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Stir it up magazine March 2017

SOWING THE SEEDS OF SUCCESS FAMILY BUSINESS is blooming Left to Right: Simon, Karin, Alan,Hannah, Tristan MARCH 2017 5 CUSTOMER PROFILE >> ‘Mighty oaks from little acorns grow’ as the saying goes, and it’s an appropriate description for the Bourne family business. Thirty-two years ago Alan and Karin Bourne took over his parents’ small holding in Essex – and, over time, have transformed it into a multi-million pound garden centre, complete with 260-cover coffee shop. And now all three of Alan and Karin’s children have joined them to work at Perrywood Garden Centre in Tiptree. Daughter Hannah, who is the centre’s communications manager, explains: “My parents took over Perrywood in 1984, and moved on site with me and my brothers, Simon and Tristan. At the time it sold pick-your-own strawberries, potatoes and a small range of plants. “When my grandparents had it, it was a small holding with chickens and cows, more agricultural, but it evolved over time and my dad introduced plants and greenhouse crops, which started to make more money. In the 1980s the TV show Groundforce was really popular and people began to take more interest in their gardens.” So what is it like to work so closely with her family? “We grew up talking about the business and it has always been run from our kitchen table,” says Hannah. “We all went off and forged our own careers and then brought our knowledge and experience back to the business. I went to London to work in PR and marketing for 10 years then I got married and we decided we wanted to be in the country to bring up a family. Simon has been here since 2008 as garden centre manager and now oversees coffee shop operations. Tristan came back nine months ago as project manager overseeing our current extension and refurbishments.” The coffee shop used to host 60 covers back in 1999 and the increase to 260 has prompted a major extension and re-design. “The kitchen couldn’t cope and the space didn’t work any more,” continues Hannah, “so we’ve moved the dishwash and sandwich making area by extending into what was the staff room and also done a lot of work to improve the acoustics.” Catering manager Jackie Newton has worked for the family-owned business for seven years. “It’s a magnificent shop – we really are a destination and we’ll often see people who are here all day. They pop in for a coffee and a scone in the morning then they’re back for a late lunch in the afternoon.” Perrywood is known for its delicious scones, which are baked fresh every day. Continues Jackie: “We make five different types of flavoured scones (fruit, plain, cheese, Stilton and walnut, date and cherry) and we have a dedicated bakery chef who comes in every day at 6am to bake them.” Country Range Dried Fruits and Walnuts are a vital ingredient and are chosen because “they’re a great price but not at the expense of the quality”. Mother’s Day later this month will be extremely busy with afternoon teas and, at Easter, they make chocolate scones and hot cross bun scones. “The ethos here is all about fresh and local,” adds Jackie. “We take a great deal of pride in what we do.” 122,000 Coffees 89,000 Scones 14,000 Jacket Potatoes 88,000 Cups of tea


Stir it up magazine March 2017
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