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Santander goes the extra mile to help garden centre business flourish
Haskins Garden Centres needed funding to achieve their growth plans. Santander Corporate & Commercial’s responsive approach allowed them to do just that.
- Company turnover: Over £30 million
- Sector: Retail – garden centres
- Because the Santander Relationship Director invested time and effort in becoming familiar with the company and its plans, he was then able to move quickly when needed.
- Ten months after completion, Haskins is ahead of budget on sales and profits despite the difficult economic environment.
- The expansion has created more jobs and Haskins has also improved the local environment by investing in landscaping around the site.
- One member of the Santander team even joined the Horticultural Society!
Haskins Garden Centres is a family-run company with a passion for horticulture and a modern, efficient business model. Chairman Warren Haskins pioneered the vision of a garden centre as a retail and leisure destination, which has brought the company greater profitability: it now operates four sites and employs 600 people, with half working in each of the centre’s large restaurants.
In 2010, Haskins decided that a major expansion of its site in West Sussex was needed in order to achieve further growth. The senior management team was keen to review the company’s existing loan arrangements and find the right bank to provide the necessary funds: a bank that would take the time to listen, learn about Haskins and offer support where needed.
A quick turnaround
Haskins chose Santander Corporate & Commercial, impressed with its commitment to truly understanding the business and its people. Santander was instrumental in developing the business plan and green-lighted the loan within three months of the first meeting – a very quick turnaround for such a big, complex project.
Overcoming the unexpected
Work on the site began, but a wet Spring and other unexpected problems meant that Haskins needed more funds to complete the expansion. Thanks to his intimate knowledge of the company, the Santander Relationship Director was able to take a pragmatic, flexible approach and provide the extra funding. Haskins opened the new site on schedule in 2012.
“When we went out to tender there was one bank that stood out in terms of listening and trying to find out how they could really help us as a business. And that was Santander,” says Haskins CEO Julian Winfield. “They show genuine interest in our company and our staff, and that’s important to us.”