Kelways Plants, one of the oldest nurseries in the UK, based in Langport Somerset has just opened a new retail shop in the heart of the market town. “The Undercroft” as it is known is a Grade II listed building forming the ground floor of Langport GuildHall, dating back to the 18th century.
“Each day I drove past this beautiful but empty old building I thought to myself that it would make a marvellous garden shop” said Dave Root, Kelways Managing Director. “Langport is a hidden gem on the Somerset Levels, and whilst it is seemingly in the middle of nowhere; its actually at the epicentre of nearby Taunton, Yeovil, Bridgwater, and Street. Its an up and coming place to visit with all sorts of artisan shops and places to eat. We hope that our new shop will add an additional feature to the town.”
“Kelways Garden Produce” will be open 6 days a week and will sell a wide range of fruit and vegetables; seasonal and locally grown wherever possible. There will also be a selection of fresh cut flowers and posies, as well as a tempting selection of flowering pot plants and garden plants from the nursery. In charge, and full of energy is Carolyn Penman who is bursting with enthusiasm for this new venture. “We have already had such lovely comments from customers, and the other traders in Langport have really made us feel welcome!” she exclaims.
The new shop will run alongside Kelways established Plant Centre on the edge of Langport, from where the Mail Order Business is based as well as the nursery, which grows plants for both sides of the business, as well as contract growing for projects such as the Walkie Talkie Sky Garden in London, and various sites in the prestigious new Kings Cross Development.
“Its vital that a small independent seasonal business like us has several income streams to help maintain a healthy cash flow” says Dave, “But on a more personal level, it is such a joy to try out new ideas.”
Whilst Greengrocery is a new retail venture for Kelways, it is in fact entirely appropriate to the business, since back in the 1920’s, Kelways was one of the largest breeders and producers of
vegetable seed in the world, and over 200 acres of land around Langport was devoted to their production. Over 1000 types of vegetable cultivars were bred at the nursery. “Its gone full circle!” grinned Dave.