Hydroponics, the process of growing plants in sand, gravel or liquid with nutrients and no soil, is a draw to consumers because it can occur year-round with the appropriate tools, Raza said.
“They can control their harvest year round,” he said. “They can also harvest just about any fruit or vegetable with the exception of lettuce because that does need soil.”
The store is leasing 4,000 square feet at 50 Ecorse Road, Suite C in Ypsilanti.
Local indoor gardening enthusiasts should be pleasantly surprised to discover the store has an abundant supply of tools and accessories that would enable individuals to grow fresh crops from the comfort of their homes and businesses, Raza said.
“I believe there is a great demand,” Raza said. “People need a neighborhood store and a friendly and knowledgeable staff. I think people will appreciate our store and the help with their gardening needs. Those who are harvesting right now are coming to fulfill their needs.”
The store will sell more than 3,000 items, including various pesticides, soil, lighting control and fixtures, and accessories.
Raza said he is dedicated to offering competitive pricing and will match lower prices that customers may find at other businesses.
“We are open to customers about pricing,” he said. “We say that we could meet or beat any competitors’ price.”
Raza said he hoped to benefit from a “buy local” push as customers seek out indoor gardening supplies from local retailers instead of big-box stores.
“One of the major things and difference is that we are two different animals,” he said. ” Home Depot and Lowe’s don’t carry the type of products that we carry. We are specifically indoor gardening supplies, which means that Lowe’s and Home Depot aren’t even close. The type of soil that we carry, they don’t even have an idea about.”
He added: “We have premium quality products, and when I say premium, I mean that literally. I have not seen those items in any store. That’s definitely going to bring traffic and attract attention from customers.”
Raza said the idea to open the store came a year ago when he visited an out-of-state friend to help open a business.
“I met one of my friends in Charlotte, N.C., and he happened to find a store that he was trying to get for his accounting services and that store had indoor gardening supplies all over the place,” Raza said. “So we asked the landlord if there had been a store there for indoor gardening and he said yes. So we did a little digging into it and we found out it was probably a good idea to open that store and ended up turning that store into an indoor gardening supplies hydroponics store in North Carolina.”
Raza returned to Michigan and sought an area to open an indoor gardening store, and he settled on Ypsilanti as a good place to do business.
Currently, Raza has three employees but he expects that number to increase with the addition of a new store opening soon in Port Huron.
“If the business takes off, I will definitely be hiring more people,” he said. “I’m looking for someone who has retail and hydroponics background. I’m looking for people who are interact and friendly and who have fairly good knowledge about gardening.”
So far, Raza has seen a great amount of interest in his store and he has visited between 20 and 30 local restaurants that are curious about growing their own produce.
“They’re all willing to grow, especially tomatoes and peppers in home, inside and in front of customers to market that, ‘yes, we have fresh produce and we just hand pick your fruit and make it from there,'” he said. “I haven’t surveyed the individual homes, but the demand from the local restaurants and word is spreading. “
Feedback from the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor community has been overwhelming, Raza said.
“People are very, very excited,” he said. “I really want to let people know to come and try us. We are definitely going to satisfy their needs.”