I have benefitted from the expertise of Tracy and Hilton Blake for 18 months now and I find the help and insight invaluable. They are a well-rounded team with expertise in marketing and promotion, shop layout, merchandising and financial planning and monitoring.
Having people to discuss your ideas and issues with is a great boon for a small, solo business operator like me and the fact that they have great retail nursery experience makes their advice so much richer and more meaningful.
It’s also great to have their optimism and enthusiasm at hand, if you need some extra motivation when things are tough.
I thoroughly recommend their service to anyone in the retail business, because they have experience at both ends of the spectrum, both large and small.
We joined the Making it Happen programme in January 2015, the depths of winter...
Steve and Joy quickly formulated a plan to focus our business for the year ahead.
Decisions, which had been difficult for us to make were soon clarified, thoughts and desires for improvements or changes – prioritised.
Joy was here at the beginning of February and within 2 weeks we had made major inroads. Her visit provided direction, renewed vigour and enthusiasm. We changed the showroom entrance and exit to improve customer flow and to enable us to process customers more efficiently.The shop has been reconfigured and is working better. The Plant area was reduced significantly - a huge relief to us as it made the Planteria so much easier to manage and maintain.
We had it in mind to be ready for the 1st of March - Done!!! By the end of the month we were 100% straight, clean and tidy – ready for the season - and it was our best February in 7 years!!!!
The whole impression now is well stocked, yet not cramped, and has been well received by customers. The Centre now feels more boutique and far more efficient.
Whilst this Season has perhaps not been the best of British seasons, we have had our best and most profitable over our eight years.
With Steve’s assistance, we have been more focused on our marketing, stock procurement, wastage and staffing costs.
We still have a long way to go on the journey. As a small family business, we are moving forward at a pace to suit, and with the knowledge support from Garden Retail Success is only a phone call away!
Garden Retail Success is just what you need when you are stuck and unsure of where to go next. Which direction to head and where you should spend your next dollar.
Many years ago we were at such a stage and after attending one of their merchandising courses we decided that GRS would take some of the guess work out of our next growth stage.
Bill visited and we immediately increased our turnover by 30% in the first month. Our turnover increased with each timely suggestion over the ensuing years until the “Economic Downturn”.
We lost turnover during the next two years and although unable to stem this small loss we continued to learn. We scrutinised stock holding and margins and together we were able to increase our profitability during this period and miraculously made more profit from less turnover. Our accountant was extremely impressed.
We have retained this valuable knowledge and now with increasing turnover once again we are enjoying the benefits.
Recently we have had our first visit from Joy Lamb who has added a woman’s touch to the ever continuing retail process. Joy is very good on fine tuning displays both indoor and outside and gives a good female customer perspective of your store – which can be quite different.
I highly recommend GRS to any Garden Centre at any stage of development. You can never get them in too early!
Tracy & Hilton visited our nursery, did an appraisal for us. It contained a few home truths which made us more aware of our strengths, but more importantly our weaknesses. After 4 decades, it was obvious that we needed to work on several aspects. This we had known, but had lacked the direction and motivation (and time) to start. Like most other small businesses, we needed to take a step back and look at the whole business - a SWOT analysis was the starting point.
Tracy got us started on the physical changes, while Hilton worked on the financial side. After almost twelve months, we have repainted the exterior of the building, changed the layout of paths, painted benches & added category signs on benches, renovated the shade areas and re-laid the showroom. Tracy chose colours to suit and they have worked!
Hiltons expertise means we are now closely analysing our monthly figures promptly each month, a 12 month budget and target figures are now provided. We can compare our figures with other nurseries and know we are on track.
Tracy & Hilton have been easy to work with. Our staff have also become really interested in appraisals from Garden Retail Success - and are keen to make it happen, which is a critical factor. They are driving the process as much as we are. We have appreciated that Tracy & Hilton have kept regular contact with us and are keen to answer questions as they arise.
In the current economy, mistakes are very costly. We are meeting our targets and are now more certain that we are on the right path and are enjoying the process!
We have been working with Joy Lamb from Garden Retail Success since 2011.
We really value Joy's input into our business, and in particular find that the support, suggestions and new ideas she gives us are extremely helpful, and overall add to the financial success and long term profitability of our business.
When Joy comes to visit we end up making massive changes which are a challenging, but worth it in the long term!
We all would have no hesitation in recommending Joy to other independent Garden Centres.
If it wasn't for the help and guidance of Tracy and Hilton Blake from Garden Retail Success I would still have a small business with little room for expansion or vision for the future.
Hilton and Tracy met with me in late 2103 at the time of a devastating fire at my business that caused significant loss of stock, buildings and equipment. The personal trauma was overwhelming and I was struggling to get any sort of handle on the best way to move my beloved little nursery forward from such a setback.
Tracy and Hilton met with me and there was an instant rapport. They gave practical advice and clear guidelines and strategies for the financials and merchandising. Their honest, friendly and professional approach impressed me and after each consecutive visit I was able to reach a range of successful outcomes. My turnover has reached figures that I have only dreamed about and the garden centre is looking fabulous, drawing praise from customers and colleagues alike.
Tracy and Hilton are welcome faces at Turner's and I value their guidance through the many facets of my new business plan. I can now look forward to years of growth and increasing profit and I am enjoying the journey immensely.
We entered into the “Making It Happen” programme, because we believed it would create the direction that we needed to ensure the success of our Retail area.
In the first year the staff have bought into the principles. We have made changes to our outdoor Sales area, allowing us to focus on stock levels aiming at greater turn around, less waste and therefore greater profit.
The garden centre is a brighter more inviting area for our customers and we believe that we will get more footfall and re-visits through the door.
We know that we have a long way to go but the initial reaction is very positive and with Steve and Joy guiding us through the process we can only see good things coming our way.
Joy, I actually got the most out of Wednesday that I have of any other consultancy we have ever had.
I believe the layout changes you have suggested will make a significant impact in the first instance. I really appreciated the detail with actual table placement and getting it started with us on the day .... it is still continuing!
Terra Viva Home & Garden has used the services of Bill Brett for several years now and the use of his services has taken several formats.
We have attended his seminars and workshops many times, we have had him at Terra Viva to carry out assessments and recommendations on the layout, merchandising, displays etc, and we have worked closely with him through the GIN group.
His many years of experience in the industry and his incisive ability to quickly assess all aspects of a garden centre are invaluable in making progress.
His ability to interpret the figures supplied month by month are the key to maximising turnover, stockturns, and returns on investment.
I would highly recommend his company's services.
Last year, we decided to create a Business Group of Garden Centres within our area. We searched for a suitable Chairman/Mentor to lead our meetings and chose Steve Myatt of Garden Retail Success.
With Steve at the helm, our meetings have been themed on subjects relevant to us such as Employment Law, Garden Centre Security, Marketing, Social Media, Merchandising and EPOS systems.
Steve has proved to be a very capable leader of our group; wise of counsel, knowledgeable on many subjects and with considerable networking skills. He has been of great help to our group by focussing on key areas, bringing in excellent speakers and encouraging business growth.
The group has benefited from the synergy created between ourselves and Steve. We would recommend Steve highly for his steering of our group, his sound advice and his pursuit of excellence for our businesses.
I have used Garden Retail Success for years now and Bill Brett has helped us become a Multi Award winning Garden Centre.
I find his information and observation easy to understand and put into practice quickly. Many with little or no money to spend but giving big results.
He is logical, practical and understands the industry better than most and is able to draw on past experiences from other firms but also able to look to the future with calculated observations.
I love working with Bill, apart from all the help and great ideas I get, he is a pleasant and friendly person to work with.
His delivery of information in his workshops is easy for everyone to understand, stimulating and fun.
Bill Brett has visited our garden centre on a number of occasions each time bringing a wealth of retail experience.
Bill’s practical approach to planning and layout has increased traffic flow within the garden centre which has contributed to adding valuable dollars to our average sale.
His guidance with merchandising and signage has been invaluable in positioning our business to capitalize on increased volume and profitability in both dry goods and green life. We now work with a 12 month promotional planner giving us solid direction and an edge on our competitors.
Bill’s training has been invaluable in teaching our staff the value of good product knowledge and customer service.
The overall benefit to our business has been a considerable increase in turnover and profitability.
We first met Bill Brett at a presentation he did to the Garden Centre Association of Ireland in 1998. We were in final planning stages of our new garden centre in Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow, and were impressed with his fresh approach and ideas.
We engaged Bill to assist us with our new development and ongoing training. We have engaged Bill for 3 – 5 days every year since 1998, and through that period he has been a great help in developing the business as a whole.
His expertise in all aspects of retail – store design and layout, merchandising, signage, customer service, marketing, training, operations and financial management, has been of immense value in assisting us maintain a focus and grow the business.
Along the way we have won numerous awards both in the industry and in retail generally. Much of this success has been due to Bill’s expertise and inspiration.
His greatest value is his pragmatic, hands on practical approach, established from a wealth of experience. He also has an excellent training technique which lifts the staff to great heights.
A lot of credit must go to Bill in assisting us to become Irelands first five star garden centre under the Bord Bia Awards, and a large thriving business.