Bents Garden & Home has been announced as the winner of the GCA’s Destination Garden Centre of the Year 2023 award, a title which recognises Bents as being the best large garden centre in the UK.
Bents were presented with the title by the Garden Centre Association (GCA) at a prestigious award ceremony held in Blackburn, and following an intensive annual audit, which records scores from over 200 garden centres throughout the UK.
It is the seventh time Bents has held the award, which recognises quality standards throughout the Centre, not only of products and departments, but also people and services. The annual audit is a pre-requisite to membership of the GCA, and takes place with no prior notice, ensuring standards remain high throughout the year.
Matthew Bent, MD of Bents Garden & Home commented: “There are many awards available within our industry, but this really is the big one. It is not one that requires a written submission or entry fee; instead the audit is something that is a fundamental requirement of our membership of the GCA.
“We have a great family of colleagues who work extremely hard at all times and this award is a fantastic way to thank them for all their input, especially after what have been a challenging few years.”
Bents received a spot visit by the GCA auditors in spring 2022 and recorded one of the top scores in the country, which saw them awarded Best Garden Centre in the North West. The Centre then received a further spot check in the autumn to be re-audited resulting in the UK’s highest result and presentation of the prestigious industry award.
Amongst the categories to be acknowledged by the audit were the Centre’s product range and quality, disabled facilities, sustainability, Garden Care department, Fresh Approach Restaurant, houseplants and seasonal plants
Tammy Woodhouse from the GCA said: “The GCA audit and subsequent awards are extremely important within the industry. Centres don’t pay to enter or put themselves forward; our members are all visited by our inspectors with no prior knowledge of the exact date so we can ensure standards remain high at all times.
“We are delighted for Bents. It is a fantastic achievement and even more impressive when up against such strong competition.”
The award also sees Bents being acknowledged as a Garden Centre of Excellence, one of only 10 in the country.