industry news PATS Sandown gears up for new February show date

With less than two months to go before PATS Sandown 2019 opens its doors, preparations are well advanced for what promises to be another successful show for both exhibitors and visitors. It will be the first time the exhibition takes place on a Sunday and Monday in February, and visitors can expect to see an impressive showcase of new products for 2019. More than 130 exhibitors will be keen to unveil their latest creations when the event opens on February 10. As well as being displayed in the Surrey and Esher Halls at Sandown Park during the two-day show, hundreds of items have been entered into the New Products Showcase, which has become one of the most-visited areas at PATS.

All entries in the Showcase will be judged by a

panel of retailers for the New Product Awards on the first morning of the show. The results will be known and highlighted throughout the Surrey and Esher Halls for the rest of the exhibition. As well as viewing all the latest 2019 launches,

visitors will also have the opportunity to take advantage of an impressive number of show offers, and discover some trade secrets from leading figures in the pet and grooming industries. “There has been a tremendous amount of work going on behind the scenes to make sure that PATS Sandown delivers in terms of offering the widest range of exhibitors, new products, seminars from experts and grooming demonstrations…all under one roof,” said organiser Annie Foord.

“Visitor numbers from both the UK and overseas have been growing over the years and we’re confident that the trend will continue this year. There is so much to see and do, and every visitor can rest assured they will be given a warm and friendly reception.” For a full list see the PATS website, where you can also register for free entry to the show.

Castle Gardens earns top title in GCA Christmas Competition Sherborne-based Castle Gardens has been announced as the national winner of the Garden Centre Association’s annual Christmas

Competition. Up against garden centres from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, including big names in the industry, Castle Gardens has now received this coveted accolade for the ninth time in 10 years.

Garden centre business specialist and Garden Centre Association judge, Alyson Haywood, commended Castle Gardens for its beautiful Christmas displays, which invite visitors to take a trip back to the 80s, embrace all things Latin American and escape in a world where unicorns roam and pigs fly, commenting: “With innovative and inspirational themes, coupled with unique product ranges, the Christmas journey enveloped and transported the customer into a magical land of wonder and creativity.”

The Gardens Group director Louise Burks said: “This is another huge achievement for The Gardens Group as a whole, as our Christmas displays demonstrate a real team effort across all three sites. Everyone works tirelessly to make sure the displays look their absolute best, from the opening in October right up until Christmas, so this accolade means a lot. “We’re absolutely delighted to win this national award for the ninth time and I feel this consistency reflects the commitment and creativity of our team, who make the transformation happen from scratch each and every year.”

Brimsmore Gardens in Yeovil was also recognised in the Garden Centre Association’s annual Christmas Competition, taking fourth place in the country and second place in the regional Wales and West category.

Tong Garden Centre secures planning permission for next growth phase

Staff and management at a Bradford garden centre are celebrating after securing planning permission for the next stage of their ambitious growth plans. Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals

Committee unanimously voted to approve Tong Garden Centre’s £4 million plans that include a new two storey building, a new plant canopy, a bespoke soft play and event space and the development of the lakeside area with log cabins for educational and horticultural use. Tong managing director Mark Farnsworth

said: “We are delighted to have been granted permission to continue with the work that we started three years ago to turn Tong into one of

GCU November/December 2018

the top destination garden centres in the UK. “We have had such positive feedback from our customers about our progress so far that we have taken these plans to the council well ahead of our original plan.”

Contractors have been appointed and work will start in January, with plans for the 1,811sqm plant canopy to be completed by March and the 1,155sqm soft play and event space to be open by the summer. Mark added: “Whilst we are, and always will be, a garden centre led by gardening products, we will now be so much more than a garden centre. The soft play and events space will be a great addition to our facilities.” | 19

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