Alfords Garden Centre put on the market
A GARDEN centre has been put on the market – with the potential for it to become a major retail park or housing development.
Alfords Garden Centre, opposite Morrisons, in Grimsby Road, Laceby, has gone on the market with Scotts Property, putting the jobs of 25 people employed there at risk.
There is no guide price and it has been advertised as a "thriving" business or a "retail and residential development opportunity" for potential buyers.
Ed Chisolm, at Scotts, said: "I can see it being of interest to national retailers as it is on the edge of town, surrounded by some affluent villages and opposite Morrisons on the A46, so there will be a lot of passing traffic.
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"The owner would prefer it to be a continuing interest, but as agents it is also our job to seek the best offer, which could well be from a retailer, given its ideal location."
The garden centre and nursery sit on 2.85 acres and planning permission has already been granted to extend the busy coffee shop by 1,000 sq ft, and to either extend the five-bedroom bungalow on the site or knock it down.
On Friday, owners Peter and Dee Skiba told the 25 staff members that they were retiring after 19 years of running the business, building it up from a small nursery and florist to the large garden centre, nursery and café it is today.
Dee said they would "prefer" the new owner to take on the garden centre, which could be managed by current staff – but they will not rule out other options.
She said: "When you have run something for 19 years it becomes your baby and you want to see it develop into maturity, but Peter and I feel we have taken it as far as we can.
"I would like to see someone develop it further, but money is always a factor and if we get a tempting enough offer to turn it into something else, we will consider it."
The centre has sponsored Cleethorpes In Bloom, been a meeting place for many charity groups, and the couple live in a bungalow on the site.
The couple, who celebrated 30 years of marriage last month, will move to a house that is being built in Ashby-cum-Fenby and hope to rekindle their love in retirement.
Dee said: "We have had some great times here, but have worked very hard and barely see each other because we run different sides of the business. We have reached the stage in our lives now where we want to enjoy life and enjoy each other."
However, Dee assured customers that it was "business as usual" until a sale has been finalised – which is likely to take months.
"Right now, our main priority is Christmas," she said.
For further information, call Mr Chisholm at Scotts on 01472 267000.