Threaplands Ltd is very much a family affair. The company is owned by brothers Grant Higgins, who runs and develops the Landscaping Division and Scott Higgins, who is responsible for the business administration and Garden Centre.
The current site at Threaplands, Lhanbryde, (On the A96) was originally a pig farm owned by James (Piggy) Milne who was Scott & Grant’s Grandfather. Grant saw this excellent location as a unique opportunity to form his own landscaping company, and so, in 1995, Threaplands was born.
The opportunites that the site provided soon meant that Grant was able to expand the business. In order to provide some income during the winter months, an area of land on-site was cultivated and the first crop of Christmas trees was planted. Additionally, when Scott and Grant’s father – Neil Higgins – retired in 1996 the first polytunnel was erected to grow plants from seed and cuttings. This was to feed directly into the landscaping business to make it more competitive and improve profit 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. As a result, in 1997 a second polytunnel was erected, and we started to grow summer bedding.
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 business and to sell directly to the public. We now needed some help and our first member of staff, June Taylor, was employed.
The small site was quickly developing into a competitive Garden Centre, and Grant called upon the help of his brother Scott Higgins to co-direct the company and take the lead on the business and Garden Centre tasks. Scott joined the business in 2001 after working for 20 years in Aberdeen in the Information Technology Sector. Despite the huge change in career, Scott got stuck in.
Scott took over the running of the business, enhancing and upgrading the business management, financial, and communication systems he had installed when the company was first formed in 1995. This allowed Grant to concentrate more fully on the landscaping side of the business which was now growing quite 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 division, 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” and now we could unload deliveries in a fraction of the time, as before everything was unloaded by hand. June Taylor for one must have been very relieved to see it arrive!
In 2003 Threaplands changed its legal status from a partnership to a limited company. At this time the companies voice and data infrastructures were modernised and new business information systems were implemented. A new porta-cabin was purchased to give the brothers some office space and the old shed was replaced by a new Baltic cabin where the shop facility was set up.
From this point, business at the Garden Centre caught pace with the Landscaping division which was already well established and receiving rave reviews.
In 2004 a further tunnel was erected and this was quickly followed by a fifth and much larger tunnel in 2006. This now gave plenty capacity to grow the full range of summer bedding plants and hanging baskets that are available today.
More retail space was desperately needed so in 2007 and a further Baltic cabin was installed giving additional shop space for bird food, fertilisers and pesticides etc.
This family run company now employs 17 staff at its base on the outskirts of Lhanbryde, and continues to grow both its offerings at the Garden Centre and the new services available through the Landscaping Division.