ROGER Crookes is retiring as an inspector for the Garden Centre Association (GCA) this month after 11 years in the role (July 2018).
Roger became a GCA inspector in 2007 after a career working in garden centres around the UK since 1977.
Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA, said:
“I’d like to thank Roger for all his hard work and commitment to his role. There are many highlights from his 11 years with the GCA as an inspector. We’re now also beginning the task to look for a replacement for Roger and we would love to speak to anyone interested in the post from all areas of the industry. Those wishing to find out more about the role, should contact me via email at the GCA so they can ensure we get full details sent out to them. We wish to continue the good work carried out by Roger along with our team of inspectors, helping to ensure consistency and raising standards throughout our membership. We view this very much as an opportunity to ensure that we have an on-going solid team of inspectors who have insight into the market and new retailing ideas to help our members develop and face the challenges of the future in a positive way.”
In 1980, Roger began his ongoing involvement with the GCA when working in member centres. He was on the receiving end of his first GCA inspection, in its earliest format, in that year and he says it was a key moment in his career.
“I remember feeling frustrated that we hadn’t got some of the ‘retail details’ finished in time for the inspector, but that everything he said made sense and I felt motivated to keep on improving … nearly 40 years on I am still working on that! I am still amazed that members have allowed me to go into their garden centres for the past 11 years and assess all that they are achieving, I am very lucky to have been in the role. It has been good to see the whole inspection process become even more accessible to shop floor staff – with the development of the regional summer feedback events and the pre-season roadshows, which are packed with ideas and inspiration for staff to see and develop in their own unique way back in their centres. I plan to continue my work as a freelance consultant within the UK garden retail trade and also supporting school gardening projects, with some exciting projects already lined up nearer to my home in South Wales. Hopefully I can continue to be of some service to GCA members in the years to come, I just need to focus more of my time on other projects for the next few years.”
The main purpose of the role of inspector is to visit member’s sites to assess standards and give feedback.
“Our ideal candidate to replace Roger would need to visit member centres during the spring inspection window and be able to give objective and honest feedback on what they find. They will need to produce reports and provide ideas for improving standards. As well as make presentations at our annual conference and regional meetings. It is a very interesting and unique role for anyone in the industry.”
The GCA represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide.
Through sharing information and its inspection programme it helps members to achieve high standards in customer service, plant quality and reliability.