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Coronavirus Kent: Millbrook closes garden centres in Gravesend and Staplehurst

The managing director of a closed garden centre business says it's likely the firm would have made £150,000 at the weekend.

Last week Millbrook, which has sites in Staplehurst and Southfleet, announced it was shutting down for the foreseeable future.

Millbrook Garden Centre, Southfleet
Millbrook Garden Centre, Southfleet

Speaking today, Tammy Woodhouse said the warm weather would have meant a boom in spring-time trade.

And she added that a decent Easter this coming weekend could have seen takings up to £300,000.

The 41-year-old family firm employs 100 people at Southfleet, 30 at Staplehurst and another 30 in Crowhurst, East Sussex.

Bosses had initially hoped to operate online with home deliveries but decided to close because they were worried about their staff.

The 160 employees across the three sites have now been placed on furlough leave.

Tammy Woodhouse, of Millbrook Garden Centres
Tammy Woodhouse, of Millbrook Garden Centres

The coronavirus emergency could not have come at a worse time for the company, or the 2,000 other UK centres and nurseries to close temporarily.

Tammy explained how a large percentage of their stock is perishable and the supply chain is now facing massive problems.

For example, growers are unable to dispatch their goods to create space to make more.

Although unable to work, all employees are on the government's job retention scheme.

Millbrook Garden Centre. Picture: Google Images
Millbrook Garden Centre. Picture: Google Images

Tammy says the company is talking with its bank as its tries to weather the storm.

And she is hoping for more government support for the industry.

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