Butchers, bakers, fish mongers and green grocers. It seems that the public are re-discovering all of these high street gems in a bid to overcome the mundane offerings from ‘the big sheds’. These independent shops, sometimes now called ‘artisan’ outlets, can provide the customer with excellent produce and personal service. But why not garden centres?
“Of course they now supplement their incomes with cafes and restaurants, re-engineering themselves as ‘Garden Destinations'”
So, why is there a trend in the opposite direction regarding plants? Most of the large garden retailers are experiencing shrinking plant areas with escalating individual item prices. The garden sundries sections are also shrinking, replaced with deli’s, ornaments, clothing etc. Of course they now supplement their incomes with cafes and restaurants, re-engineering themselves as ‘Garden Destinations’
In an attempt to balance out their losses in other areas, the supermarkets are buying garden retailers and selling gardening products and plants from their own shelves. Convenience is a big factor as far as the supermarkets are concerned. Everyone visits at least once a week, why not pick up the odd box of bedding or what they think, is a great value shrub. It requires little effort and they are already there anyway. It is a similar story for the D.I.Y. stores, but at least they are in roughly the correct retail sector.
“draw people into their ‘two for one’ bargain culture”
The supermarkets are now in competition with the garden centres and have started undercutting them. Not by much, but enough to draw people into their ‘two for one’ bargain culture. So the next time they visit the ‘Destination’ they will merely have a meal, look at the fish and let the kids run around the sheds and hot tubs. In my experience people rarely leave a garden centre these days with a plant or a bag of compost.
“So let us start calling such places ‘Artisan’ plant retailers”
So, if we are to start a gardening revolution, we are going to need fuel. The public need to know, as gardening and growing become more popular again, that if they want quality, choice, expert advice and competitive prices, they NEED to visit their local independent retail nurseries. Somewhere who’s focus is firmly on growing plants and providing the essentials that people need to successfully grow their own revolutionary ammunition. The only way that we can encourage people to garden more is if it is more accessible. Spare money is thin on the ground for the average person, and whatever they do decide to spend in their gardens has to be a prudent outlay. I am lucky to work in an establishment that prides itself on affordable quality and superb choice.
So let us start calling such places ‘Artisan’ plant retailers. Let us see them go from strength to strength. Brothers. Sisters. Help the artisans to help us shape our revolution. #growrev
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