Granite Transformations, has extended its nationwide retail presence with the opening of four new showrooms in the first half of 2011. Two are in conservation areas, in Stamford, Lincolnshire and historic Bath; another is in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, while the fourth sets the standard for a new style of in-store concession, at Notcutts Wheatcroft Garden Centre in Edwalton, near Nottingham.

In Bath, entrepreneur Tim Hegarty has added to two existing sites in Bristol, with a boutique-style showroom on the busy London Road. The Whitwood family, father Malcolm and sons Oliver and Tom, have extended their Anglia sales territory in St Ives to complement their Norwich store.

Nottinghamshire businessman Ian Floyde has expanded to Stamford with a period-fronted new showroom, at the same time benefiting from the agreeable surroundings and footfall at Wheatcroft, with a substantial concession site.

The latter is inside the main building, close to the checkouts, and is permanently staffed, with Ian Floyde saying it is already generating as much custom as a regular high street showroom.

Granite Transformations UK franchise chief, Danny Hanlon said: “This is the biggest garden centre concession in our UK network and we are now putting it forward as a model for start-up franchises and existing franchise owners looking to open additional showroom locations. There is no shop lease to sign, lower legal fees and less fit-out or signage costs, leading to a substantially reduced initial investment.”

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