centre – Tiptree (DGC) and Squires Garden Centre – Shepperton (GC)
Customer Service Award for Best Customer Service: Scotsdale Garden Centre
Environment and Community Award: Poplars Garden Centre
The Barton Grange Trophy for Innovation and Creativity: Perrywood Garden Centre – Tiptree
The Dick Allen Award for Most Improved Centre: Squires Garden Centre – Stanmore
The ifse Award for Catering Excellence for Best Garden Centre Restaurant: Poplars Garden Centre (DGC) and Squires Garden Centre – Shepperton (GC)
The GIMA Award for Best Garden Products Retailer: Aylett Nurseries (DGC) and Sunshine Garden Centre (GC)
Best Indoor Lifestyle Retailer: Perrywood Garden Centre – Tiptree (DGC) and Squires Garden Centre – Shepperton (GC)
Best Outdoor Living Retailer: Altons Garden Centre (DGC) and Squires Garden Centre – Stanmore (GC)
The GCA represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide. Through sharing information and its inspection programme the GCA helps members to achieve high standards in customer service, plant quality and reliability.