A garden center group with three sites in the South West has used a six-figure bank funding package to help it rebound during lockdown.
The Gardens Group, which owns Castle Gardens in Sherborne, Brimsmore Gardens in Yeovil and Poundbury Gardens in Poundbury, has pivoted its operations over the last 12 months with the support of a £900,000 finance package from Lloyds Bank.
Like all outdoor attractions, the business was gearing up for its peak trading season when it had to close its doors during the first lockdown. The loan relieved some of the pressure on the business and allowed the garden centers to support its staff and suppliers, as well as long-standing customers – by continuing to trade over the telephone and providing a local delivery service seven days a week.
When restrictions to the first lockdown were lifted in May 2020, the group welcomed visitors through its gates again, with takings increasing significantly during the summer months, despite having to operate at a reduced capacity to support social distancing.
As part of The Gardens Group’s ongoing commitment to sustainability in the local community, any remaining plants that weren’t sold during lockdown were donated to local schools, hospitals and community centers. The business has also recently signed up with the Eden Project’s Planet Mark sustainability certification initiative.
Mike and Louise Burks founded The Gardens Group when they opened Castle Gardens in 1987 after graduating from the University of Bath with degrees in Horticulture. The business now employs more than 150 people.
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