HOW does your garden grow? It’s a case of ‘how does your business grow?’ for nursery-owner David Burton.
After owning Midhurst’s Rotherhill Nurseries for 30 years, David said: “I always say that nurseries are recession-proof, but they’re not weather-proof.
“Our business was still growing, but we realised we needed to tap into a new market to ensure Rotherhill Nurseries remains the destination garden centre it has always been.”
Bad weather affects nurseries in the same way as other retail outlets, and Rotherhill Nurseries has felt the impact of two consecutive poor summers.
For some time, Mr Burton had felt the need to cater more for the local over-50s market – who have the time and interest to visit the centre, but may also want to enjoy a cup of coffee.
So the idea for The Glasshouse was born, a coffee shop within a glasshouse in keeping with the aesthetics of the surrounding working nursery.
Mr Burton worked with Simon Suter, at NatWest’s Chichester commercial office, to secure the funding for the new project.
The coffee shop will offer a carefully-planned menu, including top-quality, fresh sandwiches and soups, using locally-sourced products.
Minimising the carbon footprint is also key and Mr Burton has purposefully opted for a supplier providing locally-roasted coffee. Home-made bakery goods are supplied by an artisan baker in nearby Cocking.
“Working with NatWest has allowed us to diversify our business in a way that stays true to Rotherhill Nurseries’ values and building our core plant business,” said Mr Burton.
He founded the independent nurseries and garden centre 30 years ago, and runs it very much as a family business, with his wife Ann and children, Jemma and Michael.
A third-generation horticulturalist, Mr Burton has built the grower retail business around producing high-quality plants, and will continue to run his nursery.