I have managed the business since day one, in February 1998, and work alongside Mum (Chris), who manages our Food Hall, Dad (Pip), and younger brother (Charlie), who carry out all our building work, plus the never ending list of repair and maintenance jobs!
In 1959, my Grandfather, Herbert Plumbly, bought Hollies Farm at Clifton, Ashbourne, now the site of Fairways Garden Centre. On his retirement, in 1978, my family moved to the farm. Dad ran his own civil engineering firm, Midroads Ltd, from the farm and then in 1981 we opened a ‘Pick Your Own Fruit’ farm, selling strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and red & blackcurrants. Our fruit farm was very much a family affair and as children my sister, brother and I spent most of our summers picking fruit, serving customers or directing cars into the car park!!
In about 1994, Dad had the idea to open a Garden Centre and in 1998 his idea came to fruition. Fairways Garden Centre, named as we are next to the Golf Club and because that was as far as our imagination stretched, opened in February 1998, with one glasshouse and a small outdoor plant area.
Plant Area… Before work began!! – 1995 Plant Area on opening – 1998
As many of our loyal customers know, each year has seen some sort of development or extension. Most of this work has been carried out ourselves by Dad and brother Charlie, who joined the business in 2005.
In February 2008, we purchased the former Macclesfield Garden Centre and over the course of 2 years completely redeveloped the site. Our Manager from Ashbourne, Nick Riley, moved up with his family to Macclesfield and now oversees the day to day running of this site for us.
We have recently purchased the site of a former Garden Centre between Coventry and Rugby, with the intention of redeveloping it into Fairways 3! There’s quite a bit of work to do before we get there, of course, so keep watching this space!
Director & General Manager