Nurturing a leading plant nursery to help it blossom

Business Finance grows retail offering

Ravensworth Nurseries in Richmond, North Yorkshire has been established for more than 50 years and occupies a 36-acre site in a prime location close to the busy A66.

The family-run business is the largest grower of Poinsettias in the North of England and has an excellent reputation for supplying quality home-grown plants, starter plants and seedlings to retail outlets and garden centres across the UK. It also has contracts with several councils to supply hanging baskets and plants for their parks and high streets.

The nursery asked experienced Business Consultant Bob Morton to review the business, and he identified the opportunity to create a significant increase in revenue by creating more of a leisure destination, where visitors can browse the homegrown plants, as well as garden products and accessories, and potentially enjoy a drink and a bite to eat in the café. A move which would augment the successful core business of supplying the trade.

Plans were drawn up but they were put on hold for a few months when the coronavirus pandemic closed the business to the public. However, through quick thinking, the company created a new website in a matter of days offering local deliveries. It hired some vans and used members of the team, who usually deliver to other garden centres, to drop off the orders.

It was extremely successful, leading to an increased number of visitors to the nursery, once lockdown restrictions were eased, who were keen to see the full range of plants available. This gave the owners even more confidence to grow the on-site retail offering.

However, Fiona Dean, Director of Ravensworth Nurseries, was disappointed by the negative reaction from the banks the company approached for funding. Therefore, Bob Morton introduced Fiona to Reward’s Founding Director, David Jones who quickly understood the great opportunity for growth that had been identified.

Through our Business Finance product, we quickly arranged a £1.1m facility enabling them to progress the plans.

Commenting on decision to advance the funds, David Jones, said,

“This is a fantastic family business with an excellent reputation built over half a century of trading. With the ability to grow their own plants, it makes perfect sense to expand and improve the retail experience.

“As well as making an increased margin on the sale of the plants and trees, there will be no additional distribution costs, as the greenhouses and growing areas are next to the garden centre. This puts them in a perfect position to tap into the growing demand by consumers for plants that are ‘grown not flown’.

“Having looked at the business plan and with the right security in place, we were very happy to provide the funds to help the business grow.”