Threaplands Ltd is very much a family affair. The company was founded in 1995 by brothers Grant Higgins, who runs the Landscaping department, and Scott Higgins who is responsible for the Garden Centre and more recently Retail. As a previous landscaper with Threaplands, Ben Laing has also made the step up to Director and now oversees the Restaurant.
The current site at Threapland (on the A96 a mile east of Lhanbryde) was originally a pig farm owned by James (Piggy) Milne who was Scott and Grants Grandfather. Grant saw this excellent location as a unique opportunity to form his own landscaping company and so, in 1995, Threaplands was born.
The opportunities that the site provided soon meant that Grant was able to expand the business. In order to provide some income during the winter months, and area of land was cultivated and the first crop of Christmas trees were planted. Additionally, when Scott and Grants father, Neil Higgins, retired in 1996 the first polytunnel was erected to grow plants from seeds and cuttings. This was to feed directly into the landscaping business to make it more competitive and improve the margins!
Due to the prominent location of Threaplands, the general public soon noticed the changes occurring and took a keen interest in purchasing some of the stock being grown on-site. As a result, in 1997 a second polytunnel was erected and summer bedding was begun.
The summer bedding proved so popular with the public that a further tunnel was erected in 1999 to help meet the demand. Other plant lines were also introduced such as trees and shrubs, both for the landscaping and to sell directly to the public. It was at this point Grant felt he needed some help and with that, the first member of staff was employed – June Taylor.
The small site was quickly developing into a competitive Garden Centre so Grant called upon the help of his brother Scott to co-direct the company and take the lead on the day-to-day tasks of the Garden Centre. Scott joined the business in 2001 after working for 20 years in Aberdeen in the IT sector. Despite the huge career change Scott got stuck in!
Scott took over the running of the business, enhancing and upgrading the business management, financial and communication he had installed when the company was first formed in 1995. This allowed Grant to concentrate fully on the landscaping side of the business which was now growing rather quickly.
In the same year, Scott also introduced new machinery to the business buying an old JCB digger and borrowing an old Manitou forklift from his father-in-law. This further enhanced the landscaping department, allowing on-site storage of materials such as top soil, sands and gravels that could be loaded quickly and easily, replacing the very old 1959 Massey Ferguson tractor. Scott recalls the day the forklift arrived. “It was amazing how quickly everything was moved off the ground and on to pallets. We could unload deliveries in a fraction of the time, whereas before everything was unloaded by hand”.
In 2003 Threaplands changed its legal status from partnership to limited company. It’s at this point that the company’s IT infrastructure was modernised, and new business information systems were implemented. A new cabin was purchased to give the brothers some office space and the old shed was replaced with a new Baltic cabin where the small shop was set up.
From this point on, business at Threaplands Ltd grew and grew with both the landscaping and garden centre departments making a name for themselves both locally and further afield. Customers were regularly providing great reviews of the products, staff and site.
In 2004 a further polytunnel was erected, quickly followed by a fifth and much larger tunnel in 2006. This gave plenty of space to grow the full range of summer bedding plants and hanging baskets that are available to purchase today.
Having spent more than 10 years working on expansion plans, it became a reality in 2017/2018 when the foundations for the brand new, custom built building were laid. Many anxious months went by as the frame was erected, the floor was laid and the inside began to take shape. In November 2018 the new electric doors opened to the public and the expansion of Threaplands reached an incredible milestone.
The new building now houses a large restaurant serving a delicious range of hot and cold meals as well as teas, coffees and cakes made in the on-site bakery. It also houses an extensive shop offering everything from bird feed to shortbread, candles to garden gloves.
The outdoor garden centre at the rear of the building provides an even larger space for visitors to explore the mix of homegrown plants and shrubs as well as the pots, planters and garden furniture.
This family run company now employs around 45 staff at its base on the outskirts of Lhanbryde, Moray and continues to grow its offerings within the garden centre, retail shop and restaurant as well as introducing all new services available through the landscaping department.