Work is underway at Root One Garden Centre in Wallingford to improve its customer experience, with extensions to the retail and coffee shop areas, and additional car parking spaces being provided at the site.

Malcolm Scott Consultants secured permission for a series of changes at the site to help the centre adapt and evolve in response to changing consumer needs and competitive retail channels.

Plans were submitted to, and approved by, South Oxfordshire District Council for the construction of an extension to the plant area, ancillary coffee shop seating area and kitchen, as well as the erection of an additional dry goods retail space, totalling 8,255 sq ft.  Permission for 33 new parking spaces and a dry storage area for goods waiting collection was also granted.The aim is for the construction to be completed by next spring, in order to capitalise on the key garden centre sales period.

Andrew Burton, of Malcolm Scott Consultants, said: “We know that the structure of the retail sector in the UK has changed over the past 10 years due to the internet.  Garden centres have not been immune to such changes and supermarket chains have developed their internet offers on all aspects of gardening and garden leisure items.  With Covid hitting the world in 2020, we have seen the garden centre industry navigate its way through some really challenging times but emerge the other side in a stronger position than ever.

“Family owned, independent garden centres such as Root One have realised that garden centres are now more than ever uniquely placed to offer their customers an experience that the online retailers simply cannot replicate. People clearly want to get out and about, but in a safe environment, and garden centres can offer this whilst simultaneously addressing issues of physical and mental well being.

“As such, Root One Garden Centre has been assessing its retail operation and the last 12 to 18 months have brought into focus the need to address some key issues in order to enhance and take advantage of the surge in interest in gardening. This included how they retail, how they store stock and how they lay the centre out to make it more appealing and a destination of choice.

Further to these changes, the centre will be able to offer a wider range of garden leisure products to meet customer demand, as well as providing an increased amount of seating in its popular coffee shop to serve more customers and allow more space between visitors in light of ongoing social distancing concerns,” he said.

The centre hopes that the enhanced range and size will lead to customers spending longer on site to explore the offering.

Jeremy Brudenell, who established Root One Garden Centre in 2001, said: “Over the last 20 years our centre has steadily evolved and grown. Recently, however,  that growth has been exponential, highlighting the need for more storage, more office and staff facilities, and more car parking spaces.

“In addition the new retail area will allow us to offer a much more comprehensive range of garden leisure products. We are also almost doubling the size of our plant area because this a is our particular strength and plants are the core of our business.

“We are really looking forward to unveiling our improved proposition at the centre planned for Spring 2022 which we are confident our customers will love, both in terms of the new layout and stock and service,” he added.