Balls and navigation: Shoppers line up for up to an hour for non-essential items at Tong Garden Center

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“After the year we had this is essential purchases. ”
Customer Debbie Pycroft summed up the thoughts of many by picking up a £ 50 Christmas tree at the Tong Garden Center where queues meandered around the expansive parking lot.

She and her husband Terry must have stood in line for about 30 minutes on Sunday morning, but it was worth it in the end.

“At first we thought the line was too long,” said Debbie. “But we had come this far (from Keighley) and we were thinking ‘do it’. ”

After spending around £ 130 on various tracks, Terry said: “It was worth the wait.



Terry and Debbie Pycroft of Keighley

Garden centers remained open during the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown, although small independent gift shops were forced to close, leading to allegations of unfair rules.

And shoppers at Tong Garden Center, near Bradford, were happy to stock up on essentials, like food, as well as many non-essentials like baubles and wreaths that gift shops would normally sell.

The garden center limits the number of people in the store at any time, which has resulted in the development of queues.

Parents Leon and Kate, along with kids Holly and Lola, picked up chicken, brownies, a teddy bear, baubles and Christmas lights on their trip from Rotherham’s hometown to the Tong Garden Center.

Kate says it took 40 minutes to get in, but Leon swears it was an hour.

“It was a nightmare but it got us out of the house,” says Leon.

“It was our first time at the Tong Garden Center and it’s not bad inside. ”

Pat Sharp and daughter Sue left Cleckheaton on Sunday morning to arrive before the garden center opened – but they almost turned around when they timed the queue.

They bought various items, including a leopard-print face mask, cooking utensils and a carpet for the hallway.

Pat said, “We were here right before it opened. We waited 20 minutes to enter. ”



Pat Sharp of Cleckheaton with his purchases at Tong Garden Center

Mark Brereton and Angela Mann admitted they had come from Huddersfield ‘just to take a look’ and were about to join the rather long line YorkshireLive caught up with them.

Mark said: “We had some doubts when we saw the queue. I expected a queue but nothing like it. ”

Angela added, “We’re just coming for a peek – just to get out of the house for a few hours. I’ve never been before. ”



Mark Brereton and Angela Mann of Huddersfield

Clare Mottershead, who was shopping with her daughter Charlotte, stood in line for 45 minutes, then bought £ 150 worth of Christmas decorations.

Clare, from Leeds, said: “We turned around to start and then came back and thought ‘we better go’. It was nice and it’s very festive in there. There are lots of decorations and lights. ”

A mother, who did not want to be named, was shopping with her two-year-old son and her husband.

She said: “We spent £ 70 on decorations. Getting out of the house is essential when you have a two-year-old. ”

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