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Established plant nursery to develop garden centre complex with help from Reward Finance Group

Published: 14 September 2020 - Neil Mead

Ravensworth Nurseries in Richmond, North Yorkshire is investing £1.1m in developing an upmarket retail garden centre to enhance its already successful plant nursery with funding from Reward Finance Group.

 
 
Fiona Dean of Ravensworth Nurseries
Fiona Dean of Ravensworth Nurseries

Having been established for more than 50 years, the family-run business, which is the largest grower of Poinsettias in the North of England, has developed an excellent reputation for supplying quality home-grown plants, starter plants and seedlings to retail outlets and garden centres across the UK. It also has contracts with several councils to supply hanging baskets and plants for their parks and high streets.

With land available on its 36-acre site, and with a prime location near the busy A66, it was a natural progression to expand its existing garden centre, with the potential to add a café in the future.

Unfortunately, plans were put on hold for a few months when the coronavirus pandemic closed the business to the public. However, through quick thinking, the company created a new website in a matter of days offering local deliveries. It hired some vans and used members of the team, who usually deliver to other garden centres, to drop off the orders.

It was extremely successful, leading to an increased the number of visitors to the nursery who are keen to see the full range of plants available, now lockdown restrictions have been eased.

This has given the owners even more confidence to grow the on-site retail offering, and work is now underway to develop the complex, with funding secured from Reward Finance Group.

Speaking about the expansion, director of Ravensworth Nurseries, Fiona Dean, said: “Having recruited experienced business consultant Bob Morton to review the business, he identified the opportunity to create a significant increase in revenue by creating more of a leisure destination, where visitors can browse our homegrown plants, as well as garden products and accessories, and potentially enjoy a drink and a bite to eat in the café. A move which will augment our successful core business of supplying the trade.

“Although we appreciate it is a significant investment, we were disappointed by the negative reaction from the banks we approached for funding. Fortunately, Bob introduced us to David Jones at Reward Finance Group, who understood our business, grasped the great opportunity for growth that had been identified, and quickly provided the funds to develop the complex.”

Founding director of Reward Finance Group, David Jones, added: “This is a fantastic family business which has built an excellent reputation as a top-class nursery over its 50 years of trading. With the ability to grow their own plants, it makes perfect sense to expand and improve the retail experience.

“As well as making an increased margin on the sale of the plants and trees, there will be no additional distribution costs, as the greenhouses and growing areas are next to the garden centre. This puts them in a perfect position to tap into the growing demand by consumers for plants that are ‘grown not flown’.

“Having looked at the business plan and with the right security in place, we were very happy to provide the funds to help the business grow.”

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