How business has grown significantly at a plant nursery near Rugby - despite the pandemic

Extra staff have been drafted in to cope with demand and now plans have been drawn up for a new larger barn

Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 10:06 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 10:08 am

The owners of a Church Lawford plant nursery said their business has grown significantly this year, despite the pandemic.

Extra staff have been drafted in to cope with demand and now plans have been drawn up for a new larger barn.

A planning statement sent to Rugby Borough Council to accompany the plans for the new structure at Lineside Nursery, in Rugby Road, explained: “Until the end of 2019 the applicant was the only full-time worker on the site, with family members (unpaid) and one person at a time from the local community being employed one day/morning per week on a casual basis during busy springs and summers.

The owners of a Church Lawford plant nursery said their business has grown significantly this year, despite the pandemic.
The owners of a Church Lawford plant nursery said their business has grown significantly this year, despite the pandemic.

“This year a second family member joined the business full-time. Through necessity, a third family member provided regular support throughout the main delivery season of March to July. It is anticipated that in future the nursery will take on a minimum of one trainee for one day per week all year round and additional casual staff when needed.”

It went on to explain that both the applicant and his wife had experience of training and/or teaching teenagers and young adults and that they hoped to offer work experience placements to local schools and horticultural colleges.

And it also outlined a number of reasons why 2020 has seen the business flourish.

The document added: “After the initial industry shock caused by the first coronavirus lockdown, the nursery’s sales and the number of trade customers doubled compared with the same period last year.

“It is anticipated that this higher level of sales can be maintained because:

Gardening has become popular among householders who previously showed little interest and merely mowed the lawn out of necessity. More gardeners buying more plants means more young plants are needed at the bottom of the supply chain.

Nationwide, several nurseries and garden centres have been sold to developers for housing. This increases the market share for the independent wholesale or retail nurseries and most of Lineside Nursery’s customers fall into this category.

During the first lockdown, larger garden centres were forced to temporarily cease trading. However, small, family-run garden centres were able to continue by delivering orders in their locality or via mail order. This meant the buying public are now aware of these smaller outlets and many people will continue to buy from them.

Brexit uncertainty means more garden centres are looking to buy stock from British growers.

As the industry moves towards being peat-free by the target date of 2030, more nurseries are already starting to purchase plants grown in a peat-free growing medium. Lineside Nursery became peat-free in 2018.

A decision on the proposed new barn will be made in the new year.