A THIRD generation has taken the reins of a family garden centre business with a branch in East Yorkshire.

Langlands Garden Centre, which trades from three sites - one in Shiptonthorpe, near Market Weighton, and two others in Leeds and Sheffield - has been acquired for an undisclosed sum by James Ducker, whose grandfather Walter Ducker founded the business in 1955.

James’s parents Janet and Robert will continue to be involved in the business, which has 180 staff. The deal will see Walter’s son, John Ducker, retire after 54 years in the business whilst John’s son Ian, who has also worked in the business for many years, will leave to pursue other business interests.

For more than 60 years Langlands garden centres have grown and sold millions of plants to customers throughout Yorkshire and the rest of the UK. The business started life as a small nursery in Bingley, before moving to the current site in Shiptonthorpe, which was purchased in 1964 to allow for expansion.

The business diversified, opening giftware departments and farm shops. Coffee shops, café bars and eating outlets have also been opened by the business. Two further sites were acquired in Leeds and Sheffield. Then in 2016 the business bought a nursery in Holme-on-Spalding Moor to develop and expand the range and quantity of plants grown.

This month, James became the majority shareholder, with his father Robert, retaining a minority shareholding.

James said: “I would like to thank my parents, Robert and Janet, wife Rebecca and daughters for all their help and support over the last year. I am looking to the future and taking the business forward with the continued support of my parents. After almost 30 years in the business I can honestly say that I love coming into work every day, and this is down to our amazing team and loyal customer base.

“For our customers, it will be very much ‘business as usual’, and our enthusiastic, knowledgeable team will continue to be on hand to help and answer questions about our products and services.

“Looking further ahead, I’m keen to make more of our nurseries and develop the food offering across the business, with more of a ‘field to fork’ focus. I know that with the team’s long-standing industry experience and expertise, customers will continue to benefit from the same high standards of service and support that we have endeavoured to provide throughout our 63-year history”.

On his retirement from the business, John said: “Ian and I, together with our wives Sarah and Eileen, would like to thank all Langlands staff both past and present for all their hard work and support over the last 54 years. It is greatly appreciated, and we wish them and the business every success."