Long awaited expansion now under way for Forres business

Six years in the planning – extension under way to Mackenzie and Cruickshank

A POPULAR FORRES garden centre is set to double in size – providing more choice and at least two new jobs in the area.

Mackenzie and Cruickshank has begun a three-phase development that has been in the planning for six years – but the first phase is now expected to be delivered by February next year.

The long established local business is also the home for a coffee shop and gift store, with owner Peter Wilson commenting that he is delighted that progress is being made with his expansion plans.

“The work began at the tail end of the last month and it is going well,” Peter said, adding: “We are carrying out the work now as we are at the end of the main gardening season so we hope this will cause the least disruption for our customers and so we are well organised for the start of next year’s plant season.”

Mackenzie and Cruickshank opened the garden centre 11 years ago and since then has carried out a number of developments which has seen the business grow significantly.

Mr Wilson said: “It’s an exciting time for us and something which has been in the pipeline for some time. The main part of the extension will be a glass building, two storeys high. It’s a very well designed building which we think customers will find it an architecturally pleasing and complements the surrounding environment.

“It will make a statement from the main road to people driving along the A96 – we think that people will be impressed with how it looks. It will show that we mean business when it comes to our gardening sector. The extension is not about making the gift shop or coffee shop bigger, it is to make us a better garden centre.

“We feel this development will provide a better environment for the plants, but also for our customers who will be able to shop for what they need whatever the weather as about 90% of what we will be selling will be undercover.

“We will be able to provide a wider choice of plants and it will also lengthen the season for us. We are following a trend in garden centres.”

Work on the site is being undertaken by another local firm, AJ Engineering, with a second phase set to involve developments to the front of the store which is situated on the Greshop Estate.

A third phase will involve some internal alterations to the existing building including an extension to the coffee shop.

Mr Wilson said: “We have a three phase development plan which we hope to carry out over the next four to five years, but at the moment we are concentrating on getting phase one finished in time for next year’s gardening season.”

Mackenzie and Cruickshank was recently awarded four star accreditation from VisitScotland and was also awarded a Taste Our Best accolade.

It also received four stars from Trip Advisor based on reviews left on the website by customers.