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I Blame the supermarkets – Support your local Garden Centre

I didn’t want this blog entry to turn into a rant but, not mentioning any names you will know who they are, but being a frequent visitor to a range of supermarkets on a weekly basis it is disappointing to see how they are now encroaching into the garden centre market offering cheap bedding plants (unloved hardly cared for) cheap shrubs which have been forced with either poor root or pot bound.

Now I understand the requirement to diversify and maintain market share, I understand offering the right product at the best price stack it high and sell it cheap etc etc but the power of the supermarket to manipulate buying patterns and educating a majority is shocking, where will they stop?

This was brought to my attention this weekend I was advising a couple on what flowers they could plant that would give colour all year in a narrow border and low maintenance, they said they had purchased twice this year plants from the local supermarket that had died very suddenly (from the description I assumed they frost killed them), needless to say I spent some time with the couple walked around our busy garden centre talked about the different type of plants which ones grow in shade and sun, the different types of annuals, perennials our wide selection of bedding and basket plants (which at this time of year can be killed by the frost) and after leaving them to browse was happy to see they walked out with a trolley full of plants. The next day I went to that said supermarket and checked out the plant offering which as usual was a dismal display of unloved and uncared for bedding plants a simple range of fashionable shrubs stacked high on trolleys for quick impulse sales.

Is it a false economy buying product purely out of convenience or because it is cheap? Where has the passion gone? Why are we happy to be spoon fed or so easily lead? are we sheep?

Support your local business, sometimes they might not be the cheapest but they do know their business, product and market. if you don’t use it you will lose it take a look at the lack of gren grocers (where you could get local fresh produce) butchers (where you could get the best advice and best meat) the lack of bakers (where you could get the best bread and cakes) and no I am not going to say candlestick makers but you get the point, where is the community spirit?.

At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite I do shop at the supermarkets and buy other products outside of the usual groceries which have contributed towards the demise of a lot of the regional and local independent businesses such as DVD’s, computer games and clothes, I have also been forced to diversify within our garden centre selling products related to the house and home the difference being we don’t have anywhere near the customers, the sales turnover or the buying power so naturally to remain competitive have to work on lower margins.

Is there still a place for us? well whilst we can we will continue to offer the best garden related products at the best prices we can but most of all valued customer service.

Thank you for reading.