Comic Katherine Ryan has joined the campaign to stop a popular independent garden centre in Berkhamsted being driven out of business due to competition from supermarket giant, Waitrose.
Katherine lent her support to Woods of Berkhamsted, in High Street, during filming for Channel 4’s Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back programme.
The plight of Woods – facing an existential threat because of neighbouring Waitrose’s stand-alone garden centre – will be featured in an upcoming series.
Canadian Katherine, who hosted this year’s NME awards, posed as a ‘brand ambassador’ for Woods to make a spoof promotional video to be featured in the programme, which champions consumer rights.
Katherine also gathered names for a petition, calling on Waitrose to reduce its garden centre offering, which was then presented to the supermarket in St John’s Wells, less than 100 yards from Woods.
More than 4,000 people have already signed a change.org petition to stop the closure of the popular High Street store.
Woods garden centre managing director, Colin Campbell-Preston said: “It was a delight to host Katherine and the crew. Katherine made quite an impression as a ‘brand ambassador’ for Woods but I can’t say anymore until the programme goes out.
“The support we have received from the local community and customers has been amazing and we once again call on Waitrose to reduce their garden centre offering to save Woods from closure with significant job losses.
“Woods is a proud member of the Berkhamsted community through the work we do with schools, charities, theatre groups, encouraging young and old to get involved in creating a beautiful and sustainable environment.
“However, after almost 50 years we may soon cease to exist. It would be very sad for the town to lose another independent retailer.”
When the petition was originally created, a spokesperson from Waitrose said: “We are sorry to hear that Woods of Berkhamsted feels this way as we’ve always tried to be very supportive of the local community and play our part in bringing people to the town.
“The garden centre has a fantastic range of gardening products – far wider than ours – and offers gardening expertise we don’t. We’ve been selling a modest range of garden plants for six years after a consultation with our neighbours and reduced our range of garden products several months ago after conversations with the owners.”