New garden centre owners says site has ‘great potential’

BRANCHING OUT....Home and Garden director Karen Gill (left), Leighton's new Garden Centre general manager Richard Quint and marketing manager Claire Gill pictured at the Hockliffe Road centre before yesterday's (Monday) takeover.

BRANCHING OUT....Home and Garden director Karen Gill (left), Leighton's new Garden Centre general manager Richard Quint and marketing manager Claire Gill pictured at the Hockliffe Road centre before yesterday's (Monday) takeover.

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The new owners of Leighton Buzzard Garden Centre took charge yesterday (Monday) and revealed they are to sell off stock worth £475,000, ranging from plants to pots, at around half-price before a major refurbishment and re-stocking programme.

Family-owned Home and Garden based in Upper Caldecote, near Biggleswade, have taken out a 15-year lease of the Hockliffe Road site from owners Martin and Stuart Hammond just months after the brothers announced plans to retire from the business they set-up over 20 years ago.

It was business as usual yesterday as sales director David White revealed the company plans to “clear the site” of existing stock before undertaking a “massive refurbishing and remerchandising project.”

The public sale starts on Friday next week (June 24) and will continue until a vast range of items, including plants, roses, trees and shrubs, as well as horticultural products, pottery and fencing, are cleared.

Adds fellow director Karen Gill, who visited the Leighton Buzzard centre on Friday with marketing manager Claire Gill: “We are all very excited about the launch of our Leighton Buzzard operations.

“The Home and Garden Group now have ten garden centres in the Midlands and the South of England, and we believe Leighton Buzzard fits comfortably into our horticultural portfolio. It has great potential which we hope to unlock by providing top quality products at very competitive prices.”

Once existing stock has been cleared, the Leighton outlet will be re-stocked, mainly from Home and Garden’s extensive Bedfordshire-based nursery facilities which have around five million plants under cultivation at any one time.

Cafe facilities on site are to be enlarged and additional horticultural features introduced.

The group employs over 200 people and has offered jobs to the 14 staff at the Leighton operations.

General manager of the Leighton garden centre will be Richard Quint, 48, who lives in Pitstone and has extensive experience in the horticultural market.

Nine other businesses occupying rented facilities on the multi-use retail site, and employing around 40 people will be unaffected by the change in the garden centre management.