The Rising Stars 2014 Programme has got off to a great start with the first Masterclass held at Westland Horticulture’s Merchandising Lab in Peterborough.
Garden centre staff attended the first Masterclass delivered by IBBIS facilitator Ian Boardman, which gave hints and tips on how to increase sales and profits from every square metre in their garden centres and more importantly, how to ensure that customers have a great experience each time they visit. The Rising Stars must now put the merchandising tips they were taught into practice and measure the impact, ready for the next Masterclass in June.
The programme, run by Westland Horticulture and the Garden Centre Association (GCA) is now in its sixth year and has been hugely successful to date, welcomed by the industry and participants alike.
This year a total of 28 people will take part and ultimately one will achieve the title of Rising Star of 2014.
There will be three Masterclasses held throughout the year in which participants will be given extensive coaching and mentoring in different aspects of retail merchandising. After the first two Masterclasses, the most successful participants will be taken through to the next round.
Marketing director for Westland Horticulture Keith Nicholson said: “The Rising Stars Programme is all about developing the talent in the garden centre industry for its continued success. The Rising Stars that we saw this week were bright, passionate and really committed to their future success. This was clear in the lengths they were willing to travel to attend the event, in some cases as far as Scotland and Cornwall! I hope they enjoyed their day and are looking forward to putting into practice all they learnt.”
Chief executive of the GCA Iain Wylie said: “It was clear from the enthusiasm and knowledge displayed at this week’s Masterclass that we’ve got a fantastic calibre of participants from GCA members’ centres this year, so competition will be tough from the off.”
In a twist for 2014, the five most successful applicants from the year will attend the GCA Conference in Chester in January, where they will make a presentation on what they have achieved over the year.
A winner will then be chosen by conference delegates before being presented with his or her prize at the GCA’s annual gala dinner on Tuesday 27 January 2015.