GCA members attend virtual forum to plan for a successful Christmas

Members of the Garden Centre Association got together recently at a virtual forum to discuss their plans and share their concerns for the festive period.

Matthew Bent from Bents Garden and Home, Louise Burks from The Gardens Group, Guy Topping from Barton Grange Garden Centre and Justin Williams from Fron Goch Garden Centre were panellists for the forum.

Mike Burks, GCA Chairman, explains: “It was great to have our members join us for a discussion on one of the most important times of the year for the garden centre industry.

“During what has already been an uncertain year, there was plenty of apprehension surrounding Christmas for garden centres, but I feel the virtual forum really eased people’s concerns and it was one of the most positive forums yet.”

Each panellist discussed their confidence surrounding having a successful Christmas this year and explained what a typical Christmas looks like for their centres, including the importance of events and grottos.

They spoke about what they envisaged will be the biggest change to their centre’s Christmas offerings and how social distancing will work during the festive season as limiting numbers will be very different compared to earlier in the year.

Mike added: “There has been a lot of media coverage surrounding Christmas being cancelled this year, but if anything, it will be bigger and better than ever, as people are determined to make it that extra bit special after such troubling times.

“Garden centres have had successful Christmases when there have been recessions in the past. Often this results in a late rush for purchases. In 2009, many saw the opposite effect with an early start and customers planning and spreading the cost, and it was interesting to hear people’s thoughts on what will be most likely to happen this year.”

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