Boom in young families at garden centre attraction

Jamie Tassell, area manager of Roys of Wroxham

Jamie Tassell, area manager of Roys of Wroxham - Credit: Roys of Wroxham

Business is blooming for an out-of-town garden centre which is seeing more young families seeking advice on growing their own food.

Highway Garden and Leisure in Loddon Road, Framingham Pigot, which was founded in 1991, has recorded a £5m turnover this year and is continuing to attract people this Christmas despite concerns over the Omicron variant.

Jamie Tassell, area manager for Roys of Wroxham, which took over the business in 2013, said: "Garden centres are becoming more of a destination attraction. At the moment some people feel more comfortable at out-of-town places. We are looking at record turnover."

He said there has been a lot of investment into developing the business over the past two years, including the café and restaurant.

The cafe and restaurant at Highway Garden and Leisure

The cafe and restaurant at Highway Garden and Leisure - Credit: Roys of Wroxham

Mr Tassell believed the overall environment of a garden centre made people feel safe and that the Covid pandemic had made people appreciate their gardens.

"We have a broader base of people coming in and we are seeing more younger families coming in talking to staff about growing vegetables. We feel proud to help them.

"I think people are looking to buy items now because they worry that things will lock down. Business is a bit busier," he added.

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The manager said the business was coming through the past year of supply issues and focussing on next year but admitted it did cause a challenge.

He added Roys was looking to develop the garden centre's outdoor area and making the business pet friendly.

Because of the increasing amount of time people spent in their gardens in the pandemic, a lot of outdoor furniture has been sold this year.

Other popular items include indoor plants and bedding plants.

Mr Tassell added that the Christmas display was popular.

"People didn't have a Christmas last year. We couldn't have family round and it was quite subdued. People want to have a really good Christmas this year," the manager said.

The business was originally founded by Jo High, whose family is still involved in the garden centre, according to Mr Tassell.

It currently employs around 77 staff including temporary Christmas staff.