One year on: How family business saved Suffolk garden centre

Perrywood Garden Centre in Sudbury is celebrating a successful turnaround. Photo: Daniel Jones Photo

Perrywood Garden Centre in Sudbury is celebrating a successful turnaround. Photo: Daniel Jones Photography - Credit: Archant

A family business has invested more than £100,000 and created 13 new jobs at a Suffolk garden centre which looked set to shut up shop just 12 months ago.

This time last year the future looked uncertain for staff at Wyevale Garden Centre in Sudbury after the firm revealed it was planning to sell off 145 sites.

However, in nearby Tiptree, Essex, the owners of Perrywood Garden Centre and Nurseries sensed an opportunity.

MORE: This new app will change the way you see IpswichThe firm snapped up the Sudbury location and in the last year has helped turn the site around.

It has created 13 new jobs, as well as increasing contract hours for nine of the old team, bringing the number of employees up to 34.

Perrywood has also invested more than £100,000 in a new kitchen and coffee shop and reopened as a destination for home-cooked breakfasts, hot lunches and freshly made sandwiches.

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"We are absolutely delighted to be celebrating our first year in Sudbury" said Simon Bourne, retail director at Perrywood.

"The community has been so welcoming to us and has really supported us since we took over. We have some regular and very loyal customers so we hope to see as many as possible in store to help us celebrate.

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"The high street is not an easy environment for retailers at the moment but we believe our fabulous, hardworking and knowledgeable staff, high quality plants and inspiring visual merchandising, have helped us buck the trend."

Along with other initiatives the firm said it had focused on improving what is on offer at the store and creating a more welcoming environment.

Perrywood has more than 30 years' experience running its award-winning Tiptree garden centre, which comprises of a plant production nursery, gift and home shop and 260-seater coffee shop and restaurant.

The independent firm is run by the Bourne family who have operated out of Tiptree since the 1950s when May and Les Bourne, Simon's grandparents, started out growing potatoes and pick-your-own strawberries.

Today, as a £10m turnover business, the company employs 164 staff and is ranked at number three in the Garden Centre Association (GCA) league table of UK garden centres.

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