Since it was established over 50 years ago as a plant nursery, Whitegates Nursery has steadily increased its focus on retail to now employ over 30 staff, whilst still being very much a family-run independent, proud of its heritage and unique identity.
To continue to grow, Whitegates needed to hold its own against local competition – especially that from the big chains – without losing the point of difference that makes it special to the family and its customers alike.
Newspan understood the brief, and supported Jonathan and Claire Grainge (the owners) in developing a bold scheme that made a really strong and distinctive first impression, while retaining its individuality and personality.
Jonathan Grainge is the third generation to come into the family business and speaks passionately about the development’s objectives . “Newspan’s new building was just what we were looking for to create a striking, stand-out visual identity. Our background as a nursery meant we weren’t used to the best weatherproofing; the new building is superb. It’s the perfect environment for a much wider range of stock, and the space vacated in the café now we’ve moved the retail means we can seat up 80 people, as opposed to just 25 before.”
From the outset, it was clear that there was a lot of common ground between the two companies’ values, with Jonathan pleasantly surprised by how easy we are to work with, despite the geographical distance between West Rounton and Southampton! “Communication was always really good,” Jonathan confirms. “Newspan’s price was competitive, but not at the expense of flexibility; they were really accommodating throughout. Not too ‘corporate’ for us in any way!
“I’d go so far as to say the guys on site were excellent too. We undertook some of the associated works ourselves and they couldn’t have been more obliging or amenable to integrating with our schedule. Even in the most appalling weather, with heavy snow disrupting everything, the handover was on time and on budget.
“We started using the building in March 2018 to an incredibly positive response from customers, who have particularly praised how well it sits within the local countryside. We are up 50% in the first six weeks, even with the poor weather!
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the development and would have no hesitation in using Newspan again; the new building has delivered everything we were hoping for and they couldn’t have been more helpful.”