GCA and Westland Rising Stars UK finalists announced

After a stunning round of final presentations, the names of the 5 finalists of the UK Garden Centre Association (GCA) and Westland Rising Stars programme have been announced.

They delivered presentations which were the result of a challenge to boost autumn sales. Topics covered included growing media, autumn lawn care and bird care. Increases in sales of 40% to 70% were reported, with more than double in one case. Before and after images were included, which really brought to life what was achieved. The Rising Stars also had to carry out and report back on a short management survey which produced some fascinating results.

Daniel Holden (Barton Grange), Rupert Sleight (Squires Cobham), Kathryn Crouch (Haskins West End), Hana Parker (Monkton Elm) and John Bradley (Stewarts) have all made it through to the next year?s GCA Conference at Fairmount, St Andrews in Scotland. There they will deliver their presentations on stage, in front of colleagues and peers. The overall winner ? the 2016 Rising Star of the Year – will then be chosen by conference delegates.

The finalists are the last ones standing after an eight month programme in which candidates attended three merchandising Masterclasses run by IBBIS director and training facilitator Ian Boardman. Skills taught included the importance of keeping hotspots fresh, creating clear signage, organising themed displays and the benefits of teamwork.

Ian said: ?Over the past eight months, I?ve had the pleasure to see a group of people who have grown in confidence and self-belief, delivering some tangible and impressive sales results for their garden centres. They are all stars in their own right, but only one will go on to become the Rising Star of the Year!?

Keith Nicholson, marketing director for Westland said: ?On behalf of Westland I?d like to congratulate the five finalists. Each year the Rising Stars programme goes from strength to strength. It is this kind of investment that ensures the long term growth of our industry.?

Iain Wylie, chief executive of the GCA said: ?The Rising Stars presentations are always the highlight of the GCA conference. It?s a great way for us to celebrate the real talent and professionalism in our industry. I can?t wait to find out who will be crowned Rising Star of the Year.?

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