Baytree Garden Centre in Weston gets ready for Christmas with decorations, trees and reindeer
Staff are getting in the festive spirit as Baytree Garden Centre in Weston kicks off its Christmas preparations.
There are reindeer on site, decorations and trees aplenty, and the centre’s signature grotto is set to open its doors next month.
Mark Elliott, a key figure at Baytree, says that after a challenging time last winter, there is an emphasis on giving people as good a Christmas as possible.
“We’ve built Christmas up since Baytree started, but now it is an attraction in its own right,” he said.
“I believe that for the majority of people, their first interaction with Baytree is as a child when they’re brought by their parents.
“We have reindeer on site, so the children can go and see Santa and then come and see our herd, which are kept locally.”
Baytree celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, and Mr Elliott says the festive period makes up just one part of their business model.
“It’s a garden centre where there’s always something happening. There’s always something new being put in, there are always fresh ideas,” he said.
“Christmas is such a big thing for us. It’s that first experience that brings people back as adults to then buy their plants, their compost, so it’s a great introduction to ourselves.
“We find year on year that children will come in and buy their first Christmas decoration or bauble, which then gets hung on their tree for the rest of their lives.”
The garden centre’s buying team travel abroad early in the year to stock up for the following December’s sales, visiting huge markets in Europe to ensure they have the best stock possible.
Highlights from this year’s shelves include Christmas tree lights which can be connected to a smartphone and customised at the user’s fingertips.
A number of exciting plans are in place for the coming months, including a visit from local opera singer PavaNotti.
“It’s such a lovely atmosphere when Santa is in, when our reindeer are in, when we have our carol singers. We’ve got several Christas concerts planned this year,” said Mr Elliott.
“It’s a wonderful place to be, and I love seeing people when they first come into our Christmas department. It’s inspiring.
“I’m a big kid at heart. I’ve always loved Christmas.”