Business & Entrepreneurs

Online shoppers keep West End Garden Centre in bloom during virus lockdown

By Ian Marland at

It was not the anniversary Martin McCarron was expecting a year after opening his garden centre in Partick.

Like pretty much every other business on the planet, the West End Garden Centre has been closed to walk-in customers.

But Martin has proved the importance of online trade during the pandemic.

Martin McCarron

Martin McCarron opened the West End Garden Centre last year.

He has managed to keep his West End customers supplied – albeit at a reduced level – via his online operation and nursery based at Carbeth.

On the way, Martin has managed to raise £2,100 for charity from the sale of old stock which he needed to move as the lockdown took hold.

Martin said: “The stock has absolutely flown – everybody has been so happy to receive plants and flowers.

“The weather has been perfect for it as well. It’s been really good gardening weather.”

When lockdown hit, Martin like so many other businesses had to quickly assess the new landscape.

‘Deliveries’

His first thought was to clear stock from the garden centre which occupies a corner site at the West of Scotland Cricket Club on Peel Street.

The proceeds raised money for the Cash For Kids charity.

But the speed at which things shifted suggested his customers were keen to tend to their gardens under restrictions at home.

He said: “In the first week of lockdown I just didn’t do anything, and I noticed there were one or two other garden centres doing deliveries.

“Somebody mentioned in the guidelines that deliveries were fine.

West End Garden Centre

Martin has years of top experience in the garden business.

“I just thought I would put it out there and see the reaction.

“It has been mental ever since.

“There is a shortage of bedding plants but we are well stocked up on other stuff.

“All the growers are sitting on acres and acres of stock.”

He said: “We are doing plant bundles – different wee collections of plants, rather than specific items.

Bundles

“If we didn’t do it that way we really would be running about like headless chickens.

“When it comes to me buying, I am being told the same by my suppliers – this is what’s available, take it or leave it almost.

“My customers have even been buying a bundle and splitting it with their neighbours.”

He said of his first year: “We were still building up the business in Partick and things were going well when coronavirus struck.

“It happened right at the busiest time of year for any garden centre.

Plants

Bundles: Indoor plants have been added to the list of stock

“But I am fortunate I have the online business at Carbeth Plants. I am fortunate I’ve still got that and it’s covering me.

“I was happy to do my bit and raise money for charity at a time when the sector is struggling.”

* Customers can check out stock and deliveries at Carbeth Plants. There is also a Facebook page and the garden centre is on Instagram.