Plumber Geoff Burke had a great idea to make underground drainage pipe the star of Halloween, by cutting and painting it to create candy chutes for front-porch railings to deliver physically distanced goodies to trick or treaters.
Burke, a former George Brown student in the Construction Trades Techniques program, owns Watermark Plumbing Services in Toronto.
Updated public health measures meant demand for the chutes dropped off — provincial guidelines strongly advise against trick-or-treating in COVID-19 hotspots including Toronto — but pre-orders for Burke’s idea still managed to raise an incredible $17,000 for the Daily Bread Food Bank.
“It was a lot of fun,” Burke said. His two-year-old daughter and a four-year-old friend had fun sending items down the chute.
Smart social media promotion
While Burke’s candy chute idea gained a lot of attention in the Toronto news, he’s also made a name for himself with a smart social media strategy. He posts plumbing tips and advice for homeowners in Toronto neighbourhood Facebook groups.
“I thought it would be great to empower people to make the decision to call someone in or to give it a try themselves when it comes to their plumbing problems,” he said. “If they do call someone in, they know what to watch out for and what questions to ask.”
Burke said he aims to become the trusted name in the area for plumbing through his use of social media.
When asked how business is going Burke said, “Great!”
With many people now spending more time at home due to the pandemic, they’re apparently taking care of plumbing issues.
“Since the pandemic started,” Burke said, “our sales have grown 40 to 50 per cent.”