Oak’s business is blooming

The Fixer Alex Polizz being filmed at Oak Garden Centre, London Road, Chatteris'Lynn White and David White
The Fixer Alex Polizz being filmed at Oak Garden Centre, London Road, Chatteris'Lynn White and David White

The people of Fenland were able to witness the struggle of one Chatteris company to pull itself back from the brink after the BBC Two show ‘The Fixer’ aired last week.

TV presenter Alex Polizzi travelled to Oak Garden Centre in Chatteris to help the family-run company get back on track and viewers were able to see the show for the first time on Tuesday.

Former owner David White and his son Ross were not seeing eye-to-eye over the business, which had gone into liquidation. Ross took over the reins, rebranding and starting afresh.

But Alex Polizzi still saw evidence of the old business everywhere when she first arrived at the garden centre and made a concerted effort to get the family past their differences and working together for the benefit of the business.

Her efforts paid off and the garden centre pulled off a successful winter market in January, unveiling the new-look business.

When the cameras returned a month later, the positive changes were continuing.

David said: “There have definitely been some new faces around and an increase in footfall. There’s a new feel about it. We have just tried to change as much as we can.”

Viewers saw Ross leave Oak Garden Centre to take another job, leaving brother Brad to take over the running of the business. It appeared to be a good move and Ross’ relationship with his father improved.

Gregory Newstead, online sales manager at Oak Garden Centre, said there had been a really good reaction to the programme.

“The show looked good and there were no bad reactions. We’ve had all good feedback, with many people telling us they cried when they watched it,” he said.

And Alex’s advice seems to still be working, three months after she was last at the garden centre.

“Footfall has picked up since we filmed the programme and carried on very well. We’ve had thousands of hits on our website and our name is getting out there.”

Following the success of the winter market, Oak Garden Centre is holding an Easter market on Bank Holiday Monday, from 8.30am to 3pm.

There will be a focus on crafts and produce, with an extended farmers’ section and a bakery coming along.

They are looking at running the markets around four times a year, with an international food market in the planning stages for the summer.