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One of UK's oldest garden centres celebrates 40 years

Published: 17 January 2013
Haskins is celebrating 40 years of trading, which has seen it go from a small family-run nursery to a garden centre shop at Tricketts Cross in Ferndown, to a £32m turnover business with four centres.
One of UK's oldest garden centres celebrates 40 years
When Warren Haskins took over his family's retail nursery business following his father's death 40 years ago, the term garden centre was virtually unknown in the UK. Following Mr Haskins' decision to open a small shop in Ferndown selling plants, sundries, furniture and gardening equipment, the concept of a one-stop store for gardening began to gather momentum.

The first year's turnover, according to Mr Haskins, was £28,000 for the Ferndown business, and the staff numbered just 10 people. In 1994, the business relocated to Longham. "[This] gave us the opportunity, with a lot of detailed planning, to open our first 'new concept' centre," said Mr Haskins.

"The shopping experience that we created has proved so successfulthat we have since demolished and rebuilt two of our other centres, the latest being our centre near Worthing which reopened last Spring, following a £12million investment."
The £32m Haskins operation is still family-owned, and has outlets near Bournemouth, Southampton, Worthing and Crawley.

"We are now regarded as destination centres in that our garden centres are considered places to visit as much as places to shop," added Mr Haskins. "The introduction of bigger, more sophisticated restaurants has definitely not taken the focus from our core gardening offer. Our buying team now sources suppliers from across the UK, throughout Europe, and sometimes further afield, to introduce new interesting and exciting ranges each year."

Looking ahead, Mr Haskins has his sights on a fifth garden centre in the south of England in the near future. In the meantime the business will continue to focus and develop its good service, quality and range of products while maintaining its high standard of facilities.

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