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Garden centres want fresh produce, but it’s not easy

The Dutch municipality of Duiven wants garden centre Intratuin to close its fruit and vegetable shop within six weeks. If they don’t, the garden centre will be forced to pay penalties amounting to 5,000 euro per week. The garden centre wants to keep De Groentetuin, as the sales outlet is called. “It’s doing well,” according to the owner. A fresh produce stall near or in garden centres as a shop-in-shop concept, there already are some initiatives. It’s a desired combination, although it’s not easy.

De Groentetuin of Intratuin Duiven has to close within six weeks, photo: Breddels Architecten.

This type of blurring as a concept should fit into the zoning plan of the municipality. The municipality of Duiven obstructs retail sale outside of the town centres, and they don’t want “supermarkets to establish themselves on the periphery of the town, like in France.” The municipality of Duiven allows Intratuin to carry an additional assortment, the zoning plan allows for 50 square metres of regional products. According to the municipality, the fruit and vegetable shop of the garden centre concerned is too big, and they also sell coconuts, which cannot possibly be a regional product.

Traders who do business at, near and with garden centres have indicated they haven’t (yet) had problems from municipalities in which they are active. Additionally, no complaints have been received yet of entrepreneurs who experience the fresh produce trade in garden centres as competitive. The traders have noticed that garden centres are interested in fresh produce as an expansion of their assortment.

However, setting up a successful fresh produce trade from a garden centre isn’t easy. You have to be able to anticipate impulse purchases and you have to offer quality. Garden centres, however, have a warm indoor climate, which isn’t great for fresh produce. The right location and a good cooperation with the garden centre owner, municipality and fresh produce trader are therefore needed to make the concept a success.

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