Garden centre owners put down new roots in town

Brenda and Gary Groucott, who bought Aylsham Garden Centre last year.

Brenda and Gary Groucott, who bought Aylsham Garden Centre last year. - Credit: Aylsham Garden Centre

Their business started as a seedling and is now a 20-year-old oak, albeit with only two 'branches'.

Brenda, 54, and Gary Groucott, 57, are marking their silver milestone on January 1 - exactly two decades after they started out at Wymondham Garden Centre. 

Lewis Goldspink, one of the staff members at Aylsham Garden Centre.

Lewis Goldspink, one of the staff members at Aylsham Garden Centre. - Credit: Aylsham Garden Centre

The Groucotts took over Aylsham Garden Centre in October 2020, and although they had to close the centre's cafe during the third lockdown, Mrs Groucott said trade had been brisk and the new venture was going well. 

She said: "We all know that Covid has created a generation of cooks and gardeners.

"There has been a lot of new, young gardeners and when they start they don't really stop." 

Scott Meadows-Wright, manager at Aylsham Garden Centre.

Scott Meadows-Wright, manager at Aylsham Garden Centre. - Credit: Aylsham Garden Centre

Mrs Groucott said that although not much was currently happening in back gardens - Christmas tends to be a time to tidy up and make plans for the coming season - she expected trends in what people were planting would continue to grow. 

"In the past year we've seen a lot of people get back into fruit and vegetable gardening again - tomatoes, seed potatoes, fruit bushes and trees are all very popular," she said.  

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The Groucotts live in Wymondham and split their time between the two stores, with manager Scott Meadows-Wright taking care of the day-to-day management of the Aylsham centre. 

Mrs Groucott said they had installed a new gift/Christmas shop at the Aylsham centre and wanted to build a new entrance canopy next year. 

Some of the plants on display at Aylsham Garden Centre.

Some of the plants on display at Aylsham Garden Centre. - Credit: Aylsham Garden Centre

She said: "We started off with just a handful of staff, now we have over 20. 

"The staff are new there as well so they look on it as their centre, and they want to improve it. We've got a lot of plans for the future - we're really optimistic."

The centre recently hosted a Christmas event, raising around £1,200 for Aylsham & District Care Trust (ACT). Mrs Groucott said the event featured a local ladies' choir, a fire engine from Aylsham Fire Station and a raffle. 

Some of the plants on display at Aylsham Garden Centre.

Some of the plants on display at Aylsham Garden Centre. - Credit: Aylsham Garden Centre

The couple bought the centre at auction for £720,000.

Mrs Groucott said locals seemed pleased they were taking the centre in a new direction, and striving to make it more a part of the community.

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