The new Barton Grange Garden Centre and Marina development at Brock is set on a 52- acre site, surrounded by some of Lancashire?s most beautiful countryside.
The garden centre itself is truly stunning with Vision?s Kitchens central to the centre?s main eatery, ?The Riverside Cafe? - a self service cafe offering a range of hot and cold choices, designed to complement its woodland location.
Josephine McGhee is the Catering Manager here at Barton Grange, responsible for all catering in the centre which includes The Riverside Cafe and Willows Restaurant.
Can you tell me how you came to select Vision Commercial Kitchens as your supplier for this project?
The guys from Vision worked on a small project at the Barton Grange Hotel many years ago and we were very happy with it. We asked them to design and build a new catering outlet at our Bolton Garden Centre and later at Woodford to build a sixty seater coffee shop. I was directly involved with both the Woodford and Bolton projects and so had prior personal experience of working with them. In view of the size and scale of this project we did put the work out to tender and although one other company were in contention, our excellent working relationship with Vision over five years clinched it.
The centre is extremely impressive; a project of this scale must have involved a great deal of planning?
Very much so, we had an initial brief back in 2003 and since then have had numerous meetings with Vision, our Managing Director, General Manager and myself. We also looked for new ideas, carrying out site visits all over the country and looking at retail catering outlets of all types. We attended numerous site meetings with other service suppliers and Vision would represent us. Whilst developing the site, we placed a strong emphasis on preserving the area?s natural beauty. We also wanted to harness whatever energy we could from the environment, so all the heat generated by our refrigeration plant is used to heat the hot water which we use throughout the Garden Centre. This took a lot of planning and Vision were on hand to advise.
What was involved in the design and installation of the kitchen itself?
Vision installed a full kitchen along with servery counters front of house for both hot and cold food. They also fitted the service kitchen in our Willows Restaurant. Together we designed a very spacious, flexible kitchen to allow for development and have found it to be extremely beneficial not installing all the equipment on day one. Having this flexibility really paid dividends ? we installed two Rational ovens and then once we were up and running added a Tom Chandley oven as a third. This meant we didn?t waste money on capital expenditure and were able to bring in the equipment to fit the purpose. We also had flexibility with our refrigeration space releasing what had been planned as a meat fridge to become a drinks fridge. This has proved invaluable because you couldn?t have put these in as an afterthought.
Having opened do you feel the initial research you carried out with Vision into other centres was beneficial?
Yes we do, we have a very good relationship with the Garden Centre Association and have rapport with other centres so we do share and exchange information. There is actually another garden centre that are going to use Vision and they have been down to Barton Grange several times to see what?s happened here. We pick each other?s brains - there is a fair exchange of ideas and information.