The popular garden centre in Dorset is celebrating its 25th anniversary, having officially opened its doors in March 1994. Chairman Warren Haskins is also celebrating 50 years in the business, after taking over the family retail nursery in 1969.
The family-run garden centre group has grown from the humble beginnings of a small market garden in Coy Pond in Branksome, to operating four popular centres located across Dorset, Hampshire and West Sussex. The business has grown from a turnover of £17,000 in 1969 to a multi-million pound turnover and from employing seven people in 1969 to employing over 600 people.
Warren Haskins, chairman of Haskins Garden Centres, commented: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in making the Ferndown centre the success story that it is today. When we opened the doors to our Ferndown centre, more than ten times the amount of people we expected to, turned up.
“Over the years, Haskins has ridden the humps of recession and I put our continued success down to the fact we have never and will not rest on our laurels.”
Haskins was founded in 1882 by Harry James Haskins, the great grandfather of Warren. Warren decided to open a small garden centre shop at Trickett’s Cross in Ferndown and moved to the site at Longham in 1994 to accommodate for the company’s growing popularity. This new 10-acre site and £4 million development, offered an extensive range of plants and gardening accessories, 560 parking spaces and a 230-seater restaurant.
Three generations of the Haskins family cut the ribbon on the day the Ferndown centre officially opened – Warren, his mother, and Warren’s three children, aged 10, 11 and 14. Fast forward to 2019 and the Ferndown restaurant now seats 530 people.
The very first member of staff that Warren employed in 1969 was Richard Tite, who took on the role of Production Manager. Richard was eventually appointed a Director of the Company and remains close friends with Warren.
Warren added: “Gardening remains the biggest single recreational pursuit in the country and so we’re hoping to acquire a fifth garden centre in the near future, but in the meantime will continue to focus on the development of our Snowhill centre which is currently being redeveloped and will open in spring 2020. The business constantly impresses me with what it achieves.”