Hobbycraft unveils opening at Bents Garden Centre

Arts and crafts retailer C-Crafts, which was founded by former Hobbycraft chief executive Chris Crombie, is opening a flagship store near Warrington.

The 4,500 sq ft store is opening at Bents Garden Centre, the second highest turnover garden centre in the UK, next month to tap into the site?s 1.3m annual customers.

C-Crafts already operates 14 locations across the UK, but the Bents store in Glazebury will be the first of a new, larger format store for the group.

All bar one of the current 14 stores are 500 sq ft concessions, staffed by the host garden centre.

Crombie said he chose Bents Garden and Home for the flagship store because ?garden centres are proven as excellent destinations for arts and crafts due to the similarity in the customer base for both categories?.

The 4,500 sq ft store will stock over 15,000 products and will become the model for future expansion. Crombie said quality of location is more important than quantity and expects to roll out five more of the larger format stores in the next two or three years.

Crombie said: ?The vision for C-Crafts was to create a smaller store format than the traditional superstores which could be located in leisure destinations such as garden centres.

?We are working with a number of landlords at the moment and hope to announce further stores soon.?

Bents Garden & Home is in the midst of a ?8m development that involves it creating an additional 50,000 sq ft of retail space.

Bents managing director Matthew Bent said the garden centre had struck the deal with C-Crafts because ?arts and crafts is the top requested additional product category asked for by our customers?.

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