Quinton Edwards Celebrates 25 Years in Business


Simon Quinton Smith entered the Chartered Surveying profession in 1979 and worked in London as a commercial property agent. He covered all aspects of commercial property to include property valuations and the acquisitions, disposal and lettings of offices and industrial units.

In 1986 he moved out of London to join Chancellors based in Reading. Here he worked with senior partner Tony Edwards who was one of only two specialist garden centre and horticultural valuers in the United Kingdom. Simon immediately became interested in this niche market and enjoyed dealing with businesses and property rather than just property. He asked Tony to teach him how to value them to enable him to acquire and dispose of them for their clients.

When Chancellors sold out to Hogg Robinson, Simon moved to Camberley to work for Carson & Company and much of the garden centre work followed Simon.

Like many other Chartered Surveying companies in the late eighties, Carson & Company were also sold to a major corporate and this event prompted Simon to start his own business.

At the end of 1989 Simon set up Quintons Commercial and continued to work within the Garden Centre and Horticultural sector as well as undertaking general commercial property work within Newbury.

Twenty five years on, the Newbury based Commercial Property practice is a leading firm of Chartered Surveyors that incorporates Quinton Edwards and Quintons Commercial. Quinton Edwards offers property and business advice to the Garden Centre and Horticultural industry throughout the United Kingdom and into Europe whereas Quintons Commercial deal with all aspects of commercial property within Newbury and West Berkshire and is run by Simon’s Co-Director Shane Prater.

Over the last quarter of a century Quinton Edwards has seen many independent garden centres sold to the groups but they have also seen several of the small independents develop and expand their businesses to become garden centre groups. One such example was when Simon was contacted during his first year in business by an entrepreneur who ran one Garden Centre in Scotland and was looking to expand. Simon drove to Kirkintillock to meet with Bob Gault who went on to acquire a further 24 garden centres. From their very first meeting in the early 1990’s until his premature passing in 2011 Simon and Bob would have weekly conversations about business and industry news.

Quinton Edwards deals with some of the smallest growing nurseries and plant centres across the country to some of the largest destinations garden centres; his largest agency deal being £28 million. He enjoys the wide variety and the diversity of clients. One of Simon’s proudest moments was when he visited an elderly client who had guaranteed hers son’s loans on his garden centre which was in danger of closing and she was in danger of losing her house. Simon worked closely with them and with the bank and found a solution which enabled his client to keep her house.

Simon feels privileged to have worked for so long within this industry and said ‘It has been a pleasure to work with so many business owners over the past 25 years and without them we would not have a business. Being a small independent practice gives us flexibility to provide a personal and friendly but professional service”.

Quintons Commercial employ eight members of staff and celebrating with Simon is Mandy Prince who joined him 25 years ago and apart for a brief break for maternity leave, she is still a key member of the commercial team.

Simon is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Registered Valuer. Over the last year he has carried out 98 valuations of Garden Centres, Nurseries and other horticultural businesses totalling £268 million.

To offer something back to the industry Simon offers free nursery and landscaping property advice to HTA members through the HTA advice lines. He has also been involved in the industry charity Greenfingers and more recently has been appointed the Chairman of the Fundraising Committee for the charity.

Simon along with his team at Quinton Edwards have appreciated the many congratulatory messages received from clients around the country and they look forward to the next 25 years of service to the Garden Centre and Horticultural Industries.