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Miracles can happen when you think big

BRILLIANT memories of The Garden Depot’s fangtastic Halloween event, which put smiles on the faces of hundreds of children remain fondly in the mind of John McGuinness, who successfully opened his business during lockdown.

Indeed the bustling event, the Strabane store owner says, has been ‘once of the highlights’ of a year which has seen him riding the tumultuous waves of lockdown restrictions, while endeavouring to bring the people of Strabane and far beyond a one-stop shop for all of their outdoor needs.

Located at 49 to 51 Dock Street, Strabane, the doors of The Garden Depot swung open at the end of May, which John admits was ‘a few months later than expected’ due to circumstances ‘out of his control’: The outbreak of Covid-19.

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But in spite of the trying times, John told the Chronicle that his vibrant business has proven very successful, adding that it has been heartening to see his visions of helping customers achieve their dream outdoors come to life.

“We were nervous about opening,” John, who employs five local staff, admitted. “When we opened for the first time, we weren’t sure whether the restrictions would ease, or if they would tighten up even more.

“But it has been a ‘so far, so good’ situation, particularly as the weather was fantastic over the summer months. Everyone who comes through our doors is excited to see what we are able to offer them, from lovely indoor decorations, to bespoke flowers, bouquets, and wreaths from our in-house florist; our real Christmas trees ( from 3ft to 10ft). We also have an open timber yard and a composite decking showroom, and offer landscaping services.”

For John, a personal highlight was the extremely successful ‘Nightmare on Dock Street’ event, which saw the centre transformed into a haven of

Halloween activity, featuring a haunted trail, wicked storytelling, terrifying performances, haunted house scenes… and even a creaky cemetery. “We brought smiles and laughter to so many people during that event; The Garden Depot was filled with life,” he said.

Unfortunately though, the garden centre’s much-anticipated upcoming Christmas event, ‘Miracle on Dock Street’ event had to be delayed due to the government’s latest restrictions which end tomorrow (Friday).

“Opening up a business during lockdown has certainly been challenging,” John said. “But it has also been rewarding. We are dedicated to helping local people create their dream outdoor space in 2020 – and we are looking forward to a brighter 2021.”

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 4 Castle Street, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT82 8AB