SMOKEY POINT — Those interested in starting their own indoor garden need not look too far for their supplies. Smokey Point’s Pro Grow is a new local business that supplies everything from lights to hydroponic systems needed for growing indoor plants and vegetables.
Pro Grow owners Robert Bayya and Alex Munday were neighbors while attending the University of Washington where Bayya studied business and Munday studied economics. They quickly learned that they shared a vision for owning a small business and decided to focus on indoor growing supplies.
“I am huge on sustainability,” said Bayya. “Right now, kids don’t know what real food is. If you ask them, they will say chicken nuggets, but to me that’s not food. Real food is grown, usually from the earth. I don’t know the last time I saw a star- or dinosaur-shaped chicken walking around. Our vision is to foster sustainability and help people with growing their own food and having their own garden.”
Bayya grew up with an agricultural background, which lends knowledge and experience to his business, and graduated from Marysville-Pilchuck High School in 2001.
“My grandfather raised cattle and we grew up on a farm,” he said.
Bayya is glad that the effort to grow your own food and buy local produce is taking off.
“I think the sustainability movement is very much alive,” he said. “Those were the first people who came around here to shop — organics growers and local farmers.”
The most popular plants and vegetables grown indoors are tomatoes, lettuce, basil, mint and peppers. “I have a gentleman who has a huge orchid collection,” said Bayya. “Specialty flowers are huge here too.”
Pro Grow offers a variety of sale items, but also donates some of its profits back into the community.
“I try to establish relationships with the community and our neighbors,” said Bayya. “We have donated money to support the Arlington High School cheerleaders, as well as sponsored an AHS student who races go-karts. We also have an art gallery, and we sell paintings from local artist Stefani Buell.”
Bayya noted that he also invests in the education of his employees and has attended sustainability conventions around the state. He also offered a one-hour beginning hydroponics class for customers.
“It’s surprising, but a lot of farmers don’t know about the new technology,” he said. “There’s also this thought that an indoor hydroponics garden is expensive, but it’s not any more costly than a soil garden. Another myth is that you can’t grow organically indoors, but you can. We carry both organic and synthetic nutrients here at our shop.”
Pro Grow offers free consultations for customers interested in starting an indoor garden.
“Every environment is different,” said Bayya. “We are more than happy to sit down and help put rooms together.”
For more information call Pro Grow at 425-999-7441 or log on to www.facebook.com/progrownw.