October 2020 | vol. iii, #10




Michael Perry is a horticulturalist based in the U.K. known as Mr. Plant Geek. With more than 18 years of experience, he's well-versed in how to help homeowners bring the outdoors inside.

And after the surge of interest in gardening during the pandemic, he also hopes to provide inspiration for retailers who might be looking to help customers enjoy greenery year-round.

“Having houseplants around us is good for our well-being,” says Perry. “Not only do they purify the air to some degree, but they give an extra dimension to décor and houseplant owners enjoy the sense of purpose that houseplants offer.”

On his blog, he’s encouraged readers to “turn COVID into growvid.” With so many stuck at home in the early days of the pandemic, he felt it was important to promote more than just gardening—it was an opportunity for people to think creatively about what they could grow themselves even in small spaces like a windowsill or balcony.

With the great demand dealers across the country saw in the early days for items like seeds and soil, Perry argues home improvement dealers should consider keeping indoor growing supplies fully stocked as we transition to a new season with many still working from home for the foreseeable future.

“Not only is there a demand, but by incorporating houseplants into your offerings, it means there’s an option to entice customers into your store,” he says.




Brandon Ford, manager of Albertsons Home Center, a TIMBER MART dealer in Parskville, B.C., says he predicts COVID-19 will lead to a fundamental change in our communities. And he sees an opportunity for retailers in small towns as some major employers are now considering making working from home a permanent change.

“Are these people going to continue to work from home in their 900-square-foot condos? Do they have to be in the downtown city cores or are they going to sell and move out to the smaller towns where they can have a house and a property and still do their work the same?”

He adds that independents in smaller communities can use this to their advantage, but it’s important they stay competitive. E-commerce sales are also up throughout the pandemic—however, online sellers aren’t the ones funding local sports teams and events.

His advice?

“Keep your store in the eye of your public, in the eye of your customers, and remind them why they spend their dollar with you rather than these online stores and I think we’ll all get through it OK.”




Lowe’s Canada has launched a new program for contractors at its corporate Lowe’s, RONA and Reno-Depot stores. VIPpro was designed to improve the purchasing experience for home improvement and construction professionals.

Launched in mid-September, the new program includes features such as pro-exclusive discounts, a price-match guarantee, priority curbside pick-up, flexible on-site delivery and a full-year return policy.

At the same time as the program launch, Lowe’s Canada debuted a complementary app, which allows customers to access their purchasing data, special offers and profile information. This fall, the company plans to start presenting customized offers based on purchasing history and preferences.

“We are confident that this new program will help us provide our pro customers with a hassle-free purchasing experience and added value, bringing us one step closer to our goal of becoming the number-one destination for home improvement and construction professionals in Canada,” says Tony Cioffi, senior vice-president of sales for Lowe’s Canada.