Thaxters Garden Centre, Dersingham
From modest beginnings in a small shop beside the old coast road at Dersingham, R.H.Thaxter Ltd has grown into a large and attractive garden centre, a village supermarket and a coffee shop at the heart of the village.Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, its a family business, started by Ron and Celia Thaxter, that is into its second and third generations.Today, the directors are sons Richard (managing director) and Peter, together with Richard's wife, Edna, who is company secretary, their son, James, and Ron's brother, Jack. The garden centre is probably the largest of its kind in W.Norfolk and offers a wide range of plants, shrubs and trees, all at competitive prices.
The business occupies a prominent site with good car parking at Hunstanton Road, in marked contrast to the beginning in the early 1950a from one room in a house beside the coast road, which ran through the middle of Dersingham before the building of the by-pass.
The business was started by Ron Thaxter, who ran a nursery on the opposite side of the road to the present site, growing tomatoes, cucumbers and bulbs. His in-laws, Mr and Mrs George Tompkins, offered Ron and his wife, Celia, the use of a room in their house, because the house was too big for them.
The Thaxters started off selling general groceries, as well as produce from he greenhouses on their nurseries. At weekends in the summer months, they would often stay open to 11.30pm and midnight to get the busy passing trade of people on the way to the coastal resorts, and initially, much of the business was seasonal.
As the shop business grew, produce was bought in rather than grown on the nursery, and the greenhouses fell into disrepair and were taken down in the 1970s. From cucumbers, tomatoes and bulbs, the business gradually diversified into rose bushes and other garden products.
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