Gordon Rigg Garden Centres in the north of England has been celebrating its 70th anniversary recently. The garden centre currently employs a 190 strong team across its two garden centres, their adjoining restaurants as well as The Bottoms Mill Shop & Cotton Weavers Café in Walsden, Todmorden.
The business was founded by the late Gordon Rigg when he was just 26 years old. When the opportunity arose to take over a quarter acre smallholding close to his home in Walsden in 1945, Gordon acquired the site and grew and sold plants, cycling round the area selling them door to door.
In 1965, Gordon acquired five acres of land next to the smallholding and gradually developed the site into more than 60,000 square feet of retail space, selling everything from indoor and outdoor plants through to garden tools, pet care products, floristry and gifts. The company acquired its second garden centre in 1988 on Rochdale’s Kingsway and opened Bottoms Mill Shop & Cotton Weavers Café in Walsden in 2002. Gordon passed away in 2004. The company is now owned and managed by Gordon’s son Peter Rigg, his wife Pauline and their children Anthony and Fiona.
Peter commented: “After 70 years it’s fantastic that Gordon Rigg continues to thrive as a business and we are still very much a family run firm that is built on the same values that formed the company’s foundations back in 1945.
“The industry has changed hugely over the years with the introduction of modern packaging making plant buying much easier and more convenient. The demise of garden greenhouses also means customers generally prefer to buy fully grown plants, complete with flowers, rather than nurturing and growing plants themselves. However, our Walsden site still operates an extensive traditional nursery, where we grow tens of thousands of plants every year, which sets us apart from many of our competitors and means we can cater for all requirements.”
He added: “The catering side of the business is continually growing and this was enhanced greatly when we opened a highly successful bistro at our Rochdale centre. Another area where we are currently investing heavily is in our online presence. We’ve recently launched our fully redeveloped mobile friendly e-commerce site that we’re continually developing and this has the potential to become another big growth area for us over the next couple of years which is hugely exciting.”