Addressing the meeting, Sam Bosworth, who was re-elected as Chairman for a further 12 months, told members that despite a slow start to the season, Group turnover had increased by around 8% year on year. He said that this had demonstrated the benefits and importance of members working together for the common good. He also thanked their key suppliers for their support in what had been a challenging year.
Choice is firmly committed to its key suppliers and although the 34 Centres are independently owned, members speak with one voice in their relationships with the suppliers and the industry at large. Each member has their own, individually personalised marketing programme, organised by Choice Marketing which ensures that carefully targeted campaigns are co-ordinated with supplier’s own marketing activity to maximise sales results. Choice members fund all the overheads of the operation which means that every single penny from supplier rebates goes back to the members.
Members are looking forward to a successful close to 2013 and reported that Christmas had got off to a promising start with most Centres achieving sales increases of between 19% and 73% compared to the same period last year. Several Centres have cooperated on container deals from the Far East.
A new addition to the board is Mark Winchester of Blackbrooks Garden Centre at Hastings. Commenting on his election Mark said “I joined Choice 3 years ago and the benefits I have received in terms of friendship, networking, marketing support and enhanced purchasing power have been enormous. The assistance from our suppliers has transformed our in-store presence.”
Choice Marketing has had a freeze on new membership for the last 12 months but is now in a position to consider applications from like minded Garden Centres who are prepared to commit to the Choice philosophy of strict adherence to the cooperative purchasing and marketing plans in return for cost effective professional marketing services and greatly enhanced purchasing power.