Members of the Garden Centre Association (GCA) in the South Thames region are celebrating after picking up awards during a presentation evening yesterday (Tuesday, July 4, 2023) at Castle Gardens in Dorset.
Garden Centre of the Year in the Destination Garden Centre (DGC) category went to Ruxley Manor Garden Centre (pictured top) and the Garden Centre (GC) category award was presented to Coolings Wych Cross (pictured below)
Peter Burks, CEO at the GCA, said: “Our first regional awards meeting of the year was a great success and it was fantastic to see the 102 attendees all actively engaged in the presentations and taking down lots of notes to share with the rest of their teams afterwards.
“I’d like to congratulate all our very worthy winners and give a big ‘thank you’ to everyone at Castle Gardens in Sherborne, which is part of The Gardens Group, for being such wonderful hosts and to Gordon Emslie for inspecting the centres and presenting his findings in such an engaging way. Also, this year we’re delighted to announce that we’ve introduced a new award for houseplants too.
“We also did a Best Planteria award on the night and will do the same at every award event this summer, as although the top 10 highest scorers get a second visit to determine who wins the overall Ruxley Rose competition, which is announced at our conference in January, the area winners haven’t been recognised in previous years.”
Gordon inspected 57 garden centres in the region within a 12-week period. He said: “The overall operational consistency witnessed, along with excellent retail standards, was fantastic. You can visibly see centres using the inspection process to develop their businesses. The result was that more than 70% of centres achieved the ‘highly commended’ award for scoring 75% or over. Overall great centres, delivering excellent customer service and being inspirational and creative for shoppers.”
Andrew Evans Managing Director at Ruxley Manor Garden Centre said: “This is a fantastic win for Ruxley Manor and we’re absolutely delighted to have won. We would like to thank the entire team for their continued hard work and commitment that made this win possible.”
The GCA helps members to achieve high standards in customer service, plant quality and reliability through sharing information and its inspection programme. Dwayne Ross, Managing Director at Coolings said: “This is an amazing achievement for the whole team. Being such a plant-based business, we are delighted to have been recognised.”
The full results for the South Thames region GCA area awards are as follows for the GC and DGC categories:
Garden Centre of the Year: Ruxley Manor Garden Centre (DGC) and Coolings Wych Cross (GC)
Customer Service Award for Best Customer Service: Coolings Nurseries
Environment and Sustainability Award sponsored by Savills: Millbrook Garden Company, Gravesend
The Barton Grange Trophy for Commercial Innovation and Creativity: Ruxley Manor Garden Centre
The Dick Allen Award for Most Improved Centre: Thompson Plants and Garden Welling
The Award for Catering Excellence for Best Garden Centre Restaurant: Ruxley Manor Garden Centre (DGC) and Knights Plant Centre, Betchworth (GC)
The GIMA Award for Best Garden Products Retailer: Stewarts Garden Centre, Christchurch (DGC) and Squires Garden Centre, Woking (GC)
The Indoor Lifestyle Award for Best Indoor Lifestyle Retailer: Ruxley Manor Garden Centre (DGC) and Knights Plant Centre, Betchworth (GC)
The Outdoor Living Award for Best Outdoor Living Retailer: Garsons Garden Centre, Esher (DGC) and Canterbury Garden Centre (GC)
Houseplants: Ransoms Garden Centre (DGC) and Knights Plant Centre, Betchworth (GC)
Best Planteria (Ruxley Rose): Joint DGC winners are Coolings Nurseries and Newbridge Nurseries (DGC) and Thompson Plants and Garden Welling (GC).