Houston Heights is home to Hydroshack Hydroponics – a full-service hydroponics retailer who prides themselves in the firsthand knowledge they have imparted to their customers over the last 10 years of business.
Sprouting from a small hydroponics start up in the front office of their warehouse, Hydroshack has since grown into the biggest store of their kind in Houston, dealing in high end soils & nutrients, lights, and accessories for hydroponic growing. They deal in primarily indoor grows for all gardening needs but added in hemp as the industry cropped up in Texas. The owner, Chris Powers, always knew some form of legalization would happen in the state and built the company up to be a known entity when that time came.
Following the passing of the hemp bill, his business was revived having been in competition with big online retailers. What sets Hydroshack apart is their solid client base they’ve built and the fact that they have become a destination with their own fully licensed in-house grow operation that serves as a firsthand tool to both learn and teach about growing the crop with hydroponics. They do not grow to harvest but simply provide a live setup of a handful of plants where customers can experience what they sell in a functional setting.
The majority of Hydroshack’s clientele is based in the greater Houston area with about 10% comprised of online retail and customers they draw in from nearby states and other Texas cities like San Antonio and Dallas. As Oklahoma passed legislation to legalize cannabis, their smaller retailers began running out of products and began coming into Texas to restock. It also serves as a hub to their Louisiana neighbors who do not receive as much internal support of the industry and cross over into Texas for a more pleasurable shopping experience.
Indoor grows allow for a more controlled setting and cut out many of the external variables that have led the initial outdoor growing season in Texas to get off to a rough start such as unpredictable weather and terrain, pests, nutrient and pH balance, and varying climate zones affecting the harvest window. Powers and his crew caution new clients with big outdoor grow plans to consider indoor operations as well as start small with 10-100 plants as they’ve seen firsthand the excitement turn big investments into big failures quickly. The team works to teach people how to grow, that there is science behind it, and how to utilize the products they carry to cultivate an operation best suited for their own personal needs.
The two most important factors in an indoor hydroponics grow according to Hydroshack is climate control and lighting, both requiring the biggest investment. Many growers underestimate the importance of temperature and humidity control disregarding seeing the need for mini-splits and dehumidifiers. The secondary setup decisions like soil type or coco coir, nutrients, pest control, etc. are available in store to most variables and involve more personal preferences behind the choices. The staff at Hydroshack Hydroponics provides knowledgeable consulting to get people started down the right path with growing hemp and building a foundation to create a customer-retailer relationship, not just a sale.
With so many varying methods and opinions on growing as well as such regional diversity in the agriculture, the online case studies do not always fully translate to one particular growing situation. Hydroshack starts from the basics with new clients and custom develops a growing plan based on their own personal needs. The process can get intricate and in the interest of investing in the growth and success of their customers they work not to overwhelm in technique or investment. These relationships often lead to a reciprocal benefit learning directly from customer experiences as well. Powers cautions new growers to be patient and take their time, making sure not to rush into big decisions and big risks; there is plenty of time and opportunity to tap into the cannabis industry and be successful without overstretching and potentially losing everything.
Another thing Powers and his team have found is that farmers tend to have the agricultural background with crops like soy but find transitioning to a flowering plant a bit different as far as the technique, external factors and the market itself. They advise them to start on a manageable, small test environment as well and build on that to grow success. The majority of their clients choose to farm out of a small indoor grow tent and range into standard room sizes to warehouses which they foresee the popularity of exponentially growing when full legalization finally happens.
Transitioning from indoor to outdoor grows is a careful process that involves careful cloning and propagation as well as nutrient balance to get the baby plants sprouted and to size to transfer outside for higher success. In this window in between the transition is where Hydroshack comes in with a lot of their consulting at the next level.
Building and nurturing these relationships has allowed this Houston homegrown business to thrive and continue to support the local grow community with it – an instance of patience and opportunity paying off in their own growth.
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