Hayes Garden World is celebrating the 40-year anniversary of their plant buyer, Paul Crossland.
Crossland joined Hayes Garden World on their apprenticeship scheme in 1979 aged 16. He’s now the Outdoor Plants Team Leader, a crucial role that supports Hayes’ success.
It’s Crossland’s responsibility to keep shelves stocked with plants that excite customers.
During the Easter school holidays in 1979, Crossland visited the store to ask if there were any jobs.
Peter and Leigh Hayes, owners, interviewed him on the spot. They were so pleased with the 16-year-old that they offered him an apprenticeship.
“On my first day I was very nervous about meeting all the staff. But they made me feel very welcome,” Crossland explains.
“The nursery manager John Bell showed me how to prune roses and then set me off on 3,000 of them. That kept me busy for the rest of the week!”
Crossland has had a memorable 40 years at Hayes Garden World. His greatest achievement was serving a 3-year apprenticeship in Horticulture.
“Taking over the running of the plant area was a big achievement for me,” Crossland continues.
“I’ve also enjoyed being in charge of buying the stock for the department. And being part of the Tillington Group and attending meetings and Nursery Visits.”
Crossland has seen the garden centre transform from a small site in the Lake District to a popular tourist attraction. He is also proud to have seen Hayes Garden World winning the HTA Garden Centre of the Year in 1994.
“The first most notable changes that I saw was the renovation to the upstairs restaurant in 1983,”
“Up until then, we only had two vending machines in the shop doing hot drinks and a small range of snacks with a little breakfast bar to sit at. Also, there was the expansion of the retail site and the ‘Crystal Place’ which opened in 1987.”
“In the early days, our shelves featured A-Z ranges of plants. But now that’s 15% of the plant area. The rest is now seasonal impulse buys of displays in bud, flower and foliage colour. We’ve also got lots of Herbaceous Plants, Roses, Alpines and Seasonal Bedding Plants.”
To celebrate his career to date, Hayes Garden World has awarded Crossland an all-expenses-paid weekend, an extra week’s paid holiday and a certificate to mark his 40-year anniversary.
Commenting on Paul’s milestone, Keith Laird, Operations Director at Hayes Garden World said:
“Paul is one of our longest serving members of staff and is a valued member of the Hayes team. He has amassed a wealth of experience and knowledge of over the 40 years he has worked with us and is a real asset.
“Paul has worked his way up to the very top of his industry. That can only be achieved if you hold a genuine passion for what you do. We are very proud to have had Paul serve with us for so many years.”