Mini golf and new restaurant 'still on the agenda' at garden centre

The family behind Thetford Garden Centre Jean Nixon and her daughter Lucy Nixon.

The family behind Thetford Garden Centre Jean Nixon and her daughter Lucy Nixon. The business is celebrating its 40th birthday. - Credit: Archant/Thetford Garden Centre

The building of a mini-golf course and a new restaurant at a Norfolk garden centre are still “very much on the agenda”, as its owners reflect on 40-years in business. 

After experiencing some of the most difficult years they have ever faced, Lucy Nixon, owner of Thetford Garden Centre, says their 40th birthday - which they reached this month - feels like a momentous achievement.  

Thetford Garden Centre is celebrating its 40th birthday this month.

Thetford Garden Centre is celebrating its 40th birthday this month. A wicker woman has been erected in the car park. - Credit: Thetford Garden Centre

And despite the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Ms Nixon, 42, and her team have not only managed to survive, but they have also continued to create a thriving business

She said: “It’s crazy. It doesn’t feel that long ago since we were making plans for our 30th. 

“But a lot has happened in that time. 

“We are so busy day-to-day, I don’t often stop and look back, but it's thanks to our amazing team that we were able to make it through such a challenging time.” 

Thetford Garden Centre is celebrating its 40th birthday.

Thetford Garden Centre is celebrating its 40th birthday. - Credit: Thetford Garden Centre

Last year, the garden centre - which is also home to the Lime Kiln Kitchen - launched the Norfolk Pizza Co, offering an outdoor eating area where they serve up wood-fired pizzas and waffles and it is still proving a big hit.  

But this is just one of many new additions planned at the site. 

The Norfolk Pizza Co is located at Thetford Garden Centre.

The Norfolk Pizza Co is located at Thetford Garden Centre. - Credit: Thetford Garden Centre

Before the pandemic hit, planning permission was granted for an extension of the building to create new offices and toilets, a new adventure golf course and a second restaurant. 

Ms Nixon said: “They were all put on hold with the rest of the world but we are getting the ball rolling on those again. They are still very much on our agenda.” 

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Despite feeling positive, Ms Nixon said they are still facing a few challenges.  

Unable to find builders, some of the work has been delayed but the day-to-day running has also been affected by a lack of staff. 

The family behind Thetford Garden Centre Byline: Sonya Duncan

Thetford Garden Centre is celebrating its 40th birthday. It is owned by Lucy Nixon (middle). - Credit: Sonya Duncan

“A lot of people have turned their backs on the hospitality industry since covid, which is really sad,” said Ms Nixon. 

“Trying to find new staff is a daily struggle so our teams are having to work really hard, it's tough for everyone. But overall, we are feeling positive. 

“I’m proud of how far we have come and how much the business has changed. 

“We still have a lot more we want to do. We are very ambitious and we want to keep growing.” 

To celebrate their 40th birthday, a new wicker woman has been erected in the garden centre carpark. 

Thetford Garden Centre is celebrating its 40th birthday this month. A wicker woman has been erected in the car park.

Thetford Garden Centre is celebrating its 40th birthday this month. A wicker woman has been erected in the car park. - Credit: Thetford Garden Centre