Nicholas Bott was looking to expand the retail side of his water-focused landscaping business, the Pond Clinic Water Garden Centre, but he was running into a problem: there were few suitable properties for sale and those that were on the market were too costly for what he wanted to do.
Images of a water garden previously built by Planterra.
By Jacob Serebrin
His solution was to expand his offering and ‚Äúbuild a business model that would support‚ÄĚ the price of the land.
‚ÄúWe explored different options‚ÄĚ before deciding on a greenhouse that would provide a more ‚Äúexperiential retail environment‚ÄĚ for his customers and could generate additional revenue using a caf√© and by hosting corporate events and weddings, he says.
He says the concept is modeled on a Michigan-based business called Planterra, whose owner worked with Mr. Bott on a landscaping project at Rideau Hall.
Construction on the new centre, called Aquatopia, started last Wednesday. The cost of the whole project is around $2.5 million.
Mr. Bott says he expects construction to be finished by the end of July.
He says the new expansion will allow the business, which normally closes between December and February, to stay open year-round.
Hosting events isn‚Äôt just a way to bring in additional revenue. Mr. Bott says he hopes it will also help to drive interest in, and boost sales of, water gardens, his company‚Äôs signature offering.
‚ÄúOne of the challenges with water gardens is that people don‚Äôt know what a water garden is,‚ÄĚ he says. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs kind of an odd thing to describe.‚ÄĚ
Water gardens include things like backyard ponds, natural swimming pools and other landscaping features focused around aquatic plants.