In October of 2019, Chris Cuddy was considering taking on night work, in order to keep his nursery business afloat due to the i mpact of the drought on sales. A horticultural scientist, Chris had built the business from its beginnings in 2010, travelling to several plant festivals and field days each year, i ncluding the Collectors’ Plant Fair i n Sydney. Although word was building about his specialist nursery, such that garden clubs and tours were visiting, and the mail order side of the business was slowly growing, the drought and accompanying water restrictions were taking their toll on customers’ ability to buy plants. A year earlier, Chris had had to let two casual staff go and had been doing all the work of maintaining a large display garden, propagating and potting up plants, creating artwork and a website, and running the business himself. It was hard to see how he could keep i t all going, with night work on top of everything else.
Around this time, Buy From the Bush was born. The idea took off, people in the city being more than happy to have a simple, practical and highly effective way of helping drought-stricken rural areas.
Earlier in 2019, Chris had taken the risk of investing in a new website host. He’d also grown the emporium side of the business - to offset the impact of the drought on plant sales - importing beautiful garden tools from England along with other high quality products. Finally, one of his social media posts was publicised by Buy from the Bush, and orders started to come in. He sold all of his own English watering cans i n stock, and then thatl weekend, he kept ordering one more at a time (all he could afford!) until he had made 8 orders in two days. Eventually he sold all of the importer’s remaining stock in Australia, for one particular model! That Christmas, thanks to Buy from the Bush, sales had increased on the previous one by 1400%. The family enjoyed a celebratory Christmas ham!
Chris took on a trainee for 2020, and momentum continued to build, until the Covid lockdown i nspired a gardening craze (along with a huge growth in online shopping) which took everything to a new level. In June 2020, Chris and his family took a walk downtown on his birthday and noticed the beauty and potential of a fairly run down large building in Canowindra’s main street. After a long process of pushing on doors, the building was bought to enable a new adventure for the nursery and emporium. The business continued to grow, allowing Chris to employ new part time and casual staff. Now, there is 2 full time and up to 6 part time staff working busily alongside Chris in the beautiful restored historic building in the main street of Canowindra.
Chris and Nerida's story is one of many that tell the story of the long term outcomes enabled by the Buy From The Bush movement. Their energy, talent and expertise combined with the opportunity of a new audience allowed them to grow their business, inject new life in to the main street of their small town, create employment and deliver social benefit to their community.
It is with great pride and joy, we celebrate the achievements of Perennialle Plants.