Woodlawn garden centre grows with the help of Power NI

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Woodlawn's Garvin Wylie and Emily Fair, Commercial Marketing Executive at Power NI, are pictured at the Carryduff-based garden and lifestyle complex

Carryduff-based garden and lifestyle complex, Woodlawn, has set up a new online shopping facility on the back of annual savings of £1,800 following grant aided LED lighting installation throughout its main showroom, gift and clothing shop and popular Maple Café outlet.

The centre is supplied by Power NI, who advised on and helped facilitate a NISEP (Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Programme) grant to part-fund the cost of installing LED lighting.

Woodlawn director, Robin Wylie, explains, “Not only does LED lighting help us save cash as bulbs use less electricity and have a longer lifespan, but the brighter and excellent quality of light creates a much more welcoming ambience in store and ultimately an improved customer experience.

“Interestingly the higher lumen rating of LED bulbs means that houseplants really thrive. During the installation phase we noticed the difference between those plants housed under the old lighting and others bathed in the new LED lights. So, as well as saving money, we have happier indoor plants.”

Founded in 1974 by Robin’s dad, Garvin Wylie, Woodlawn was Northern Ireland’s first garden centre and the family run business has continued to expand, develop and adapt to changing lifestyles, new technology and economic impacts – both anticipated and totally unexpected.

“During the first lockdown last Spring, we concentrated on click and collect and local delivery services taking orders via telephone, online and through our own social media channels. When we were allowed to open our doors to customers, we were able to reap the benefits of people falling back in love with their gardens and wanting to create interesting outdoor spaces – particularly as travelling abroad was, and still is, challenging.

“During January, when nurseries and garden complexes are traditionally a little quieter, we spent the time working on a new online offering. At the moment, we are using an off-the-shelf system from the States and are only able to include core gardening products and some fruit and vegetables. Customers can also buy outdoor furniture, birdcare, BBQs, outdoor pots, lawncare and tools online. We hope to add in seeds, bedding plants and potentially clothing later down the line. Our strategy is to start small, review and evaluate customer needs and then develop further. Ultimately, we’d like to build our own bespoke online shop.”

Emily Fair, Commercial Marketing Executive at Power NI, said, “It’s fantastic that Woodlawn has enjoyed the many great benefits of installing energy saving technology, as well as being able to re-invest their savings back into growing their business. At Power NI, we have a long-term commitment to sustainability, and we’re delighted to be able to offer NISEP-funded grants to businesses and farms in Northern Ireland.”

To register your interest for NISEP’s 2021/2022 grant scheme, visit: powerni.co.uk/businessgrants