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Staying nimble to survive and thrive in a pandemic

1 May 2021|Brand Story, Business Growth, Crisis Management, Latest Posts

Staying nimble to survive and thrive in a pandemic  owners of Trevisker Garden Centre, Mark and Sián Sandry
Staying nimble to survive and thrive in a pandemic owners of Trevisker Garden Centre, Mark and Sián Sandry

A garden centre near Padstow has shown how determination and staying nimble can deliver positive results, even in a global pandemic.

The owners of Trevisker Garden Centre, Mark and Sián Sandry, have made numerous innovations to their business in the last 12 months to keep operating in a landscape of changing restrictions, achieving a 30% increase in sales over the year. 

Facing enforced closure at the busiest time of the year for garden centres in the UK they quickly implemented a click and collect and local delivery system which together meant the business was able to continue operating, before carrying through to a record-breaking summer. 

Sián said: “We were initially quite frightened at the thought of missing out on the spring and early summer trade. Fortunately, in the first lockdown, we were only closed for one day before learning that we could still operate from our front door.

“Our reaction was simply to just find a way to keep going. Part of what we love about this job, and what our customers love, is being able to interact face to face, so we’d never planned to offer delivery, but it was the natural thing to do considering the circumstances.”

After launching the service on social media, the couple quickly worked to develop a new stock management system, and build and launch an online shop.

The pandemic also saw customer numbers decrease, as holidaymakers were no longer able to visit the area. Shifting focus, the garden centre seized the opportunity that the increased time at home and good weather brought to the industry, quickly changing their offering from specialist coastal plants to vegetable garden essentials to meet the new local customer demand.

Trevisker Garden Centre has previously been supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth & Skills Hub, and their response to the pandemic has been an inspiring example of resilience.

Skills Connector Ian Watkins said: “Trevisker is a shining example of how a strong business plan and an intricate understanding of your own systems and processes can result in a business that’s able to innovate and adapt to face uncertainty head-on.”

Continuing the theme of adaptation, Trevisker’s Kitchen, the garden centre’s restaurant which is operated by chef Henk de Villiers, transformed into a chef’s larder, selling ingredients and supplies which would have gone unused, as well as turning into a popular takeaway. 

Together with Padstow fishing boat ‘Karen of Ladram’, Trevisker Garden Centre also launched a regular pop-up fish market in the car park, helping both the local fishermen impacted by Brexit, and providing increased footfall for the businesses at Trevisker. 

Owner Mark Sandry said: “Since we started the garden centre over 20 years ago, we’ve always had to continuously adapt how we do things to keep up with growth, changing trends and our customers’ needs.

“I was once told that ‘every problem is an opportunity’ and I fully believe it now. That’s the approach we’ve taken to the pandemic and whilst opportunities might be hard to spot, they’re always there.”

Building upon their strong foundation in spring, Trevisker Garden Centre was able to complete a record-breaking Q3 in 2020, finishing the year 30% up compared to 2019.

Mark and Sián have also launched an online video series which helps to educate and inspire more people to grow plants, and a community garden project is also underway to create an outdoor educational space.

More details can be found on Trevisker Garden Centre’s Facebook page. For more information about the Growth Hub, visit: ciosgrowthhub.com.

The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub

Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub
The Growth Hub has been created in response to a common issue raised by businesses – that the range and complexity of business support available at a local and national level is far too confusing and time consuming to navigate. At its core the Growth Hub acts as a signposting service, pointing people in the right direction to get the support they need to start or grow their business. Supported by a comprehensive website, a team of locally based experts work directly with businesses to help them identify and access support in a way that is right for them, whether that is business development, coaching, funding or something else entirely.

Growth Hubs and the Growth Hub Network
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub is one of the 38 Local Enterprise Partnership led Growth Hubs across England that bring together and simplify access to national and local business support. Supported by Government, Growth Hubs ensure that no matter the size, sector or maturity of a business they provide locally tailored business support and guidance to direct businesses to the most appropriate organisations to assist with their specific requests.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership drives activity to support business growth, create jobs and help people realise their potential.The LEP is led by local business people working together with Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly to set priorities for how the economy should grow.

Cornwall Development Company
CIOS Growth Hub is a service of Cornwall Development Company, the arm’s length economic development company of Cornwall Council, designed to deliver a bespoke, business facing service and support the delivery of the economic vision and strategy for Cornwall.