Well what a year 2020 has been for us all! As we’re all about to head back into a month long lockdown, and near the end of a bizarre 2020, we felt it was a good time to reflect on the year we’ve had. We’d like to take a moment to first and foremost thank everyone who has supported us during such a challenging year – especially back in April when we were forced to close up during what is usually one of the busiest months of the year for Trevena Cross.
Thank you from Trevena Cross
From messages of support, to online orders you have done your bit to help this independent business when it needed it the most. The biggest thank you has to go to our staff who were here to answer the phones and take the orders when they just didn’t stop coming (we apologise that we weren’t always available to take customer calls – the demand was unprecedented and as a business so reliant on people walking through the gates, we had to find a new way of working!) A special thank you from Trevena Cross to the members of our community – our own customers – who volunteered their time for free to help with the huge scale watering task across the 35 acre site, and volunteered to go out and do deliveries for us, just to help keep the business going in such uncertain times. The community spirit shown was astonishing, and certainly put a lump in the throat at times. SO THANK YOU FROM TREVENA CROSS.
Despite the biggest challenge of closure, we found ordering online introduced lots of customers to something ‘new’, especially in relation to the hugely popular ‘patio selections’. We all tend to be creatures of habit, and turn to the same varieties of pleasing patio plants year on year, but this year rung the changes for lots of people who didn’t have so much control over what ‘patio selection’ was chosen for them before their doorstep delivery! As a result, people ended up with a lovely surprise and firm new favourites to look out for next spring. We plan to build on this with an even wider range of patio colour for 2021, as well greater volumes of grow your own vegetables and herbs, which have been hugely popular through the ‘lockdown’ period, as people have got back to nature, really embraced their gardens and had a go at a becoming a bit more self-sufficient growing their own produce.
Since being able to reopen, part way through May, the support of our loyal customer base has not relented, and we have welcomed so many customers safely back through the gates, to help them on their way with their new garden makeovers, or to help them fulfil their planting dreams. Lucky to be growers of more than 90% of our own plant stocks, we didn’t have problems replenishing stock when demand was at its highest, although we suffered the same fate as many other garden centres when it came to sundries. A real shortfall of compost and other shop goods at times, due to supplier struggles, only highlighted the understanding nature of the vast majority of our customers, who waited patiently or tried out substitutes. On the whole, people were just very grateful to get their hands on whatever was available!
In uncertain times, people have turned to their outdoor spaces to feel liberated. They have come to appreciate the space they have, with so many people spending so much more time in their gardens than they would in a normal year. Plus in a world where many feel helpless and a lack of control, the garden has enabled people to regain some control and create positive change.
Looking forward to Christmas, you may have heard the recent announcement confirming the cancellation of this year’s Santa’s Grotto and Christmas Markets here at Trevena Cross. What a thank you to the community it would have been, to be able to host our usual big festive weekends, but sadly it is not to be this year. Safety must come first, and so we’ll save our efforts to make December 2021 the best yet! The festive period is usually also a time to fundraise for our nominated charities, via our grotto, and so this year will be a bit different. We will still be supporting our very local community in Ashton and Breage though, with Christmas hampers offered to residents who need them the most.
Plus, we aren’t giving up on Christmas altogether! We will still have our usual selection of Christmas trees (towards end of November) – and even better quality this year – with our hugely popular £25 value Nordmann Firs back again in all shapes and sizes to suit every home and taste. In addition to the Christmas trees, we will have a wide array of Christmas decorations in our Christmas shop and will dazzle you with this year’s reconfigured, more ‘open’ light tunnel. An opportunity also, for a bit of gift shopping, and some festive photo opportunities in the undercover area (mid-end November)– with our big snowglobe, giant polar bear and talking owl taking the limelight this festive season, alongside other festive displays.
If you’re in the mood to soak up a little more festive ambience during your visit, hopefully in December you’ll be able to take a seat in the festive outdoor undercover seating area of The Garden Kitchen Café and enjoy coffee and cake or a full meal to refuel before the journey home. We’re so pleased that this extended undercover seating area for the café has proved so popular during such a challenging period. Feeling safe is just as important as actually being safe and it is reassuring to hear from customers that they find it a really safe space to spend time in. It provides a place outside of the home where they are able to relax and enjoy a cuppa with friends or family. Due to such encouraging feedback, we will be retaining this extra seating area over the festive period to ensure that customers continue to feel as safe and comfortable as possible when they visit the café – and hopefully they will be able to use it following the next lockdown.
Classed as ‘essential retail’, we are so very thankful to be able to keep our gates open through November, and hope to welcome you safely through them soon – and over the festive period. As a business, we are really looking forward to a positive start to 2021. We certainly have lots of exciting plans in place to make it a year to remember – and for all the right reasons this time!!