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Alver Valley Garden Centre


  • Client

    Alver Valley

  • Location


  • Industry

    Garden Centres

Based in Hampshire, and only a stone’s throw away from the Solent, Alver Valley Garden Centre is part of the wider ‘Your Local Garden Centre’ group. In addition to traditional plants and shrubs, Alver Valley also caters for a full range of interests through partner businesses on site.  Most importantly, as a modern garden centre, Alver Valley has a catering offer that is an attraction in its own right and helps provide additional income throughout the year.

Alver Valley was the third garden centre that Tim Mason, Project Manager at Your Local Garden Centre, commissioned, therefore the requirements for the food offer were set very high:

“The brief for the catering side of Alver Valley Garden Centre was to build on what we had achieved at our other Garden Centres, but with a view for this new green field site to be more innovative and have new features that would make it stand out from our local competition. We also wanted this kitchen to be the greenest yet, not only to help reduce energy costs, but also from a long-term environmental perspective. We generate over 1 MW of electricity from solar panels on the roof, so in effect energy usage should be close to zero”.


When it came to who to turn to, to help bring the catering project to life, for Tim, it was simple:

We’ve known HCE for many years and they’ve worked with us on several other projects in the past. We’ve always been happy with the final result when we’ve collaborated with HCE, so they were very much our first choice. We tasked them with designing and specifying the whole back of house kitchen, as well as the front of house servery area to ensure consistency across all areas.”


Steve Holley, Director at HCE explains the process they went to when designing the front of house to ensure the flow of the café worked for both customers and staff: Alver Valley’s food offering is all homemade so we wanted to create a servery that allowed the products to be clearly visible, but which could also cope with increased footfall at busy times. From our knowledge of customer flow at other sites, we designed a bright, spacious area with free flow counters that is welcoming to all and shows off the food in all its glory. As customers arrive they are tempted by both the grab and go as well as the hot meals areas, before each customer is directed to beverages and, freshly made ice cream at the far end.  The tills are separate, taken away from the main servery, so when customers go through, they are directed from the counter, and can collect their cutlery separately as well.”

We are delighted once again with what HCE delivered. Their knowledge was invaluable throughout the design, delivery and installation process and they were very collaborative in the way that they worked

Tim Mason

Project Manager at Your Local Garden Centre

To ensure that Alver Valley’s wishes were met from an energy perspective back of house, HCE created and installed the main kitchen to reduce energy: “In the heart of the operation we have Combi ovens, induction hobs, as well as the very latest grills, microwaves and island suite which is accessible from both sides.  Within the wash up area, there is a rack dishwashing machine alongside a pass-through dishwashing machine, both of which feature a built-in heat recovery system.”


The result is without doubt a catering operation that looks fantastic and one which works for customers and staff alike, as Tim explains: “We are delighted once again with what HCE delivered. Their knowledge was invaluable throughout the design, delivery and installation process and they were very collaborative in the way that they worked. They listened very much to what we as a client wanted and because of their experience they knew the best way to make things happen.”

With everything delivered on time, Tim turned to HCE again to provide a full aftersales service: “I am pleased to say our relationship with HCE is ongoing.  After being responsible for the design and installation of the kitchen, they now also help us by providing a preventative maintenance programme on the equipment as well as providing regular servicing throughout.”


Budget needn’t be a barrier to your perfect kitchen.

We know budget is a big concern when designing a kitchen. That’s why we harness the latest technologies and take extra care to find you the most suitable, economic and practical solutions that bring your vision to life while working within your price range.