North Cambridge Hydroponics Shop Helps Customers Grow Their Own… Stuff

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A medical marijuana dispensary called Sage Cannabis is coming to the city soon—but in the meantime, the staff at GYOStuff is having some fun and making some headlines with its current promotion, which promises customers “Free Pot With Qualifying Purchase.”

Obviously, GYO is giving away receptacles in which to grow your greenery, not dishing out free sticky icky. Because while GYOStuff is a purveyor of hydroponic equipment geared for closet grow rooms and basement horticulturalists—and while they aren’t at all shy about their pro-pot stance—the shop offers products and classes for green thumbs of all kinds. We caught up with GYOwner Eli Constantinou to learn a little more about this mom and pot—er, pop—shop.

Scout Cambridge: What made you decide to open GYOStuff?

Eli Constantinou: We opened six years ago with the intent of being able to help people grow their own—whether that’s medicinal or culinary herbs, whatever kind of produce or flowers or anything they wanted to grow.

SC: And have you always just had a passion for greenery?

EC: You could say that [laughs]. In the past, we’ve grown everything from tomatoes to cucumbers to all kinds of lettuce to zucchini and squash to melons.

About seven years or so ago, we realized how easy it was for a family to start producing their own food. At the same time, we realized how popular hydroponics was becoming elsewhere in the country, and at that point, my wife and I decided that we would give this a whirl, and see if we could encourage and help other people to do the same.

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SC: And it seems like there’s been interest.

EC: Yeah, yeah. Growing interest. What’s awesome is, a lot of schools are putting hydroponics into their programs now in their science or math classes. It’s wonderful to see kids get involved and start to learn how stuff is grown.

SC: What can first-time gardeners expect to find at GYO?

EC: We’ve got everything that a typical gardener would need, from soil to pots and containers to fertilizers, all the way through to the most complex gardens, and what you’d need on the inside, whether it’s lighting or pumps, that kind of stuff. We also have lots of hydroponic equipment and nutrients, fertilizers, drip irrigation kits, fertilizers—all kinds of things.

SC: What are some of the challenges of running such a niche business?

EC: There’s all kinds of challenges, but they’re typical, I’d say, to any businesses, whether it’s this shop or another small business. If you’ve got a good idea and you position  yourself well, which we hope we’re doing, business will continue to grow.

SC: Who would you say is a typical GYOStuff customer? Or is there one?

EC: We have all kinds of customers, from the neighborhood grower all the way through to lots of schools who shop here, lots of institutions. We really run the gamut, from the small window gardener to the closet or basement gardener to the greenhouse grower.

SC: Any other insights from your hydroponic past?

EC: We noticed that most people are kind of nervous when it comes to the subject of hydroponics, or even indoor gardening, as far as what’s involved. It’s really simple, and it does not have to be complex. That’s the one thing we find ourselves repeating to all our new customers: It’s as complex as you want it to be.

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