Furness garden centre boss goes back to roots

HANDS ON: Marc Charnley, left, tackles a project with partner Stuart Park

HANDS ON: Marc Charnley, left, tackles a project with partner Stuart Park

First published in News

A GARDEN centre boss who branched out into running a café, a restaurant and a children's play centre is going back to his roots.

Marc Charnley has spent 15 years building up and diversifying Crooklands of Dalton into a popular retail outlet in Furness.

Now he's picking back up his shovel to launch a new landscaping business with business partner Stuart Park.

Mr Charnley said: “Landscaping is what we used to do years ago but then we opened the café and the shop. We had to put our resources into that.

"Now it's all basically complete after a 15-year building project. It's been hard work but we now know we won't be building anything else. “With the garden centre we do get people asking us about landscape gardeners and whether we can recommend someone.

"If we're going to put our name to it we have to get it right so I thought we should launch a landscaping business ourselves."

Crooklands will have the advantage of letting customers walk around its Dalton base to get design ideas and select materials before Mr Charnley and his team get on site.

While Mr Charnley gets back to his roots he says he is leaving ‘competent staff running things’ at Crooklands of Dalton, which also includes a furniture showroom, a function room for special events and a fully functioning restaurant, not to mention a separate café and gift shop.

The latest addition, a new children's play centre called Planet Play, has proved a big hit after being imported from Portugal at a cost of £250,000. It's a huge leap from where Marc and his dad, Llewellyn, started.

They kept milk cows and goats at Low Ghyll Farm, Kirkby-in-Furness. Mr Charnley said: "It's five or six businesses in one so it keeps us busy. They all do link in with each other so it's fine, but that's it now, there won't be any more expansion.

"I'm looking forward to the landscaping business because I prefer to be more hands on."

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