Blyth's Nethery finds market for small-space planters during pandemic
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Larry Nethery of Blyth has recently found success with his woodworking products, especially since the pandemic struck early last year, and says he really has his wife Cathy and their children to thank.
Nethery worked for over 10 years at the salt mine in Goderich before stepping away. Now he works part-time with Art’s Landscaping on small engine repair, but spends most of his time in his home-based woodworking shop. What began as a hobby has since evolved into something that can easily keep him busy on most days.
He has been woodworking for years as a hobby. Nethery began by making Muskoka chairs, which he still makes today, churning out between 20 and 25 of them a year. He’s come a long way though, he says, looking back at some of the early chairs he made and realizing he still had a lot to learn.
Now, however, he’s got the process down and can name dozens of happy customers.
In the last year, however, it’s been his planters for small spaces that have been flying off the proverbial shelves.
The idea came from the couple’s daughter, who was looking to do some gardening, but had limited indoor space to do it at her home in Guelph. Nethery then got to work thinking up a way to help her make it happen. That resulted in narrow, tiered planters that he makes in both two- and four-foot models.
It turned out, however, that it wasn’t just Nethery children who were interested in tapping into their green thumbs over the course of the pandemic. The Netherys listed the planters on local Facebook buy-and-sell pages and they began selling faster than Nethery could make them.
The pandemic really fueled the sales last spring, Nethery said. He’s still making them when he can, but with the crunch on lumber being felt across the province, he says he’s finding it harder to get his hands on materials.
Even while still working part-time, Nethery said it’s not uncommon for him to spend about four hours in the shop every day. Last spring, however, when demand was at its highest, he said he would often spend between eight and 12 hours a day in the shop.
The two-foot planters have been selling for $70, while the four-foot planters were listed at $80. That was, however, before the price of lumber went on the rise. Nethery says it’s risen by about 10 per cent since the beginning of 2021, which wasn’t something he’d seen before.
As for other work, Nethery said he’s at the direction of Cathy and their children, saying he’s willing to try creating something new whenever they need it.
To find one of Nethery’s creations, keep your eyes peeled on local buy-and-sell Facebook pages, as he posts products for sale whenever he’s had the time and the materials to make them.