About Our Company
A bit about our company and history.
From modest beginnings in a small shop beside the old coast road in Dersingham, Norfolk, R.H.Thaxter Ltd has grown into a large and attractive garden centre, a village supermarket and a coffee shop at the heart of the village.
Now celebrating its 55th anniversary, its a family business, started by Ron and Celia Thaxter, that is into its second and third generations.
Today, the directors are sons Richard (managing director) , together with Richard’s wife, Edna, who is company secretary and their son, James. The garden centre is probably the largest of its kind in West Norfolk and offers a wide range of plants, trees, shrubs and any garden related goods all at competitive prices.
The business occupies a prominent site with good car parking at Hunstanton Road, in marked contrast to the beginning in the early 1950’s from one room in a house beside the coast road, which ran through the middle of Dersingham before the building of the by-pass.
The business was started by Ron Thaxter, who ran a nursery on the opposite side of the road to the present site, growing tomatoes, cucumbers and bulbs. His in-laws, Mr and Mrs George Tompkins, offered Ron and his wife, Celia, the use of a room in their house, because the house was too big for them.
The Thaxters started off selling general groceries, as well as produce from the greenhouses on their nurseries. At weekends in the summer months, they would often stay open to 11.30pm and midnight to get the busy passing trade of people on the way to the coastal resorts, and initially, much of the business was seasonal.
As the shop business grew, produce was bought in rather than grown on the nursery, and the greenhouses fell into disrepair and were taken down in the 1970s. From cucumbers, tomatoes and bulbs, the business gradually diversified into rose bushes and other garden products.
Throughout the 1960s and 70s, a rival grocery and garden centre was based next to the Hunstanton Road site, and competition was fierce between the two businesses. Then around 1980, Thaxters acquired the business next door, in the process virtually doubling the size of their site to its present day proportions.
There has been considerable family input to the business over the years. Ron’s brother, Jack Thaxter, joined the business in the late 1960s and was involved for many years. Ron ran the business up until his death in 1989.
Richard Thaxter joined the company in 1972 and has worked mainly in the garden centre, seeing it through several stages of expansion.
Peter Thaxter was a primary school head teacher for a number of years, before returning to the business as a director in 1994 and then retiring from the business in 2009.