Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

TV gardening expert helps Derbyshire company celebrate 50 years in business

TV presenter and professional gardener Toby Buckland was the guest speaker at an event to mark 50 years in business for a Derbyshire company earlier this month.

Amberol supplies self-watering planters and litter bins to Britain in Bloom groups, councils, businesses and a range of commercial and non-profit organisations. The Alfreton-based company held an event on Wednesday 9th October to celebrate the important milestone 50 years of trading.

Around 80 customers, staff, associates and friends attended the event which included a buffet lunch, an address from Toby and Amberol’s managing director Patience Atkinson-Gregory and a tour of Amberol’s factory. 

In his keynote speech, Toby offered the audience the benefit of 30 years working in the horticultural industry sharing knowledge and advice. As part of his address, Toby demonstrated ideas for creating a stunning planter with suggestions for suitable plants and useful planting tips, filling one of Amberol’s planters during the course of his speech.

“It’s great to see that a company such Amberol can stay true to its roots, putting people first and still be competitive and innovative,” comments Toby. “It was a pleasure to be part of their half-century celebration. Here's to the next fifty years!”

Toby is probably best known for presenting BBC’s Gardeners’ World; he is also a regular on Gardeners’ Question Time and has presented BBC’s Great British Garden Revival and RHS Chelsea Flower show. An author of five gardening books, he writes regularly for the Daily Telegraph and Amateur Gardening.

Set up in 1969 by Jack Williamson and Phil Atkinson, Amberol is still a family business. MD for the last 16 years, Patience is Phil’s daughter while Jack’s granddaughter Kay Hall also a director of the company. 

Amberol originally supplied paddle mats to prevent slippage on floors. Over the years, the product range has evolved to include litter bins as well as the company’s trademarked Aquafeed™ matting which is found in their self-watering planters. The use of the matting and the built-in water reservoir means that most planters need watering just once a week, conserving water and reducing maintenance.

Managing director Patience was delighted with the celebration saying:

“It was wonderful to see so many Amberol customers and friends in one place to celebrate five decades in business. We have always considered our customers as friends so wanted to include as many as possible. Our reps are also out and about every day talking to customers. in fact, all our products have been designed as a result of these conversations.”

Sustainability is also an issue that Amberol are tackling head on in their 50th year. Jack and Phil were early adopters of sustainability with all Amberol products manufactured from recyclable polyethylene in the early 1990s when few businesses recognised the importance of reducing their carbon footprint

Patience explains:

“People hear the word plastic and think all plastic is bad for the environment, but we like to think that the way we use polyethylene enhances the  environment - the fact that we have customers still using our products over three decades later proves that point. Plus, at the end of their shelf life, our products can be easily recycled.”

Picture: (left to right) Patience-Atkinson-Gregory and Toby Buckland.

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