Hardware Retailing

MAY 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | May 2017 114 Laura Matter Garden Hotline Manager, Tilth Alliance Seattle, Washington Laura Matter has been a practicing horticulturist for the past 30 years. During 10 years with Seattle City Light, she worked with her crew to replace and reduce pesticide use. Under her guidance, a large electrical station was registered as a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary in the state of Washington after being enhanced with native plants and birdhouses and using natural pesticide alternatives. Matter ran her own landscape maintenance business for 14 years and currently provides landscape consultations and urban farm tutoring. Here's what Matter says she wants from her local retailer. Products She Needs Urban farmers are very concerned about proper housing for animals, Matter says, so materials and knowledge that can help them in that regard are key. She highlights neighbors, property lines and predators, such as possums, in urban environments, as potential issues for urban farmers. "In Seattle, we still have coyotes in urban environments, so livestock needs to be protected," Matter says. "That means farmers are looking for waterers and feeders; they're looking for food; they're looking for warming lights and metal tubs to keep chicks in." A home improvement store doesn't need to always have chicken coops on site, but they should have materials for them to build the coops or be able to refer customers to a contractor who can handle the job. Access to straw is also important. Urban farmers tend to be looking for organic, clean straw with no herbicides. Matter cites a large market in decorative items, which might not be an obvious item to stock. For any livestock, their shelter in an urban environment is going to be part of a home's overall appearance, and farmers like to personalize and Urban Farmer

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