GCA Rising Stars set to present at conference later this month

Company: Westland Horticulture

Winning candidates George Bishop, Assistant Manager for Squires Woking and Will Michieli, Plant Advisor for Monkton Elm Garden and Pet Centre in Somerset will describe their journey to success to attendees at the Blackpool conference on January 28 and will also promote the launch of the 2014 programme.

Keith Nicholson, Marketing Director for Westland Horticulture, said: “The 2013 Rising Stars attracted 12 applicants and these were shortlisted to four for the full programme. These were go-getting ambitious individuals – two were promoted within their business during the year. As the whole process was so successful, in 2014 we’re hoping for a greater number of applicants.”

The 2013 programme included three seasonal workshops facilitated by Ian Boardman, which were sponsored by Westland Horticulture. These were aimed at increasing awareness of key merchandising skills. Those involved were then challenged to try these ideas back at their own garden centres and deliver measurable results, for example, increasing sales. This was followed up by a review of the results, then planning for the next season and onto the next topic. The result was a tremendous impact on their garden centres, as well as the entrants own personal development.

Joint winner, George Bishop said: “We have become much more proactive. Planning ahead more, being ready to change displays and product placing if the weather changes.

“I can now think like a customer more – and aim to make it easier for customers to shop and spend.”

Joint winner, Will Michieli said: “We worked on the average spend and now understand net profit and the effect we can have on it.

“I now realise how vital the personal touch is and how it affects what people spend on the day. I am now looking ahead to the coming year with new ideas for improved POS signs.”

All entrants were invited to attend the GCA Conference later this month, courtesy of Westland Horticulture and this was part of the overall prize.

The GCA and Westland Horticulture say that based on the success of 2013, the Rising Stars Programme will now be developed further for 2014.

Keith Nicholson added: “This will allow more delegates to benefit from the workshops and the conference. They all have the potential of a great future in garden retail as the industry’s next generation of managers.”

The GCA is more than delighted with continuing its partnership with Westland Horticulture.

Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA said: “We are aiming to involve a larger group to participate in the workshops throughout 2014. Ultimately we hope there will be four or five attending the conference, selected from the group, next time, which will be part of the prize itself.”

Anyone interested in applying for the 2014 programme should contact the GCA on 0118 930 8918 or visit www.gca.org.uk.

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