Kelly Rhead, owner of Absolute Hydroponics, is the first to admit he wasn’t much of a gardener before he opened his Oakdale storefront but he’s committed to learning about this booming business that has sprung from the most unlikely of places.
There seems to be a surge in community interest in growing the vegetables and fruits that grace the family table but in an urban environment, such as the Bay Area, space to grow your garden is a definite issue. Enter the hydroponic age where people are finding ways to maximize their apartment space to incorporate their summer and winter garden.
And the rage has infiltrated the little hamlet of Oakdale.
But wait you say, Oakdale is situated in rich agricultural soil unlike the concrete jungle of the city.
Yes, but not everyone has a few acres to play with and many houses are built on very tight lots with neighbors within touching distance of one another, which leaves little room for an expansive garden.
That’s where Absolute Hydroponics comes in.
“If you don’t have the room in your yard, then this is the way to go. It’s very popular in San Francisco. I have new customers everyday and everybody leaves happy,” Rhead said of his newest venture.
Soil, nutrients and gardening supplies aren’t Rhead’s usual forte but after selling his trucking company of 12 years after the construction industry took a fall and the economy took a nosedive, Rhead knew he needed to diversify. A friend had ventured into the gardening game and found a thriving business.
Rhead, a Waterford resident, thought Oakdale with its rich agricultural roots, would be a good central location to start.
He wasn’t wrong. Thus far, he says, things are good and business is growing.
“I wanted to do something interesting and this is all new to me so I’ve enjoyed learning something new. And there’s so much to learn. I learn a lot from my customers.”
Rhead sells a lot of organic-based nutrients as well as a lot of nutrients geared towards flower gardening, such as orchids.
“People want to start growing their own stuff because they want to know where it came from,” Rhead said. “I think people are really starting to care about what they’re putting on the table.”
By far one of his best sellers is the Fox Farm products, which is a soil and fertilizer company but he’s always looking for what the customers need and want.
Absolute Hydroponics is located at 509 Armstrong Way, Ste. A in Oakdale.
For more information, call 845-1000.