50-year business forced to close

By Don Farmer -
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HARD TIMES: Katrina McGillicuddy outside the garden centre she and her husband Shaun are closing. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA.
HARD TIMES: Katrina McGillicuddy outside the garden centre she and her husband Shaun are closing. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA.

One of the oldest established garden centres in Wairarapa is closing its doors at the end of the year due in large part, according to owners Katrina and Shaun McGillicuddy, to not being able to convince landlords of the need for a long lease extension.

Mr McGillicuddy said Home & Hozed Greenworld on the corner of Queen St and Bruce St would close after more than 50 years in business, nine of those being under the couple's management.

He said after seven years in the business he and his wife had decided they wanted a change and put the business on the market.

Bayleys Wairarapa had succeeded in finding potential buyers and the McGillicuddys had two offers on the table.

"When they saw the lease was due to expire in June 2015 they wanted to be guaranteed a longer lease but in November last year when I went to the leaseholder, Masterton Trust lands Trust, I was advised through their lawyer that on the expiry of the current lease it would go to month-to-month."

Mr McGillicuddy said that notification had "effectively destroyed the business" and led to both potential buyers losing interest.

He said although June 2015 might seem a long way off he had to close up the business sooner because the garden centre relied on ordering from its suppliers well in advance of seasonal needs and also had to allow for the carrying over of items such as large trees that might not sell in any one season.

"You really must have a minimum lease of three years," he said. Mr McGillicuddy said that in October, long after the disappearance of potential buyers, the trust had been back to him and his wife offering better lease terms but by then "we had moved on". They will close the business and concentrate on their contract work for New Zealand Post along with running a circular distribution business.

Mr McGillicuddy said the trust had agreed to allow them to quit the current lease early, with the lease now expiring on January 31.

Apart from lease problems he said the financial climate hadn't helped the business either.

"There is money out there, but it's old money and they don't spend it."

Mr McGillicuddy said it was not "just Joe Public" who had financially impacted on the business.

"A lot of our product suppliers have gone, in fact they have halved since we took over the garden centre."

The garden centre that became Home and Hozed Greenworld was started by Jack Wallis in the 1950s and its owners since have included Henry and Dorothy Carle, Dick and Trish Newcombe and Rod and Fleur Gully.

Times-Age gardening columnist Gareth Winter worked at the garden centre for 10 years.

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