A Lurgan-based garden centre has announced a six-figure investment in the acquisition and redevelopment of a garden nursery as it responds to supply chain disruption impacting overseas imports.
With funding support from Ulster Bank, Wilderness Flower & Garden Centre, based on Flush Place, Lurgan, has acquired the expansive Hoophill Nurseries, situated on a six-acre plot on the outskirts of the County Armagh town, just a few miles from its main trading premises.
Featuring approximately three acres of glass growing houses, the nursery will supply the garden centre with its own ranges while owner Kyle Archer says the business will also begin trading wholesale, acting as a locally-based supplier for other florists throughout Northern Ireland seeking a reliable and consistent supply of garden products.
“We have significant scope to increase our sales volumes, but Brexit-related supply chain issues mean we’re contending with inconsistent and unreliable lead times,” he explains.
“This acquisition will help us to ensure a consistent supply for our own business while providing us with the capacity to take on a leading role in the local market as we scale up our operation over the next two years and begin selling surplus stock at the wholesale level.”
The site also features a large warehouse which is currently under renovation and will see the development of modern office facilities from which to grow the wholesale side of the business.
When fully operational, the nursery will enable Wilderness Flower & Garden Centre to significantly reduce costs and expand its product range with new plant varieties.
“Currently we import around 50 per cent of our stock. Owning this supply line will minimise the need for importing products which translates to higher margins and major annual savings, particularly from transportation costs.”
Ulster Bank business development manager Paul Reid says the investment is welcomed news for the local industry.
“Kyle and the team at Wilderness Flower & Garden Centre are seizing the reins with this investment, which we’re pleased to be able to support,” he said.
“The challenges facing the business are considerable and restricting growth, but with the additional space to grow their own products they can maximise profitability while also taking on an important supporting role for other local businesses responding to similar supply chain issues.”
In 2013, the business, which specialises in fresh cut flowers, nursery plants, gifts and occasions, invested in its current purpose-built premises as it expanded its operations, also with Ulster Bank support.