A three-year search led one couple to their dream business – now they’re looking for the ‘perfect person’ to take over the reins
A nursery owner who pursued his passion to work with plants is searching for a new horticultural enthusiast to continue his work.
Philip Dunnett and his wife Angela are selling Ribblesdale Nurseries, in Preston, after 15 ‘hugely fulfilling years’.
The 49-year-old said he would miss it ‘desperately’ but hoped a new couple could build on their success.
“It is going to be a real wrench to leave because it is a special place with bags of potential to be even more successful than we have been,” he said.
Philip and Angela bought the nursery through Ernest Wilson – the same leading agent for businesses now helping them to sell.
“I have always been in the industry but I had never owned my own business before,” said Philip, who moved from the north east to buy Ribblesdale.
“It took us the best part of three years to find what we were looking for but in the end, this cropped up – almost as if it was fate that we were supposed to come here.”
Ribblesdale Nurseries is set in 1.3 acres of land and the site includes owners’ accommodation.
“It is a very traditional nursery, very plant based and very gardening based, we still grow a lot of our own plants,” said Philip.
However, the site also has planning permission for retail and a tearoom.
“A tearoom would be really good here,” said Philip. “We got the permission but, unfortunately, didn’t have the money to do it. It would be a huge asset if somebody could raise the money.”
He said, ideally, the new owners would have horticultural experience and a passion to put in the hours to make it a success.
“It is very consuming because you are dealing with living things, it is not something you can put down at the end of the day and pick up in the morning.
“If the plants aren’t looking good at 5pm, they are not going to be looking any better in the morning.”
But despite the hard work, Philip says the last decade-and-a-half have been rewarding and fulfilling.
“Watching the business develop in the time that we have been here, comparing what it was when we bought it to what it is now, that has been a highlight,” he said.
“Watching young staff members develop and move on that has been another highlight and, of course, our regular customers.
“It has been a very busy but fulfilling 15 years.”
Philip said he would miss ‘probably everything’ about the nursery: “This place has a very special atmosphere and a very special character.
“I would like to say a really big thank you to everybody who has supported us over the last 15 years – both staff and customers. We have met some very nice, very special people.
“I know this business is for a specific person and that person, or people, just haven’t walked through the door yet – maybe it will be fate for them like it was for us.
“It wasn’t just a job, it was far more than that, it was my passion, my hobby, my life really and hopefully it will be that for someone else now.
“That really is the kind of person that needs to take this on.”
Ribblesdale Nurseries, in Newsham Hall Lane, Woodplumpton, Preston, is being sold by Ernest Wilson, the UK’s leading agent for businesses for sale.
To request a brochure, or find out more about any of the businesses currently being marketed by Ernest Wilson visit www.ernest-wilson.co.uk or call 0113 238 2900.