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Bradford Garden Centre creates new role to oversee expansion plans

Tong Garden Centre has appointed a project manager to oversee the next phase of its £2m extension project.


Sarah Ritchie joins the team at multi award-winning Tong Garden Centre in the newly created position of project manager.  A chartered surveyor with 14 years’ experience, she joins the Tong Lane business following a career break to bring up her young family and brings a wealth of experience to Tong.


Tong’s Managing Director, Mark Farnsworth said: “We are delighted to welcome Sarah to the team. With a strong track record in the Leeds property market, latterly with BNP Paribas, Sarah is obviously well equipped to oversee the £2m extension project with full responsibility for the delivery of the project.


“We are then hoping to secure other projects for Sarah to manage as the business expands from our single site to a multi-site operation.”


Mrs Ritchie is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead: “There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a building project move from its conception to completion and having a part in guiding it on its way.
“I’m excited for the challenge and thinking through and overcoming the practical issues we might face on the way. This particular phase of development is really important as it’s not just for the Tong customer but for the Tong staff so it’s a big responsibility to deliver.”


When she’s not working, Mrs Ritchie enjoys spending time outdoors, including skiing, netball, walking Tarka the dog and family time watching her sons play sport and relaxing at home.
Phase two of the £4m expansion starts in March. The two storey extension will be home to new staff facilities for its 200 strong team, a 180 seat restaurant plus 15,000 sq ft of retail space. Phase one of the expansion opened in summer 2019 and included a new plant canopy, an indoor play area for Grass Hoppers and an events centre.


Work on the build will be carried out by many of the same teams who completed phase one. “In our continued support of, and investment in, the Yorkshire economy, we have appointed Yorkshire tradesmen wherever possible,” said Mr Farnsworth


“We estimate that £2.5 million of the £4 million investment will be spent with Yorkshire firms. This part of the project will also create an additional 25 jobs within the business.”


Work on the extension is expected to be completed by September.


Tong Garden Centre’s owners acquired the centre in 2015 and are currently are actively seeking additional sites to replicate the successful formula of the award winning Tong Lane site.