But what does that actually mean for Alpine and its customers?
We sat down with Ben Habershon, recently promoted to Operations Manager – Alpine Alstonville, to get some intel on what customers can expect from the announcement that Alpine Alstonville is doubling in size.
Q: What was the motivation behind this expansion plan?
A: There were quite a few things that have motivated us, however I guess the primary reason is that we wanted to expand the range and reach of the Alpine brand and quality that many of our customers have come to expect from us. Put simply, we want to offer a more comprehensive supply list. The quality of our plants and operations is a true representation of the experience and knowledge that our team brings. We want to be able to put all of that to good use for the benefit of our customers. It also offers career development for staff and new training opportunities and apprenticeships.
Q: Can you briefly explain what needs to take place and what has already been completed?
A: There is plenty to achieve, that’s for sure.
- We have successfully removed 18,000 blueberry bushes and have prepared our 16.5 acre site, representing stage 1 of the planned development
- Have installed 2 x 250,00L water holding tanks
- Commenced extensive unground pipework and drainage for the new drainage system that is part of our overall water management plan
- Scheduled to install the pump shed, pumps, filtration and radio-controlled irrigation program that has the ability to control both the new and existing site in Alstonville
- A significant investment in gravel bed construction in keeping with the high standards of existing Alpine sites. This is crucial in providing the best conditions for optimal plant health and growth.
Due to the speed of the development, will see first beds ready mid December 2020!
Q: What plants are being considered that customers can look forward to Alpine supplying?
A: Mostly shade loving, foliage plants. Camellias, Xanadu’s, Aspidistra, Liriope, Draceanea’s, Spathiphyllums to name just a few.
Q: What plant/s are you most excited about the Alpine range and why?
A: Camellia japonica – we have spent a long time tweaking our Camellia growing methods and I believe we grow the best Camellias around so being able to bring a high quality, sort after product to the market in large quantities is exciting.
Q: What are the benefits to Alpine customers and what is it that they can expect from us?
A: Firstly, customers can expect Alpine’s level of quality plants. Coupled with a large and extensive range, and that Alpine has it all, your one stop shop I guess you could say – for all customer needs. It’s also important to keep up to date and relevant with latest trends.
Q: What is your role in all of this and how do you plan to manage and lead this expansion project?
A: Alpine is a great company for career progression. I have been with Alpine for 14 years and from Production Manager, I have accepted the role of Operations Manager at Alstonville. But, it’s not just me, there is an incredible team of people behind the scenes.
This project requires extensive forward planning, decision making and regular communication with key stakeholders within the business. I’ll be working closely with another long term Alpine veteran of 15 years, Construction Manager Doug Blythe. We will be monitoring the day to day running of the project to keep on track and on target.
Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges or hurdles to overcome?
We are a rapidly expanding business that will be growing more than double the amount of plants we currently grow, which brings change to every moving part of the organisation. Learning to grow new varieties to Alpine’s quality standards will be another.
A: What do you personally hope to be able to achieve from all of this?
Grow the site and our people into one of the biggest and best nurseries in Australia as well as learning and enjoying the experience along the way.
Q: How do you feel about this expansion?
A: Both nervous and excited. It’s a mammoth task that requires a lot of planning, organising and project management but we have the right team of people to make it happen.
Q: When can customers expect to see and feel these changes?
A: Spring 2021 is going to be huge! Wheels are already in motion for supply – September 2021. We are looking at introducing over 200 new varieties, more than 500,000 units in stage 1 of the expansion alone. All I can say is watch this space very closely.
More about Alpine Nurseries Alstonville expansion:
- Award winning Alpine Nurseries Alstonville doubles in size
- It is the largest single nursery in the Green Group and one of the biggest in NSW
- The 20-hectare property shares a common boundary with the existing Alstonville site and combined, will span over 38 hectares
- Expansion demonstrates a firm commitment from the Green family and the Alpine Board
- This expansion will improve our offering to existing customers
- A high-level development plan in place consists of three stages to be built in rapid succession
- Stage 1: An existing 6-hectare canopy structure repurposed for growing popular shade loving plants
- Stages 2 & 3: will be guided by market trends and result in increased stock availability and a broadening of Alpine’s home-grown range