Wyevale garden centres sell-off: Percy Thrower's daughter hopes future is rosy

The daughter of Shrewsbury's most famous gardener Percy Thrower has sent her best wishes to whoever buys the Wyevale chain of garden centres.

Margaret Thrower's comments came after it was revealed this week that the national chain has been put up for sale by private equity firm Terra Firma.

Terra Firma picked up the business, formerly known as The Garden Centre Group in 2012.

Wyevale has a portfolio of 145 garden centres across the UK, including one on Oteley Road in Shrewsbury on the site of what used to be the Percy Thrower's Garden Centre. Albrighton Garden Centre and Telford Garden Centre are also up for sale.

Percy Thrower opened his garden centre in 1970 and the Thrower family sold in 2000 to the Bristol-based Garden and Leisure Group.

Percy Thrower's Garden Centre. Photo: Google StreetView. Inset: Percy Thrower.

It had been originally hoped that the sale and future investment from a larger firm would allow the business to grow.

The original garden centre was demolished when Wyevale bought the business in 2012 and a new outlet was built on the site

Margaret said: "I was surprised to hear that Wyevale were looking to sell off the chain but it is no longer in our family. I hope that whoever takes it up will retain Dad's name.

"I thought Wyevale was quite a big group but I wish whoever takes it over well and wish them all the luck in the world.

"Dad used to spend every single day at the garden centre, weekends and everything. While we have nothing to do with the centre anymore and haven't done so since we sold it in 2000, I wish them well."

The sale of the Wyevale chain is being handled by Christie & Co.

Steve Rodell, managing director for retail at Christie & Co, said: “The garden centre market is vibrant and on an upwards trajectory.

“In recent years garden centres have become much more than places just to buy plants, evolving to become wider leisure and retail destinations with play centres for children, restaurants and other activities designed to improve the shopping experience.

“The sale of Wyevale Garden Centres presents a unique opportunity for a wide range of buyers from financial institutions, existing garden centre operators, independent business people and entrepreneurs to buy well invested local garden centres within the price range of £200,000 to £35 million.”

Wyevale is the largest operator of garden centres in the UK employing about 6,000. It began as a mail order nursery in 1932 before becoming one of the UK’s earliest garden centres in 1966.

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