16 September 2013 - The Garden Centre Group announces that it has acquired The Garden & Leisure Group from Louis Delhaize, which also owns Truffaut, a leading French garden centre group.
The purchase adds The Garden & Leisure Group's 7 centres to The Garden Centre Group's portfolio of 132 centres. It represents the first acquisition of a major chain of garden centres since The Garden Centre Group came under the ownership last year of Terra Firma - one of Europe's leading private equity firms - and follows the recent announcement of the acquisition of Cheddar and Lechlade garden centres.
The Garden & Leisure Group was formed in 1997 by Kenn & Jackie Lloyd in conjunction with Truffaut, who are one of the largest garden centre chains in
Shortly after winning the title of Garden Centre of the Year for Cadbury in 1993, Kenn & Jackie decided that their vision for 21st century garden centres should not be restricted to Cadbury and that there would be a number of other garden centres who could share their vision for quality, exceptional product range, expert advice and a passion for customer service. The idea of Garden & Leisure was formed and to assist Kenn & Jackie in developing this idea, a financial partner was required. Kenn Lloyd had previously lived and worked in France and knew of Truffaut, itself a privately owned garden centre chain who shared many of the passions and ideas of Kenn & Jackie. With Truffaut's support Garden & Leisure became reality.
- 1997 - Garden & Leisure was formed by Kenn & Jackie Lloyd and Truffaut
- 1998 - Endsleigh joins the Group
- 1999 - Barnett Hill and Tacchi's Garden Scene (now Huntingdon Garden & Leisure) become members
- 2000 - Percy Thrower's, Melbicks and Gardenlands join the Group.
Garden & Leisure stores have grown into destination resorts - and it's easy to see why. They are one-stop department stores for the garden, outdoor living and the home - as well as offering award-winning catering facilities and customer service. The Group have also recently won awards for their ‘Commitment to Training' and ‘Environmental Policy'.
1000s of visitors of all ages are invited to take in the lavish displays throughout, including Gifts, Crafts & Hobbies, Clothing, Toys, Books and Cards, Pets & Aquatics, indoor and outdoor plant sections and the popular ‘Grow Your Own' areas.
Customers regularly stay for hours at a time, browsing the departments and wealth of products on offer before stopping for a snack or meal in the Terrace Cafe. The quality of plants is legendary and all stores provide a carry to the car service, delivery service and wheelchair access as well as offering a price match guarantee and 5 year hardy plant guarantee.
Barnett Hill joined Garden & Leisure in 1999, when the old ‘greenhouse style' buildings were condensed into one comfortable building which nestles into the landscape in the lee of Barnett Hill. Recently voted the Best UK Retail Outlet, the ‘lifestyle' store is famous for its pet and aquatics centre, wonderful Terrace Cafe and fantastic planteria.
Cadbury started life in 1982 as a small salad nursery with planning permission for a garden centre. In the following 15 years it grew into one of the most successful garden and leisure retailers in Europe, introducing associated leisure products such as pets and aquatics, landscaping and crafts and hobbies. Cadbury is now a top ‘destination resort' in the South West.
Endsleigh began when the head gardener at Endsleigh House & Gardens started a small nursery business in the walled gardens. By 1972 it had grown so much that a new location was required and it became one of the largest nurseries in the South West. In 1995 a massive expansion took place and in 1998 Endsleigh joined the Garden & Leisure Group and celebrated a massive re-launch in October 2002.
Today Endsleigh is a ‘destination resort' for both locals and visitors, attracted by its stunning location and reputation for dazzling plant excellence, outdoor living, award-winning customer service and excellent catering facilities.
Gardenlands Garden & Leisure was set up in the 1960s by TV personality Bob Price and quickly became established as the No. 1 Garden Centre in the area. Later developed by an enterprising Dutchman with a horticultural background, Gardenlands expanded to attract locals, passing trade and eventually coach parties. It was bought by the Garden & Leisure Group in 2000, and underwent a £1 million refurbishment which turned it into a lifestyle destination resort.
Gardenlands is especially proud of its Pet & Aquatics Department, which has expanded recently with in-store and outdoor developments, an increased focus on customer interaction, staff training and a special dog grooming initiative.
Huntingdon had its humble beginnings in 1947 when a family with a smallholding started selling home-grown plants and shrubs to locals. By 1980 it had grown into a ‘container Nursery' and in 1992 plans for today's Garden Centre began. In July 2001 the visionary shopping experience which is today's Huntingdon Garden & Leisure was launched.
Huntingdon is renowned for its customer service, from high-tech information points, shop floor advice and a new ‘super checkout tills' to a ‘customer service window' and in-store ‘Gardening TV'.
Melbicks Nurseries was founded in 1949 and produced houseplants, bedding plants and flowers for cutting. By 1958 it had developed into one of the first purpose-built garden shops in the country. The Nursery stayed in the family for over 25 years and was slowly transformed into an ever expanding Garden Centre.
Melbicks joined the Garden & Leisure Group in 2000 and underwent a multi-million pound redevelopment. Recently described by Garden Centre Monthly as "a gleaming glass beacon", Melbicks has a reputation for being a ‘one-stop store' for the garden, outdoor living and the home - as well as offering award-winning customer service and catering facilities.
Practically an institution, Percy Thrower's Garden Centre has been operational for over a staggering 40 years. It has always remained true to its much-loved founder's ‘home grown' ethos and nurtured several generations of keen gardeners.
In 2000, the store joined the Garden & Leisure Group and Percy's dreams of a state of the art gardening centre became a reality after a thorough refurbishment. Percy's is now a lot more comfortable with covered walkways, and customer-friendly information technology has made shopping a 21st century experience.
Customers particularly enjoy Percy's famous Wild Bird Care product range and education programmes, as well as a campaign to ‘bring back British ponds'. There is a re-vamped Pet & Aquatics Department, a larger Cedar Room restaurant & Coffee Shop, now the Terrace Café, with freshly prepared homemade food, a new confectionary shop and an increased range of organic products.