All the cold, the snow and more snow of this past winter likely translates into a lot of yard and home repairs for Long Islanders — and that may not be such a bad thing for home improvement and gardening businesses.
This week, at least two major retailers are kicking off what they hope will be a strong spring with sales Thursday through the weekend. Home Depot stores are offering a number of deals for its second spring Black Friday event and Hicks Nurseries Inc. in Westbury also is planning to run sales of as much as 40 percent off on certain items.
“A lot of folks have bushes destroyed by the weight of snow and ice as well as gutters, roofing,” said Jim Kane, Home Depot’s northern division president. “Even though it’s still colder than it was last year, those are the things you see picking up rapidly.”
Tightly packed snow stayed longer than usual, split hedges and ruined lawns. And snow plowing likely was the main culprit for crushed flower beds, said Doug Akerley, vice president of operations for Hicks Nurseries.
“After a winter like that, the biggest thing is the influx of color,” Akerley said. “People have really had it with being stuck in a cave for the winter. They are usually looking for a quick fix in the spring this time of year, and pansies are probably the biggest, most exciting thing.”
While home improvement and gardening businesses saw large home and yard projects drop during the recession, many consumers still invested their money — however cautiously — in sprucing up their homes, industry experts said.
Consumer confidence also is showing signs of returning, Akerley said. Those with jobs are no longer worried that they may be laid off and have been showing interest in bigger home projects. In response, Hicks has started a new landscaping division.
This weekend, soil, fertilizer and seeds will be big sellers, but those are not the only items retailers hope to sell. They will be promoting patio furniture, planters, gardening equipment and grills.
As Kane explained, “the Black Friday through Christmas shopping season is to department stores what April 1 through Memorial Day is to us.”
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