Garden centre stays in bloom through corona crisis
An Edinburgh garden centre and tearoom is brightening up lockdown for its customers by offering a delivery service during the Coronavirus crisis, thanks to CBILS support from Bank of Scotland.
New Hopetoun Gardens in Broxburn was forced to close its doors to the public and furlough 28 of its 36 staff following the government’s announcement of a UK-wide lockdown.
The centre features 18 individually themed gardens and offers the largest range of plants for sale in Scotland, a tearoom and an award-winning gift shop.
April and May are the business’ busiest months with at least 10,000 people visiting each month to buy gardening essentials including potted plants, shrubs and pots.
Due to the current crisis, restrictions placed on the general public to avoid non-essential travel and purchases means the business can no longer rely on its usual income from customer visits.
In order to continue paying suppliers, provide care for the plants and deliver orders to customers during this unprecedented time, the business approached Bank of Scotland for support. Within two weeks, New Hopetoun Gardens received a £195,000 CBIL funding package to assist with operations and an additional £110,000 CBIL earmarked for the end of the year should the lockdown continue beyond May.
Morag Macrae, joint owner of Hopetoun Gardens, said: “This should be our busiest time of year, but people simply aren’t allowed to visit us. To overcome this challenge, we’re focusing on home deliveries and currently send 15 orders a day to customers across Edinburgh.
“When the lockdown was announced we went through a lot of scenario planning. The deliveries do bring in a small amount of income, but we knew we’d need further support to pay our suppliers. We have a long-standing relationship with Bank of Scotland and thanks to the funding, we’re able to keep seven members of staff on board to deliver the plants and take care of the stock we still have.
“The support also gives us the flexibility required to make it through the quieter winter months. I hope our deliveries will continue to provide a bit of solace for our customers and brighten up what is a difficult time for all.”
Stuart McNaughton, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland, said: “With the general public unable to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary, a lot of businesses that rely on customer footfall are experiencing large decreases in income. For some however, there are alternatives. New Hopetoun Gardens is a great example of a business that is adapting and working to safely deliver plants to their customers.
“At Bank of Scotland we’re committed to supporting businesses as they navigate these challenging times.”