28 July 2021
Creative Gardens (Donaghadee, United Kingdom) is a family business that is jointly run by two generations with occasional help from the third. “It's great to run a family business! We can work very well together, but we each have our own departments to make sure we don't drive each other crazy", says Philip Gass, co-owner of Creative Gardens. This interview is part of our whitepaper 'Challenging times ask for online solutions'. Do you want to read more inspiring interviews? Download the full whitepaper.
The origins of Creative Gardens go back some 40 years when Philip Gass's parents bought a house with a few large greenhouses. His father was an avid gardener and started growing tomatoes as a business. “My parents sold these tomatoes to vegetable and fruit stores in the area. After this, they started growing bedding plants, and slowly but surely, a small nursery was established. A new shop was built in the 1990s to sell accessories for gardens. A coffee corner was added shortly after. In this way, a hobby was turned into a family business.”
For many years, Creative Gardens did not really focus on online sales. “In fact, we have always concentrated on in-store retail. When we went into lockdown at the beginning of last year, we quickly decided to set up a webshop by working with Garden Connect. This went really well and kept us busy during the time when we were closed. Although our focus remains on the customer experience within our store, we are happy that we have been able to create this development. The webshop has now really become part of our business. It also means that our customers can choose to shop with us in a different way.”
Creative Gardens is very satisfied with the relationship with Garden Connect. “I love to brainstorm and develop ideas together. This always results in a good end product. We may think that we know what we want, but we don't have much knowledge of e-commerce or apps. It is very nice to work with a partner who has a lot of experience with that side of things!”
While it started as a hobby in the garden, Creative Gardens has now grown into a large company that will soon have four different locations. “We bought our second centre in Bushmills in 2003 and, in 2014, we opened at Galgorm Castle. In April 2021 we opened our fourth location in Logwood, Ballyclare Our home base is still in Donaghadee. That's where it all started.” Creative Gardens now has about 220 employees. They are constantly looking for new potential locations. They want to keep growing.