The conversation between Frank and Karin at the office coffee machine changed from "Nice weather today, huh?" to "Holy sh*t, it’s hot today, huh?". This conversation is typical of the effects of climate change… The trend indicates that summers are only getting drier. All while this summer, you were already looked at suspiciously when you were watering your front garden with your garden hose. With an expression that said, "don't you know there's a drought?". An annoying expression. Besides, it looks like hot days will only get hotter. And the moment it gets so hot that you can measure the outside temperature with your meat thermometer, barbecuing just isn't fun anymore. And then there is the excessive rainfall, which, in its most extreme form, caused parts of our country to flood in the summer of 2021. Rainfall that, in a less extreme form, caused submerged playgrounds, flooded garages and sewers to overflow. With dire consequences. If you're reading this and you're thinking: great Kees, but do you have any good news? Then let me tell you that the above things can all be turned into great opportunities for the entrepreneur at the garden centre. After all, you have that clever drip irrigation system with timer that allows the customer to water plants more effectively (and at night), saving them water and angry looks from the neighbour. You have the knowledge that plants contribute enormously to heat dissipation (whereas stone absorbs and retains heat) and you have wonderful ideas for plants on balconies and roofs that can make the façade of an apartment building or a flat roof a lot more green. Moreover, you possess the information on which garden measures contribute to better drainage and you are probably the proud seller of the latest innovative rainwater storage systems. You have all of this, but the customer doesn't know that. You have this knowledge and information, but your customers do not. How do they get this knowledge? Where will they look for solutions? The only answer should be; they should come to you, of course! But then the question arises: how do you bring these solutions to your customers and claim expertise? Well, for instance through a climate square, demos and proper instore communication. And most importantly: expert staff who can really help customers. Seize the extreme weather and turn it into an opportunity. Inspire people and become part of the conversation at the coffee machine. Frank: ‘So, that prolonged drought, huh, my lawn has completely withered thanks to the water consumption limitation’. Karin: ‘Well not for me, I bought a watering system at my garden centre, which works great. So for once the grass isn't greener in my neighbour's garden’. OR Frank: ‘Holy sh*t, it’s hot today, huh?’. Karin: ‘Well, I got a tip at my garden centre: I turned my backyard into an oasis of plants and it's lovely there now’. OR Frank: ‘So, extreme rainfall last night, huh?’. Karin: ‘Yes, quite practical though, because all my rainwater tanks are full again. I can use it to water my plants for another few weeks’.

Handtekening Kees de Haan

Kees de Haan, founder of De Haan Group