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Bradford garden centre backs fledgling business

Tong Garden Centre has become the first retail outlet to stock a range of handmade garden stoneware from fledgling Leeds business, Set in Stone.

Set in Stone launched in May 2019 and is the brainchild of family friends Carl Pitts, 36 and Sam Smith, 35 who live in Belle Isle, Leeds.

Bricklayers by trade, they started out making garden ornaments, statues, plaques and planters as a hobby but have turned Set in Stone into a successful Facebook marketplace selling page.

“We go to know each other when our girls became playmates and have often talked about the idea of doing something as a hobby/side job, but on a trip to Egypt early last year, we decided that we needed to take action,” said Mr Pitts.

“Sam had looked into something like stone making before, so we put some money together and went for it in May 2019. Since then we’ve had a good response on social media and are really happy with where it’s going. It is more time consuming than we thought, but we enjoy it and it keeps us out of trouble!

“We’re only supplying Tong at the minute and we’re looking forward to forming a good relationship with Phil and his team and growing Set in Stone together.”

Phil Hemmings, Tong’s Garden Sundries & Christmas buyer, said: “Carl and Sam pulled out all the stops to have the first order ready for us and we’re really pleased with how they look in the centre and their rate of sale. They’re a real talking point and there’s something for everyone, including planters, birdbaths and statues.”

Tong Garden Centre occupies a 17 acre site in Tong village. It is one of Yorkshire’s biggest garden centres with 110,000 square feet of retail space and parking for up to 1,000 cars.

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