The plant team at Newhaven’s Paradise Park Garden Centre has reached a century’s service racked up by just five of the staff in 2022.
Plant Area Manager Susan Sandalls and four of her colleagues, Rose Thorpe, Clive Aldridge, Judy Heard-White and Nick Vandebegin have all been working at the Tates family run store since as long ago as 1992. The centre has undergone many changes and expansions during that time but the faces assisting the people of Newhaven and the surrounding towns have remained the same.
Paradise Park’s Director, Darren Clift payed tribute to the team’s incredible dedication and loyalty. “It is incredible to have so many staff that have given so many years to supporting our business and its customers, but to have them in the same department is simply amazing. Many visitors to Paradise Park are coming to purchase plants and receive advice, and when you have so many years’ experience in the team, local people who know the soil and the climate this really helps give the best advice, centred on the growing conditions around us.”
Susan added, “a lot has changed since I started working here as a teenager. I have been privileged to be able to work my way up to now running the department I have given much of my career to and hope to continue for many more years to come. I am very lucky to every day have a stable group of people around me that share my values as we do our utmost to provide the best plants and advice to people from the local area. We are all keen gardeners and live locally so our advice is based on many years of first-hand experience.”
The plant team is the shining light from a group across the whole of Paradise Park that are regularly celebrating long service anniversaries, with nine staff having worked at the Newhaven centre since the 1990s and one dating back to 1981.
And Darren feels it’s important to acknowledge the loyalty and service these people have given the garden centre. “We are only as good as the team we have on the site, and the longer someone is with us the more knowledge they can obtain the better service they can give our customers that improves our service. I am a firm believer in looking out for the colleagues that do so much for us and I hope that is reflected in the loyalty they show us. I have been with the Tates group 18 years myself, but I am regularly eclipsed by my colleagues for long standing service!”