Digital presence allows Rooted Plant World to grow
In 2022, Tracy Root found out about Digital Main Street, a program combining grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario alongside partners to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities and plan for the digital future.
For Tracy Root, nurturing is innate. While that spurred a career in nursing, it’s not necessarily people that she’s drawn to – it’s plants. “I’ve always been good with plants… I wasn’t the type of person to buy a bigger plant,” says the owner of Rooted Plant World garden centre in London. “Even in vegetable gardens, I like to plant the seeds and watch them grow.”
There’s a creativity to horticulture – a satisfaction in nurturing, really – that has always held Root’s interest. “Even while I was nursing, I wanted to open a garden centre.” And she almost did just before COVID-19 hit. Root says she was on the cusp of leasing space but it fell through, a mixed blessing in hindsight.
She spent three years building her business online before opening a physical location for Rooted Plant World in September 2022. She runs the business with her husband who designs and builds the plant stands sold in the shop.
It felt like a dream to finally have a brick-and-mortar shop, says Root, and the community responded well to the new garden centre and plant care store. “I love nature so much… I’ve always been an outdoorsy person which is why the shop’s slogan is ‘Bring Nature Indoors’ – it makes you feel happy when you have plants in your house… it’s a little connection to nature.”
Root doesn’t use pesticides, opting to raise the plants organically with beneficial bugs and lots of hands-on care. “I have hundreds of plants to take care of so I have to monitor everything and make sure there are no signs of any pests that I don’t want lingering around.”
A big part of her business is educating customers on plant care and troubleshooting different issues they might encounter. She also sells nature-oriented photos and prints she makes under the moniker The Tilted Tripod.
In 2022, Root found out about Digital Main Street, a program combining grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario alongside partners to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities and plan for the digital future.
She received digital training and a $2,500 grant through the program. Root says she’s tech-savvy enough to get the digital version of the business and its social media off the ground but the grant money has allowed her to invest in social media advertising for both Rooted Plant World and The Tilted Tripod. She’s also invested in some software for her business.
“I think that Google is the place I’m probably going to spend most of the money,” she says. “I ask 75% of the people where they heard about me and everybody says Google.” The Digital Main Street funding is allowing her to experiment with new forms of advertising and bring more people through the door. “I enjoy helping people,” she says. “You can go to Canadian Tire or Lowe’s and get a plant, but I am constantly monitoring (and nurturing) my plants… it’s definitely a specialty – a lot of people walk in here and I see them touching the plants because they don’t think they’re real.”