A POPULAR Ardrossan garden centre is celebrating 20 years running after the owners built it up from scratch.

David Castelvecchi and partner Abbie took over the former Little Chef premises on the Ardrossan to West Kilbride shore road in 2002 and transformed it into the Rowan Tree Garden Centre and Restaurant.

The couple, who also run Haylie Stores in Largs, say the two decades have flown by after making the leap to go it alone.

David said: “The 20 years has gone so quickly, and it honestly doesn’t seem like that long at all, it’s crazy to think about.

“The Little Chef was up on the market just as I was finishing my horticulture course at university, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity.

READ MORE: 100 happy returns for Mary as Stevenston woman celebrates centenary

“When we first got the keys it had all been stripped out so looked a bit sad, but we could see the potential and we’ve made it work.

“Over the years we have invested, built the garden centre alongside the restaurant and we are currently looking if further expansion as an option.”

Abbie says the business is now a vital part of the community and regularly makes donations to local groups and schools.

She said: “We’ve got to know our regular customers over the years and we’ve been involved in all sorts of things in the community.

“We also get lots of passing trade from people going up the coast or on the ferry over to Arran, so it’s a good mix of people.”

David says that gardening habits have changed over the years, with a rise in environmentally-friendly practices such as peat-free compost.