Dobbies Garden Centres
The business was founded in 1865 by James Dobbie, who created a seeds business named Dobbie & Co. After being awarded the Royal Warrant for Gardeners and Nurserymen to the Royal Household, the company expanded into a seed catalogue business, where it built up a customer base of 50,000 over the following century. In 1969 the company expanded out of its Scottish base into England, and was floated on AIM in 1987. Up until 1984 Dobbies continued to operate principally as a seed merchant. It was then bought out by David Barnes, managing director of Waterers. Between 1984 and 1989 Dobbies opened five new garden centres in Scotland.
The company was floated on the Stock Exchange in 1997 and this led to Dobbies expanding their garden centre operations further South into England. In 2008, after a much-publicised court battle with Sir Tom Hunter's West Coast Capital, the owner of competitor Wyevale, the company was fully acquired by Tesco.
On 10 May 2009, Dobbies announced it had made £1 million sales of its Grow Your Own range in that year to date. Grow Your Own allows many of Dobbies’ 10 million-strong customer base to grow salad, vegetables and fruits from home with more than 100,000 tomato plants sold in the last two months alone. For the year to early 2009, turnover was £97 million.
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