These are certainly uncertain times. It seems like rules are constantly changing on who can stay open, what they can sell and, ultimately, what is essential.

Industry leaders and consultants, greenhouse growers, nursery managers, independent garden center owners and garden enthusiasts are making the case that plants are an essential part of our everyday lives. To their governments, and their customers, the green industry is spreading the word that all plants, not just edible plants, are necessary for our health and well-being.

In uncertain times, people are turning to what comforts them. They’re going back to the basics. Whether it’s the security of a homegrown food supply, the joy of cultivating a new houseplant or the satisfaction that comes from tending their own gardens, people are rediscovering what’s truly important to them. And that’s the perfect time to build your community and your brand.

When consumers are re-evaluating what matters to them, make sure they think of plants. And that when they think of plants, they think of you.

As columnist Leslie Halleck said in a recent webinar, now is not the time to give up your market voice or your market share. Now is the time to double down and capture a new customer, a new audience or a new demographic.

This is a prime time to up your marketing game. Whether you’re still operating at the moment or not, there are opportunities to find. It could be a new marketing strategy; it could be new delivery options or more shopping options on your website. Or, it could be a time to reassess parts of your business model so that you can come back stronger than ever when things go back to normal.

No one knows what the economy will look like once this is all over. We can expect that wallets will be a little lighter and purse strings will be a little tighter. But, just as during the Great Recession, that will mean that more folks are staying home. What better way to spend time at home than in the garden?

If you can seize that market and carve out a piece of the pie now, it could have a lasting positive impact on your business for many years to come. There's a huge opportunity to capture new markets. And while times are tough right now, hopefully that will be a silver lining for the future.

Kate Spirgen, Editor | kspirgen@gie.net | 216-393-0277