An extremely welcome announcement from the government on Tuesday, confirming the opportunity for re-opening the café, it will be lovely to have them back with us.
We are still waiting for the details around the extra safety measures we will need to take within the café but it seems that we will be allowed some inside seating and will be able to offer a more complete menu rather than the takeaway option we had been considering, full English breakfast – happy days!
It is unlikely that we will be ready to re-open on the 4th July and we will still be aiming for a mid July date, we will confirm the exact date once we have received the full guidelines and established how we will implement them.
Please bear with us in this final push towards Root One being back to its welcoming best and watch this space for a further update.
Well what a month its been since we re-opened on the 13th May.
We had the rush to get ready for opening, with minimum notice from the government but lots of guidelines to adhere to. This meant widening the aisles to allow people to pass where possible, introducing a one-way system, the screens at the tills and then ensuring sufficient sanitising products were available. Closing part of the centre to enable us focus on the core parts of the business and of course the continued closure of the café. We then had issues with stock availability on key lines because the nurseries and suppliers were still furloughed. Then we opened the doors, not knowing what to expect and how busy we would be. Happily lots of old friends returned and we welcomed an influx of new friends who had been inspired by the lockdown to get into gardening.
Thank you to all for your understanding and the general feel good factor that kept us going through the busiest trading the centre has seen since we started 19 years ago. We still had stock issues, but you understood and where possible we advised on alternatives which meant you could still achieve your aims. It was humbling to hear that for many, including our most vulnerable customers, that we were the first place they had visited since the start of the lockdown, an honour for us.
So where are we now?
Well we still have stock issues, particularly around herbs, veg plants and David Austin Roses.
The latest information from David Austin for example is as follows:
“Unfortunately due to the initial Covid-19 shutdown we were unable to pot many of our wholesale roses, this has led to a shortage at what would normally be a peak time for us. I regret to inform you that we will be unable to supply you with roses until the Autumn time at the earliest. I know this will be disappointing and I understand this is a difficult time for all. I hope that your customers are understanding of the overall situation that we all face with the challenges Covid-19 has, and, will continue to present.”
This reflects the information we are getting from many suppliers, especially our principal compost supplier The Greener Gardening company. They are a new supplier for this year and we switched because they promised a broad range of composts and barks and large supplies with quick delivery. Unfortunately they are now focusing on key lines, being unable to meet production targets and delivery times are up to a month from the date of order. As we have done with many products, we have sourced replacements, either in smaller bags or from different suppliers, hence the run of Vitax Q4 multi purpose we have been selling and that we now have Miracle Gro All Purpose available again but it has been difficult, with much joy from the team when the big lorry of compost pulls in to be unloaded along with the hurried Facebook update to say that we do have some stock.
We are slowly moving to a normal stock situation for this time of a normal gardening season, but this is not a normal year and we are mindful of that. With this being the case, we would urge you to contact us via the website if you have any specific enquiries, include your phone number and we can call or email you with an updated position.
We are constantly being asked about the café and when it will re-open, we are currently making plans on how we can open as a takeaway service so keep your eyes on the café page of the website for more information .
Finally, just wanted to again say a heartfelt thank you from all the team here for your continued support, understanding and keeping us all safe.
We hope to see you again soon.
After 24hrs of uncertainty following Boris Johnson’s address to the nation yesterday I am pleased to confirm that Root One will be re-opening from this Wednesday.
I would like to congratulate our industry trade association – the HTA – for their campaign on behalf of all garden centres.
We realise that being in the first wave of businesses that are allowed to open is a privilege and that it comes with a tremendous responsibility – the responsibility to make this work so that others will be allowed to follow, but the co-operation of all is required if this is to be so.
Social distancing is a paramount requirement.
Please rest assured however that (despite the directives and the limitations placed upon us) we will be doing everything we can to make your visit to Root One as pleasant and welcoming as we can. Be aware though that our friends, the growers, have, like us, had to furlough staff and have been forced to reduce or cancel crops. The availability of bedding plants and vegetables, in particular, is sparse and so, whilst we will do our absolute best to fill our displays with colour, scent and form, please be patient and understanding as we (and the industry that we are so proud to be a part of) try to find our feet again.
Owner, Root One
Root One is a proud and paid up member of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) which represents the garden centre industry.
The HTA is currently lobbying the government arguing that we be classified as Home and Hardware stores, which are deemed essential, and therefore allowed to stay open. We will watch this space but I think given the size of task that the government is facing this will not be regarded as a high priority. Their main focus has to be, rightly, on stopping the spread of this virus. They have said the current measures will be in place for 3 weeks but they are drawing big comparisons between our country and Italy. If we are following Italy’s course then in 3 weeks the number of dead will have risen to 6,000 plus and I can’t see at that stage that they will be suggesting that we all go outside again. So I don’t see a change in policy happening any time soon I’m afraid. We will obviously keep you posted if there are any developments and in the meantime please stay safe.
Jeremy Brudenell, Owner, Root One.
To all our valued customers we are sad to announce the closure of both the café and now the garden centre. Whilst we appreciate absolutely the necessity of social distancing at this time we also feel very strongly that there are huge mental and physical benefits to gardening and never so needed than at this time of national crisis. Our site is open and airy with a large outdoor plant area.
Had there not been such a blanket statement on Monday I believe we would have been able to implement distancing strategies that would have allowed customers to continue to come here and obtain essential supplies to support their passion for gardening and the outdoors. Instead presumably the B&Q’s and Waitrose’s of this world will continue to sell bedding and all manner of gardening sundries because bizarrely they are allowed to whilst we are not.
The nursery producers have their tunnels full to bursting at this moment – please do help them by buying whatever you can wherever it is sold. Their livelihoods are completely dependent on the Spring and early summer trade. I would like to thank all the customers who have phoned in over the last few days offering their advice, sympathy and support. Rest assured we will be back and our incredible team here will be looked after in the interim.
All the best to all of you.
Jeremy Brudenell, Owner, Root One.
Sadly we are not able to celebrate this Spring with our usual excitement and anticipation. Life at the moment is all about navigating our way through entirely uncharted waters as best as we can. As things stand we will simply continue to stay open and do our best to trade through these exceptionally difficult times. Clearly there may be supply issues in addition to a populace that has been asked to stay at home and make only essential journeys. We of course may be asked to close by the government as well and absolutely nothing is certain.
Rest assured however that we will be doing all we can at Root One to implement best practice and government advice concerning standards of hygiene to make our surroundings as safe as possible for each and every visitor to our site. Remember we do have a terrace where you can sit outside and enjoy a coffee and a sandwich in the fresh air. Hand sanitisers are available at each till point and the toilets are well stocked with soap and water and, for the time being, loo- roll! Tables and surfaces are being constantly monitored and wiped with anti-bacterial spray. Please use the contactless payment method if you feel more comfortable doing so. Hopefully there will be an end to this madness sooner rather than later. In the meantime we will do our absolute best to continue to serve you.
With very best wishes
Owner, Root One.