Still more competition; and a new top
quality liquid fertilizer!
just on June 6, but rumoured for several weeks--in fact for years--the
retail garden sector just gained another fierce competitor when U.S.-based
Lowe’s home improvements announced it would open its first Canadian store in
Toronto in 2007. In fact its plans call for six to ten new stores in the
Toronto area by 2007. Already a Canadian president has been announced in the
person of Doug Robinson. If anything, this expansion likely was brought
about by the brilliant showing Home Depot has had in Canada in the last
decade, under the leadership of Annette Verschuren, president. HD has tried
out many new ideas here in Canada--some not yet fully implemented in the
In reading through all the press reports, both here in Canada, and in the
U.S. I found no reference to what brought about the announcement at this
time, except as I noted above.
I chatted with Nick Cowling, PR director for Home Depot in Toronto who said
that Annette and her top managers had talked about little more on both June
6 and 7. Nick said the decision to move north may well have resulted from
shareholder pressure on top management to expand beyond the company’s 1,100
U.S. stores. He pointed out that while press reports were speculating that a
group of real estate advisers had already selected a large number of
potential sites, it may well be difficult for Lowe’s locate good sites for
new stores. “After all, if the site is that good, we would be there now,”
said Nick. We also discussed some of the ‘fiascos’ that both Home Depot and
other big box stores have faced in trying to open a store. In Home Depot’s
case, one in Toronto at the eastern lake-shore and one in Vancouver’s
Kitsilano community come to mind!
The other major question is will Lowe’s make their presence known in Canada
much more quickly by acquiring either part or all of the Rona chain (530
stores of varying sizes)? Rona has basically gained its present second
position in the category by acquiring its competitors and could now face
that fate itself. Sources in the U.S. indicate Lowe’s would not likely want
anything other than the largest box stores.
Meanwhile in Scarborough’s Home Depot head office, they are hard at work
with 18 new store openings this year. And, they now have a third version. In
the last two years they have opened a smaller store version, using just
80,000 square feet and now plan a 60,000 square feet version.
A significant factor is that the Canadian market is significantly different
than that in the U.S. Down there they do not have anything like the national
chain of Canadian Tire stores, nor anything like the national chain of
independently-owned Home Hardware stores.
The one thing I predict is much greater competition for garden centres--if
in doubt just ask Ron MacLean who was president of White Rose Crafts &
Nursery Sales Ltd. when things started going bad; and one prime reason was
the infiltration of the big box stores. And now there will be another one!
Occasionally in this column I like to bring the trade’s attention to new
products I think are worthy of their handling in their garden centres. That
is the case with a new liquid fertilizer, Liquid Growth, from a
company called BioTLC.
Liquid Growth is a premium liquid lawn fertilizer and plant food system with
a proprietary blend of organic components and chelated trace minerals.
Technically, Liquid Growth products are created as a hot mix, which means
heat is produced by the mixing of the ingredients. The heat then binds all
the elements together so each and every drop is the same. Other liquid and
soluble fertilizers are manufactured using low quality cold mixes that tend
to separate out, causing variations in quality.
This development was made possible by the newly patented carbon molecule
that holds four times its weight in water.
In addition to that superior manufacturing process, Liquid Growth products
are made from food grade ingredients, rather than fertilizer grade. This
simply means no heavy metals, contaminants or salts are present. In order to
understand fully, the advantages of this new system, it is necessary to take
a look at a bit history.
The development of these Liquid Growth fertilizers is the culmination of 15
years of research into biological/ecological methods of sustainable
agriculture. This would not have been possible without the outstanding world
renowned research done by Wm. Albrecht, PhD and Carey Reams, PhD. Both of
these eminent scientists considered calcium to be the king of nutrients in
the soil. They declared all other minerals must be balanced to calcium,
irrespective of pH.
The myths surrounding pH as it applies to soil calcium levels still abound
today. Further research into calcium's role in plant health, disease
prevention and weed control would not have evolved without the work of
Albrecht and Reams. Today's scientists Arden Anderson, PhD and Elaine
Ingham, PhD continue the studies of balanced soil mineral profiles. Their
newest work examines the role of the soils’ microbiological activity and
soil nutrient avail-ability to plants. Liquid Growth’s Premium Release Lawn
Fertilizer along with their Liquid Calcium Lawn Food were developed to
stimulate the beneficial microbial life forms in soils and the subsequent
release of nutrients from the organic matter and soluble minerals. Healthy
soils = healthy plants = great lawns that are competitive to weeds and
resistant to disease.
The Liquid Growth System (fertilizer/calcium combination) has numerous
advantages over dry (salt) fertilizers and common liquid fertilizers. For
example: 1) less Premium Release Lawn Fertilizer is required because it is
al-ready in a soluble form ready for use by the lawn grasses;
2) the Premium Release phosphorus source is orthophosphate, which is
available to the plants even when the soil temperatures are below 18o C.
(65o F.); this is especially important first thing in the spring for getting
a lawn off to a quick start; 3) Premium Release moves down through the soil
better, because its organic components encourage grass to develop deep
roots; 4) under normal weather conditions there is no fertilizer runoff when
using BioTLC liquid products on a lawn 5) Liquid Growth's lower nitrogen
content and organic component encourages the nitrogen fixation bacteria that
exist in the soil to perform their natural function; excess nitrogen use has
been scientifically proven in university trials to be the cause of most lawn
diseases; 6) the top quality phosphorus content sup-plied in Premium Release
lawn fertilizer provides the nutrition needed for photosynthesis; increased
photosynthesis provides valuable plant sugars needed by the beneficial soil
microbes to proliferate, thereby overwhelming non-beneficial microbes so
diseases are controlled naturally; 7) Liquid Growth's organic component
stimulates deep root growth and therefore a natural thatch control; and
finally 8) Premium Release lawn fertilizer combined with Liquid Calcium Lawn
Food will grow more grass which is the natural way to control weeds.
BioTLC currently offers eight specific formulae including four for grass
(spring, summer, fall, and a package for the year) and four others for
flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees and an indoor mist.
Dealers are currently being signed and already well-known garden centres
such as Harpers in Ancaster, Woodhill in Thornhill and Agram in Oakville are
If you wish more information, get in touch with Brian Costello at
firstname.lastname@example.org or check out
their Web-site at www.liquidgrowth.com.