The North West has some large garden centres but few are as well loved as Bents Garden Home, which has served Glazebury and the surrounding area for generations.
Alfred and Margaret Bent started the family business in 1937 as A. Bents Roses, selling freshly grown roses to the local community.
By 1966, the foundations were laid - literally - for the first Bents shop, which was soon joined by a glasshouse, allowing flowers to grow in controlled conditions throughout the year.
Beyond Bents: Catering and Christmas
In the 1960s-70s, local garden centres still focused mostly on gardening, but Bents moved beyond this, and really started to expand to become the destination it is today.
For example, in 1978, the Bents Christmas shop stocked a much larger range of festive decorations. On December 16th that year, Bents sold more than 1,000 real Christmas trees, and artificial trees were also growing in popularity.
In 1980, The Balcony Coffee Lounge opened, setting a trend for garden centre catering that many other businesses up and down the UK have copied in the decades since.
Bigger Bents: Time for Expansion
In 1991, John Bent started on his retirement project, the picturesque Weeping Ash Garden. The hidden garden is now one of Cheshire's Gardens of Distinction and open to visitors most Sundays - contact Bents in advance if you want to check.
By 1995, Bents itself was embarking on a new ten-year expansion plan. Over the years that followed, a new on-site nursery was built, as well as The Fresh Approach Restaurant, adding to the eateries open to the public at Bents.
As the new millennium began, in 2001 the family business entered its third generation as Matthew, Rachel, Helen and Katherine joined.
Matthew became managing director of Bents and, in 2007, launched the Open Skies Glass House which is now a familiar destination for residents across the region.
What's next for Bents?
Even in the past decade, Bents Garden & Home has continued to expand and create new retail opportunities for all their customers.
In 2014 they opened six new departments and you'll now find brands including LEGO and Playmobil, Barbour and Joules, and the extensive selection of food and drink in Bents Food Hall.
Bents are always looking for ways to serve the local community even better than they always have done. They continue to invest in keeping their premises up to date, with new entrances, retail, and leisure spaces, and so on.
To make sure Bents hold on to the top spot as the favourite garden centre in the North West, they hold a packed calendar of events throughout the year.
Of course, the uncertainty of 2020 forced many of us to put things on hold, but as restrictions are eased and businesses open up, Bents are back, and better than ever.
So, if it's a while since your last visit, or even if it's not, why not treat yourself to a day out at Destination Bents, and see what's changed since the last time you walked through our doors?