New managers help transform garden centre

A struggling garden centre has been turned around by the arrival of two new managers.

Fair Garden, on Station Road in Kirton Lindsey, was experiencing difficulties, despite more than four decades of trading locally, when Mark Wilson and Aaron Connah took over as managers.

Sara Jickells, who works at the garden centre, said the centre had been through substantial change.

She said: “They’ve made a huge difference.

“Mark has really made a difference to the displays, he has a real knack of getting it just right and it looks so much better ? the customers have noticed as well.

“Aaron is great with the interiors, so they complement each other really well and it’s been working fantastically.”

The garden centre is now looking forward to a successful Christmas period, with last year’s events attracting visitors from across the region.

The centre is planning to open its Christmas experience as early as September, with Santa’s grotto, a Victorian street scene and an enchanted woodland promising to delight visitors to the Kirton site.

Mark said: “The centre had been in decline for a while and really this was a last-ditch attempt to turn things around.

“A lot of the stock was looking old and dated, and we sold off 95 per cent of it quite quickly.

“What we had going for us was a great reputation for growing our own and buying British, which is almost unheard of these days.

“So what we’ve done is leave the plants side of things as they are, and work on giving people things to look at and a reason to come back ? now it’s about getting the word out.”

In the last 18 months, the Kirton centre has seen a new restaurant ? with plans for a deli well underway ? and brought in a number of new products.

Mark said: “It’s all about keeping things fresh and new to keep people interested.

“Most garden centres use the same eight or nine source companies, so we’re deliberately looking elsewhere and constantly changing things to keep people coming back.”

With Christmas promising to be the busiest of the year, Mark is hopeful of a bumper season.

He said: “We’re only a small team, but the staff are brilliant and last year Christmas was really special.

“We’re going all out again this year, we’ve got lots of big ideas and it’s down to us to make it work, but we’re confident.”

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