Digger Dan and his ‘Tasty Tom’ tomatoes

‘Digger Dan’, has been Dan’s nickname from the beginning of his career at The Warehouse. In 1997 his Merchandise team gave him this nickname and it has remained with him throughout his career with The Warehouse.

After starting his retail career in a Garden Centre at the young age of 12, his passion for people and gardening grew. Dan later bought the same Garden business when he was 19 and then sold it to travel to England. On his return to New Zealand in 19997, he was contacted by The Warehouse to develop the green gardening and dry gardening category which was a new market for The Warehouse at that stage. Dan helped develop this category and today The Warehouse has a 20% market share in this category.

In 2004 Dan left The Warehouse and ran a large plant growing business, which he sold six years later. He then returned to The Warehouse to again run the gardening category. Dan said “It was a great opportunity but it was really the culture that made me want to return, it was all about the people”.  Dan is now the Lead Category Manager for The Warehouse Gardening department. He works with his team of seven to ensure that product, price and promotional activity are managed daily. He told us “My favourite part about working at The Warehouse is the people, People are the big carrot for me. I enjoy working with my team and delivering great product for customers while continuously growing the business. Also, the freedom to work around my family life while still managing my responsibilities at The Warehouse is a huge benefit.”

Dan has been involved in various community gardening projects over the years. He has been a part of The Warehouse Schools Garden challenge where 11 schools participated and created 22 vege bins between them. Dan was responsible for judging the best themed vege garden and there are prizes for the best school. Dan says “As New Zealand’s largest retailer we have the ability to support New Zealand’s communities by delivering great prices and supporting local charity projects.” Recently he also contributed to The Warehouse Group Gala dinner which was raised $375,000 to tackle childhood obesity through initiatives such as the ‘Garden to Table’ by arranging for each table at the gala dinner to have herb pots that the attendees could take home.

This spring Dan is looking forward to getting out into the garden and planting his favourite plant-tomato.  He says “It’s a challenge to get them ready before Christmas. Challenge accepted!” Dan tells us “I prefer the ‘tasty tom’ as it is the sweetest in the world. But I also love ‘Superbeef steak’ as it is big and juicy, they are great to use in sauces and relishes”. Dan’s top tip for spring planting is to “feed your plants and soil to the get the maximum out of the plants, always remember a happy plant is a good producing plant.”

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