Timber garden furniture, grow your own and decorative garden structure specialist, Zest, which is based in Saltney, Flintshire, part of the P&A Group of Companies, officially opened its new Zest design.shed on March 1st to coincide with St.David’s day.  The new building was opened by The Rt Hon. Lord Barry Jones, former local MP and under-secretary of state for Wales and now life peer, Baron Jones of Deeside in the County of Clwyd and was accompanied by his wife, Lady Janet Jones.

The facility is a state-of-the-art, purpose-built, product design and development suite and innovation centre and part of Zest’s £400,000-plus investment in product development facilities and personnel.  The building, which is a characterful renovation of a 1950s original, includes research and concept development facilities, the latest CAD design technology, a prototyping build area, a production studio, and a marketing zone.

Guests at the opening ceremony included Dr Ann Sudder, Innovation Specialist from the Welsh Government - Department for Economy, Science and Transport and Samantha Williams, Development Manager for the Welsh Government.  They were joined by personnel from Flintshire County Council, Cardiff Metropolitan University, BIC Innovation, Innovate UK, the University of Chester and HSBC.

Also at the event were project architect, Robin Greenland, representatives from all the contractors who worked on the build as well as the P&A Group build team, the Zest marketing and product development team and Managing Director Steve Morgan and directors of the P & A Group, which Zest is part of. Andrew Baker, Finance Director of the P&A Group, lead the design and build as part of the companies aim for strategic growth and development.

The project is a continuation of Zest’s focus on design and innovation that was influenced by a KTP with Cardiff Metropolitan University (Knowledge Transfer Partnership focused on product design and strategic marketing) that ended in 2021. To date six new jobs have been created within Zest marketing and product development, including a new role - Head of Product Design and Innovation, Neil Sholes has been recruited to spearhead a dedicated team conceiving new products in line with outdoor living consumer needs.

Robin Greenland, architect from Futurspaces + Futurworks commented on the build “The design of the Zest design.shed was based around regenerating the original building in a sustainable way.  This involved thermal upgrade and the use of renewable energy to provide heating. The black clad exterior envelops the gallery light space with freestanding pods providing private meeting areas.”

Commenting on the new facility, P&A Group Managing Director Steve Morgan said, “This is a building that has been re-purposed and transformed, in a contemporary way, to provide an environment to inspire creativity and collaboration.  It was inspired by the company’s drive and commitment to be the consumer’s first choice in wooden decorative garden structures, outdoor furniture and grow your own products, and our passion for supporting our trade customers with the very latest products in the category.”

Guests enjoyed refreshments and a selection of homemade cakes supplied and served by The Woodworks Cafe which is also part of the P&A Group of companies and based in Mold at The Woodworks Garden Centre.

The P&A Group comprises, Zest, The Woodworks Garden Centre and Café, P&A Pallets and Packaging and St.Andrews Business Centre for leased and virtual offices.