Beetham Nurseries celebrate 30 years in business
- Credit: Archant
Beetham Nurseries near Milnthorpe is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year; established in 1984 the Plant, Garden Centre, Cafe and Food Shop is family owned and run by Stephen and Lesley Abbit who started off with a stand pipe in one of the fields, a humble polytunnel and a Portaloo.
Stephen has fond memories of their opening day ‘’ We had a few customers, locked up and left the money in a bag on the wall. Luckily a local person found it and returned it to us when we opened up the following day’’
Their passion has always been to grow the finest, most unusual plants, shrubs and trees, providing value for money and excellent customer service. Stephen said ‘’ We would have been happy to concentrate on the plant side of our business, but with the emergence of the larger garden centres, which have gift shops and tearooms, we realised that to compete we would also have to expand into these areas too’’
The Gift Shop was completed in 2005 and follows the same ethos aiming to provide exceptional quality and something a little bit different, to give customers a really enjoyable experience
The ‘old tearoom’ which could seat approximately forty people was opened in 2001 ‘’and was so successful that we were disappointing too many of our customers through lack of space’’ said Stephen, so in 2010 The Garden Cafe was launched, ‘’a bright airy space, with full length sliding glass doors to bring the outside in on those warm sunny days; a lovely covered patio adds to the outside ambience and we can now seat up to a hundred people and keep everyone happy’’. The food is all homemade from delicious local ingredients and the cakes are mouth wateringly scrumptious. The Garden Cafe has now been licensed and is a venue of choice for ladies who lunch, and many events are held there from flamboyant floral demonstrations, to talks on vegetables, bees and bonsai.
Stephen and Lesley are delighted that three of their children are well established within the Nursery; Ed is very creative and is head of Marketing, Tim handles Maintenance and loves driving heavy machinery and Lydia is a whizz in the kitchen and is now Catering Manager; gorgeous George is not involved in the Nursery at all, but from being a little boy who wore a flat cap to school he has realised his dream of being a farmer.
The latest development has been the Garden Club, which was started less than a year ago and now has in excess of 3000 members; who are all rewarded for their loyalty with points which can be redeemed against future purchases, and exclusive monthly Garden Club offers.
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When asked about future developments Stephen said ‘’we plan to further develop the plant growing area of the Nursery, perhaps with public access since it’s too lovely just to keep just to ourselves and we hope to introduce floristry and horticultural courses for small intimate groups at some point soon’’.
Beetham Nurseries is on the A6 south of Milnthorpe and can be contacted on 015395 63630.