The gardening and landscape industry has seen an exponential boom post-pandemic.
Co-owner of Centrascape garden centre Chandra Beharry said the pandemic proved challenging but also offered new opportunities for growth.
Speaking with Business Day in an interview on Monday, Beharry said, “At a time when everyone was indoors, Centrascape brought the outdoors to you. The covid19 pandemic forced us to alter our business model and adapt to the changing landscape. During the lockdown, we started selling ornamental plants and herbs at a few local grocery stores. The plants also included a care guide.”
She added that this allowed the business to remain connected with their clientèle and create a niche in the existing market.
Centrascape started as a small nursery by her and her husband 31 years ago.
“My husband and I both had full time jobs, this was our sideline business. I would take plant cuttings, propagate and sell them. While my husband would do landscaping,” she said.
She described how her family turned a hobby into a flourishing business.
In October 1992, they took a small loan from the Agricultural Development Bank of $50,000 and decided to open a plant shop in Chaguanas.
She highlighted that they took a gamble at a time when people never indulged in plant buying, as it was usually a neighbour to neighbour exchange.
Beharry said, “Our love for plants and agriculture has been the guiding principle in the growth and success of our business.”
In August 2022, Centrascape relocated to Carlsen field, after spending over 25years at the mid-centre mall in Chaguanas.
Nestled within the lush greenery of Carlsen field, Centrascape offers a tranquil environment with a wide variety of ornamental plants, fruit trees, shrubs, palms, herbs, finished products and fresh produce.
“We currently grow a number of vegetables such as cucumbers and bodi. Soon we will offer pimento peppers, sweet peppers and other fresh produce for daily consumption,” she said.
As the garden centre approaches its one-year mark at their new location, Centrascape already has its sight set on adding new products and services.
Beharry said the aim is to leave customers with a wholesome experience.
The garden centre is a one-stop-shop for all planting supplies. This includes small tools, trellises, pebbles, compost, landscaping materials, environmentally friendly pesticides and pots.
“We have also added an animal petting zone with rabbits, chickens and birds. This is something for the children when they visit with their family,” she said.
Beharry added that while they continue to operate as a traditional nursery, they are looking to add beverages and small food items on weekends which will tie into their goal of creating a wholesome experience.
Centrascape also offers landscaping services for residential and commercial purposes as well as bulk-buying of plants for wholesalers.
The garden centre is open Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 4.30 pm and Sundays/Public Holiday from 8 am to 2.30 pm.
“The expansion of the gardening and landscaping industry has made it very competitive,” she said.
Beharry noted that Centrascape tries to remain competitive by offering quality and quantity at an affordable price. The garden centre offers plants as low as $10 while their fruit trees start at $130.
“We strive on quality, our quality surpasses a lot. This is because our plants are acclimatised. For example, you can buy one of our fruit trees and leave it in the bag for a couple of weeks without it dying. This is because of how we re-pot it, the speciality manure we use and the overall quality we offer,” she added.