A family-run garden centre is celebrating its 80th birthday and preparing to pass the reigns on to a fourth generation.
Smith’s Garden Centre in Baginton was set-up in 1942 during World War II and supported the war effort by growing food produce.
It is now led by Mick and Tara Smith and their two sons Luke and Kieran, daughters in law Chloe and Erin are directors with the business, with their teenage daughter Eleanor also joining the family business in the last year.
The business thrived during and after lockdowns brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, as more people picked up gardening as a hobby during the first lockdown.
Smith’s Garden Centre now employs 50 people, which is up by 15 from three years ago, and has doubled in size since 2019 – a growth driven by investment in a café, walkways, storage facilities and more.
It is planning further renovation of its car park during its 80th year.
The business has seen turnover increase from £1.3m to £2.7m in the last three years. It has been working with accountancy firm Burgis & Bullock throughout that period, with advice ranging from strategic tax planning and cloud accounting, to cash flow forecasting and access to Coronavirus grant schemes.
Burgis & Bullock, which has offices in Leamington, Nuneaton, Rugby and Stratford-upon-Avon, is now advising Mick on succession planning and supporting the next generation with tax implications.
Mick said: “Back in 1942, my grandmother and grandfather moved to this site as tenants on a smallholding. My father bought the land outright in 1980 and we have been proud to lead the business since 1996.
“The family aspect of our business is hugely important – it means we still have the same core mission and values as when we started out 80 years ago.
“We’ve enjoyed a hugely successful period and we did very well as a result of the gardening boom in the pandemic. Our turnover has continued to grow, we’ve more than doubled the size of the business and been able to maintain really high gross profit.
“At the site we are constantly investing and working to make it more efficient with new processes and systems. We’ve also modernised our books and have worked with Burgis & Bullock to streamline our use of Xero.
“Our relationship with Burgis & Bullock grows every year, as we require more specialist help – with the latest stage of that being strategic tax planning and succession(s) ? planning.
“I’m proud that Luke and Chloe, Kieran and Erin, and Eleanor have all joined the business, and we’re confident they will carry it forward alongside their partners and eventually pass it on to a fifth generation.”
Trevor Day, Head of Client Services at Burgis & Bullock, said: “It’s been fantastic to see Smith’s Garden Centre continue to grow and flourish in recent years – and they have the ideal foundations in place to pass the business on to the next generation.
“While many sectors of retail have struggled in the last two years, garden centres have bucked that trend and the versatility of Mick and his team has enabled them to take advantage of this.
“Over the last eight decades the business has built a trusted reputation in the area – the future looks to be in safe hands and we look forward to continuing to work closely with Mick, Tara and their family.”