A wet and gloomy Thursday in early March... Doesn’t sound too exciting, does it? Well, for us here at GardenSite, it most definitely was a day to remember! Thursday, 3 March 2022 marked our first in-person supplier visit post-Covid (after 2 long years of strict Zoom and Skype calls only!). Partner, David Coton, and Customer Care Team Leader, Gaby Hall, took the 2-hour drive from the GardenSite Headquarters in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham to Wardle, Cheshire to visit Rowlinson’s site and have a long overdue catch up with Sales Director, Peter Woolley. On the agenda was discussing annual sales figures and ways to further improve our long-standing business relationship for the 2022 season.

The Sat Nav merrily announced that we had arrived, however, there was still a long road ahead of us before reaching the main entrance, which was a journey in itself! We passed several enormous warehouses and outbuildings around each and every turn and soon came to realise that the company is distributed over more than 5 acres of land - a stark reminder of just how vast (and impressive!) their operation really is.

We were welcomed out of the rain and into the warm Reception by Sales Director, Peter Woolley and shortly afterward were joined by Managing Director, Charles Firth. We were taken on a quick tour of the main offices and soon learned that there are over 300 staff who work on-site at any one time. Regrettably, we did not manage to meet everyone (as much as we would have loved to!), however, we were delighted to put some faces to names for those colleagues that we had not met in person before, notably Linzi Cross from Customer Services and Lucy Forbes and Chris Ullmer from Marketing. We took this opportunity to discuss potential social media collaborations and opportunities to work together digitally in the near future.

Rowlinson products boxed and stacked up in a warehouse.
Rowlinson products boxed and stacked up in their warehouse.

The warehouse.

After a quick coffee, we donned our hi-vis jackets and took a walk around some of the warehouses to learn more about their production. We were pleased to see piles upon piles of new stock stacked all the way up to the ceiling and ready to be sent out to customers. It was great to witness production back in full swing after the challenges that all businesses had to endure during Covid, most notably the extreme slowing of manufacture due to social distancing and enormous delays to overseas transportation due to the closing of borders and rising costs of timber that were felt all around the world. We also cast our eye over a small area dedicated to spare parts for those situations where replacements may be required.

Inside view of the a Rowlinson GP warehouse.
Inside view of the a Rowlinson GP warehouse.

No materials go to waste! Spare bits of timber are recycled to be used in other facets of production

We decided to brave the rain and go outside to check out how some of their larger items, such as log cabins, are packaged for home delivery. Peter Woolley commented on how they are spaced out and stacked effectively to ensure no damage is caused prior to being picked for delivery.

David Coton is impressed with the quality of packaging materials used to ensure the safe transportation of bulkier items all over the UK.

David Coton standing next to some Rowlinson products awaiting to be delivered.
David Coton standing next to some Rowlinson products awaiting to be delivered.

Lastly, we were excited to see a few new up-and-coming products in the pipeline, including playhouses, furniture sets, and canopies. Mr Woolley explained their goals and aspirations for the coming months and there was a general air of optimism that things were really starting to get back on track after an unprecedented 2 years - just in time for the spring season as the weather gets warmer and more people to turn their thoughts to their garden.

It is always a privilege to visit our valued suppliers and speak with colleagues face-to-face rather than just over the phone or email, and we are looking forward to the continuation of easing of restrictions which will allow us to schedule these important meetings into our work diaries with more frequency!

We are confident in the quality and finish of all Rowlinson products that we sell and believe that they are the perfect choice to enhance any outdoor space. Click here to view our range.