Basingstoke Garden Centre have spoken out about the highs and lows of having to shut during peak time as a result of the Covid outbreak.

Commercial manager, Charlie Laver, and one of the owners, Sean Spokes, purchased Dummer Garden Centre from Wyevale in August 2019, with the hope of making their mark as novices in the garden industry.

The company owns two garden centres in Basingstoke and Par as well as 160 aquatic stores nationwide.

Reflecting on the setbacks faced at the start of the pandemic, Mr Spokes said: "It's been a difficult time and we were closed for about five weeks.

Basingstoke Gazette: Inside Basingstoke Garden CentreInside Basingstoke Garden Centre

"But once we opened up in May, it went way past our expectations.

"Closing at our peak was the worst as April to June is our busiest time and that's where we make our money for the year."

Speaking about their vision of the garden centre, Sean Spokes said: "We want to be a local garden centre that sells good quality plants rather than a department store that sells plants.

"We want to bring the standards up and refurbish the site.

"We want to refit the aquatics and expand the car park and put in more concessions, like sheds and hot tubs."

Basingstoke Gazette: The aquatics centre inside Basingstoke Garden CentreThe aquatics centre inside Basingstoke Garden Centre

Basingstoke Garden Centre has benefited from opening earlier than other stores, and experienced a "boom in sales" when they first reopened.

"People have been indoors for two or three months and not had anything to do, and want to get out and do something with their gardens.

"As a result of people flocking to our garden centre, our figures doubled in the first week of opening compared to our competitors.

"Our business was booming and we have been able to survive the pandemic so far," Mr Laver said.