Letters

Letters 02-08-2016

Less Ageism, Please The January 4 issue of this publication proved to me that there are some sensible voices of reason in our community regarding all things “inter-generational.” I offer a word of thanks to Elizabeth Myers. I too have worked hard for what I’ve earned throughout my years in the various positions I’ve held. While I too cannot speak for each millennial, brash generalizations about a lack of work ethic don’t sit well with me...Joe Connolly, Traverse City

Now That’s an Escalation I just read the letter from Greg and his defense of the AR15. The letter started with great information but then out of nowhere his opinion went off the rails. “The government wants total gun control and then confiscation; then the elimination of all Constitutional rights.” Wait... what?! To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Well, that escalated quickly!”

Healthy Eating and Exercise for Children Healthy foods and exercise are important for children of all ages. It is important for children because it empowers them to do their best at school and be able to do their homework and study...

Mascots and Harsh Native American Truths The letter from the Choctaw lady deserves an answer. I have had a gutful of the whining about the fate of the American Indian. The American Indians were the losers in an imperial expansion; as such, they have, overall, fared much better than a lot of such losers throughout history. Everything the lady complains about in the way of what was done by the nasty, evil Whites was being done by Indians to other Indians long before Europeans arrived...

Snyder Must Go I believe it’s time. It’s time for Governor Snyder to go. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division are now investigating the Flint water crisis that poisoned thousands of people. Governor Snyder signed the legislation that established the Emergency Manager law. Since its inception it has proven to be a dismal failure...

Erosion of Public Trust Let’s look at how we’ve been experiencing global warming. Between 1979 and 2013, increases in temperature and wind speeds along with more rain-free days have combined to stretch fire seasons worldwide by 20 percent. In the U.S., the fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s...

Home · Articles · News · Features · The Grow Store
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The Grow Store

Robert Downes - November 29th, 2010
Let the Sun Shine: The Grow Store trips the light fantastic
By Robert Downes
If Paul Watson has a pair of green thumbs, it’s because he spent 31 years as a commercial indoor grower, raising basil under artificial lights in Benzie County for local restaurants.
“Indoor growing is a lot of fun,” he says. “My passion for this started out with plugging in my first light bulb in 1980.”
Today, Paul’s thumbs are getting even greener from a crop of dollars provided by customers at The Grow Store he owns with his wife Kim. At times, as many as 20-30 customers pack the store near Chum’s Corners, south of Traverse City, seeking high-quality equipment for indoor growing, as well as the Watsons’ advice.
“We are as surprised as anyone by our success,” he says of the business which got its start in April of 2009. “We’ve got a huge amount of inventory as well as the knowledge to share about indoor growing.”
In fact, things are going so well that the Watsons plan to open a new 10,000-square-foot showroom and warehouse in mid December a half-mile down the road. In addition to a wealth of organic gardening materials and lighting equipment (which are literally stacked to the ceiling in the present store), the new location will offer displays of growing plants, with both hydroponic and soil-based systems for the enlightenment of customers.

ORGANIC INTEREST
The Watsons are riding the crest of a boom of interest in indoor growing. In addition to the medical marijuana movement, their customers include people who are fired up about growing their own organic food. They also have customers who are members of the local bonsai and orchid-growing clubs, and even some who are interested in indoor growing as a therapy for seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
“I’m all about organic growing,” Watson says. “I have Krohn’s disease, so I try to eat organic as much as possible. Chemical fertilizers contain heavy metals that create diseases, since they don’t pass out of the body. So I advise my customers on better, organic options.”
Watson, 56, has pursued an organic diet for the past 25 years. He also ran a large, indoor basil-growing operation at the top of the hill in Benzonia for many years. Since his powerful lights could be seen shining down on the county jail and sheriff’s department at the bottom of the hill, he took care back then to invite the local prosecutor and cops in for a visit to check out his operation.
With that kind of background, he’s a powerhouse of knowledge. “I’m able to advise customers ranging from individuals who are starting indoor gardens, to businesses which have greenhouse issues,” he notes.
“A lot of people are confused about what’s involved in indoor growing,” he adds. “They don’t know how to set their rooms up, or how to handle ventilation. We’re all about education here.”
As an example, he recently worked with a couple of women who had started a business growing cherry tomatoes. When their agri-savvy partners abruptly left the business, the women found themselves with 700 tomato plants, but not the expertise to save their crop. Watson was able to steer them to a solution.

GROWING ISSUES
One thing that he and The Grow Store staff can’t discuss, however, is how to grow marijuana.
“I’m a medical marijuana patient myself and have my card, but we can’t offer seminars or give advice on anything that’s specifically about growing marijuana because that’s a violation of federal laws involving conspiracy and complicity issues,” he says. “That’s something for members of the compassion clubs to discuss, but here we talk tomatoes.”
Fortunately, there are plenty of other indoor growing topics to discuss. Peppers, for instance. “You wouldn’t believe how competitive pepper growers are,” Watson says.
There are also many organic growers in the region interested in producing their own fresh, chemical-free veggies and herbs. “We’re the only source for 100% organic nutrients north of Grand Rapids,” Watson says. “We feel good about it because I know personally that what goes into the body makes or breaks you.”
There’s also a technical aspect to indoor growing, which can involve either soil or hydroponic gardens. “We’ve got all of the equipment you could possibly think of, from hydroponic kits right out of the box to equipment for people with the McGyver mentality who want to do it their own way.”

BUILDER BONANZA
The success of the store has meant a mini-boom for local plumbers, electricians and contractors who are working to help set up indoor gardeners. Local businesses such as Home Depot, Menard’s and Lautner’s Irrigation have also benefited by supplying hardware needs.
The Watsons see every kind of customer imaginable: doctors, accountants, little old ladies interested in organic gardening, and of course, medical marijuana patients seeking to grow their own medicine.
One interesting development is the sale of indoor kits for people trying to alleviate the effects of seasonal affective disorder caused by Northern Michigan’s long, dark winter.
“Our lighting systems resupply natural light and vitamin D,” Watson says. “When people who have SAD spend a couple of hours in their grow rooms tending plants and loving them, it has a really positive effect. They come in here in January with the biggest smiles on their faces.”
Needless to say, the Watsons are thrilled with the prospect of their new showroom/warehouse, opening in mid-December, to be located at 90 N. US 31 South, next to Great Escapes.
 
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