New food hall bears fruit thanks to Reward

Garden centre grows food offering

Crimple Garden Centre has an excellent location on a busy main road close to Harrogate town centre, resulting in impressive footfall.

Graham Watson has owned the garden centre since 2013 and has created an excellent business with a great reputation. People travel for miles to buy his high-quality plants, shrubs, flowers, and gardening accessories, as well as receiving expert horticultural advice and tips.

With a large amount of land belonging to the garden centre, Graham knew he could build on this success, and attract even more people, by increasing the retail offering. His plan, therefore, was to open one of the UK’s largest food halls on the site.

It was an ambitious scheme to build a 20,000 square foot building costing more than £4 million.

The food hall was to be highly sustainable with a ‘saw tooth’ roof, to allow for natural ventilation, with PV solar panels, and climate-controlled windows to keep the temperature constant, helping to save electricity used for heating and cooling.

The refrigeration equipment would be fitted with a heat recovery system enabling it to produce more than 1,200 litres of hot water per hour to meet the needs of the whole building.

He had also factored in the shopping bags being sustainable by making them out of potatoes.

The shareholders were investing around £3 million of their own money in developing the food hall and needed an additional £1.3m to complete it.

Following an introduction to Reward by James Gwynne from Commercial Expert, David Jones, our Founding Director, and Associate Director Karen Paige, visited the garden centre and were very impressed with the striking design which mirrored the agricultural buildings in the area.

Reward had already funded Graham on a previous successful business venture, so we knew he could make things work. David also knew the site well so was confident the addition of a food hall would be a huge success. Its sustainable credential also tied in perfectly with Reward’s ESG policy.

We therefore quickly provided the funds, via a Business Finance facility, to help bring the food hall to fruition.

Our faith has been well founded, as it has enjoyed great success, significantly exceeding projections, in the few months it has been open.

As well as creating 60 new jobs, it has popular 160-seater restaurant, and is the home for more than 50 specialist food producers, many of whom are local.

Graham was delighted with Reward’s approach.

“Other potential funders had made cheaper offers but with complications,” he said. “Reward just got the job done quickly and with minimum of fuss, and pretty much just left us to it.”