Here at Thompson's we want to re-assure customers that we are doing everything we can to make it a safe shopping environment within all our garden centres.
- We are continuing to operate the 2 meter social distancing rule throughout the garden centres
- We have a one way system in place
- During peak times we will be controlling the number of customers who enter the garden centre at any given time
- We have a sanitizing station at the entrance for trolleys and hands
- The outside plant area is a large open space for customers to safely browse whilst keeping a distance from each other
- Our toilets will remain closed
When To Shop With Us?
If you would like a quieter time to shop we would recommend coming during a week day and in the mornings. If you are unable to shop with us during the week we would recommend coming first thing in the morning on a Saturday or Sunday.
We have taken advise from the Horticultural Trades Association as well as the Garden Centre Association to produce some key facts and information for our customers:
- The mental and physical health benefits of gardening, gardens and plants are well-documented, and the results of many academic studies have shown a clear link between the two. The University of Exeter, for example found that people who spend time in the garden are significantly more likely to report general good health, higher psychological wellbeing and greater physical activity levels than those who do not. And those without gardens can also benefit – numerous scientific studies have shown that houseplants boost our mood, reduce stress and even reduce blood pressure. At a time when people are really struggling after months of anxiety and frustration, gardening and plants offer a real tonic and an activity which encourages them to stay at home. We know that gardening is a 12-month occupation.
- British growers are essential to our sector. 60% of UK-produced plants sold are through UK garden centres – meaning the British supply chain is hugely dependent on UK garden centres. This time of year is key for the sector as planting has started for the Spring 2021 season. Growers won’t progress their planting regimes with uncertainty in place. Any delay in preparation and planting for the next season will have a knock-on impact to whether certain plants will be available later this year, financially impacting those businesses and the industry’s ability to be an economic powerhouse for the UK.
- Keeps people at home: 3m new gardeners have taken up the hobby since lockdown. Allowing people to visit a garden centre during restricted times means they have something to do at home. And gardening is not just for those with gardens, but for those with balconies, window boxes. Garden centres sell indoor plants.
- January is a time for planning and preparation in our gardens and there are plenty of tasks which can be done to get ready for the spring. Gardens and allotments will offer numerous activities for people looking for things to do and these activities will help boost their mood and their physical wellbeing. We know that almost 40% of all adults with access to a garden or outdoor space say they tend to grow their own fruit or vegetables. Now is the time to begin chitting potatoes, and to sow seeds, particularly tender crops that need a longer season, such as tomatoes, chillies and peppers. Sales of Hellebores, Skimmia, Camellia, Rhododendron and winter bedding such as Pansies and Viola are traditionally very strong. Houseplants also make up a significant percentage of garden sales in January.
- First-class social distancing. The open infrastructure of garden centres offers bigger premises, with outdoor aspects. When they reopened in May they invested and implemented the HTA’s Safe Trading Guidance – an enhanced version of what other retailer sectors were working to. This includes enhanced social distancing in spaces that provide easy opportunities to enforce. This guidance was publicly endorsed by Defra.
- Garden centres are local stores In many rural areas garden centres operate as local community stores. Many garden centres offer a range of products, including winter fuel and pet and aquatic supplies. Winter is a prime time for feeding birds – the RSPB says feeding the birds can save their lives in cold spells.