Highfield Garden World in Gloucestershire has expanded its planteria team with two experienced new recruits, bringing the team total to 14. The family-owned independent employs 132 staff across the overall business. Turnover is currently £7.5m p.a., of which around 22% relates to planteria sales.
Ian Byrne joined in June as Deputy Planteria Manager, while Scott Ellis took up his role soon afterwards. Ian has more than 35 years’ horticultural experience, and Scott has 11. Jon Mason, a director of the business and Planteria Manager at Highfield for the last 22 years, commented; “We’re always looking for ways to improve what we offer. A good customer experience is crucial, and we decided to invest in expanding our planteria team so that staff here would have more time to spend with customers. That one-to-one attention can make all the difference, especially when talking to a customer who doesn’t have much gardening knowledge. It means that the customer is twice as likely to leave having really enjoyed their visit, and with a car full of plants which are more likely to flourish than if they had been chosen without any expert input. That, in turn, engenders word-of-mouth marketing and repeat visits.”
With recruitment in the horticultural industry being notoriously difficult at the moment, Jon continued; “It’s no secret that recruiting staff with good horticultural knowledge is tricky, and we struck lucky with Ian and Scott. Now, with six full-time and eight part-time staff in the planteria team, we have the capacity not only to spend more time with customers, but to tweak and tailor our offering to reflect consumer demands and make the most of changing market conditions and offers through the seasons.”
After starting his horticultural career in an independent nursery and garden centre in County Durham, Ian has worked in the industry for 35 years in a variety of roles including senior management positions with both Homebase and Wyevale. Scott Ellis has worked in the industry for around 11 years, working for a number of different Wyevale stores in that time.