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Doveley's Garden Centre to close after 17 years

Devotees Garden Centre

The closure of a long-standing garden centre near Uttoxeter will put seventeen workers' jobs at risk.

Home and Garden managing director David White has announced the firm's branch at Doveleys Garden Centre will close by the end of 2016. Doveleys, in Denstone, has been a well-known retailer in Uttoxeter customers since it opened nearly 17 years ago.

Who are Home & Garden Group?

Around three years ago, site owner MJ Barrett leased the premises to Home and Garden. 

Mr White said: "We've decided the site will be closed by the end of the year. There are 17 full-time and part-time jobs that are at risk. We're consulting with staff and hope some will take up other opportunities in the group.

"In the last three years, we've tried everything to make the site work, but we've not been able to. We've thrown everything at it, including the kitchen sink, in terms of marketing and investment and redeveloped the cafe. It just seems that actually getting people out to that location is really tough."

According to Mr White, one of the major problems he has faced involves a slope customers have to negotiate when leaving the centre.

He said: "Out target market is aged between 50 and 70 and many of the customers really struggle when they come out with products to get back to their cars. One of the other real challenges small and independent garden centres is the competition from discount supermarkets. These guys are making it really difficult to make a margin."

We're a good value retailer, but have found it really tough to compete. Many of the staff whose jobs are under threat have worked at the centre 'for many years'. Mr White has paid tribute to their efforts during a difficult period.

He said: "Business has been really tough, but the staff there have been absolutely brilliant. They've tried their damndest and we've had a great manager and assistant manager, who's been there for many years.

"Personally, I'm really sad. I've put a lot of energy into the Doveleys site, as have my team and the guys working there. But we lost money in 2016 and I can't see a way of turning it around."

The centre is currently closed to the public, but will reopen on Friday, October 21 for a clearance sale. A total of £985,000 of stock will be sold as the centre prepares to close its doors. Malcolm Barrett, owner of MJ Barrett, said the closure meant his firm was 'back to square one' in terms of the site's future.

He said: "I'm really disappointed by this and feel incredibly sorry for the staff, who are brilliant."Many of them have worked there for years and worked under us when we ran it.

"Now we've just got to sit back and have a look to see where we go with it."It's very much a case of going back to the drawing board as far as we're concerned. We've got to get our heads round this as it has happened a bit unexpectedly."

Source: Insight DIY Team

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19 October 2016

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