New England Hydroponics to Bring Indoor Gardening Expertise to Maine

SANFORD, Maine — A new garden supercenter is set to open at Sanford Plaza later this month.

New England Hydroponics, a Massachusetts-based company that chose Sanford for its first Maine expansion, will occupy the same 13,500 square foot space that until 2016 housed the Save-A-Lot supermarket at 1247 Main Street. It’s right next to Marden’s.

While there are nurseries, hardware stores and supermarket chains that sell gardening supplies in Sanford, New England Hydroponics carries items that other locations don’t, said chairman and owner Ethan Holmes.

“The biggest distinction will be the people we have here and our expertise,” Holmes said during a Wednesday visit to the site. “We’re really going to be able to help people get what they need. We have many products that you won’t see at big box retailers. »

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From left, President Ethan Homles and Store Manager Nick Bianchine, pictured here Wednesday, September 15, 2021, are excited about the opening of New England Hydroponics in Sanford, Maine later this month.

According to Holmes, this would include many more materials and nutrients – products related to organic and indoor gardening and hydroponics, which involve growing using various resources other than soil.

“You’re bringing water and nutrients to the plant, so you’re using a lot less space,” Holmes said. “A lot of commercial growers are more interested in that – it’s about growing more in a smaller space, more efficiently.”

The store was taking shape on Wednesday afternoon, with a few shelves installed and large bundles of soil placed on several pallets. Holmes said the products should arrive and be placed throughout the store within a week or two.

The store is creating four new jobs in the community, with the possibility of creating more in the future, according to Holmes. Nick Bianchine will manage the store.

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“We’re going to be here to definitely serve the community and have gardening expertise that other places won’t have,” Bianchine said. “We want to meet the needs of people here who are avid indoor and hydroponic gardeners who don’t really have a place nearby…We’re here to meet the needs of growers big and small.”

The store will be open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

From left, Store Manager Nick Bianchine and President Ethan Homles, pictured here Wednesday, September 15, 2021, are excited about the opening of New England Hydroponics in Sanford, Maine later this month.

Currently, the company has four stores, all located in Massachusetts: Marlborough, Southampton, Auburn and Seekonk. The main office is at the Marlborough location.

“It’s store number five,” Holmes said.

Holmes started New England Hydroponics as an internet-based company in 2002, right after graduating from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. It opened its first store at the Southampton site in 2007. He added that the business knew it wanted to expand into Maine at some point.

“There’s a really good market here for indoor gardening,” he said. “There are a lot of producers here.”

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Holmes said the company specifically wanted to come to southern Maine because of its proximity to Massachusetts. Sanford is a good site for a new store because it’s inland where more growers and farmers are, he added.

“Not too many people are setting up a farm in York Beach or Wells,” he said.

Sanford-Springvale Chamber of Commerce President Rick Stanley said New England Hydroponics is likely to attract buyers from across the region, as is Marden’s.

“I see this new and unique business bringing customers to Sanford who may or may not have shopped here before, creating opportunities for other local businesses to benefit as well,” he said.

While the exact date to open later this month is yet to be determined, there is one spot on the calendar that is set for certain: a grand opening celebration is scheduled for Saturday, November 6, from 10 a.m. at 16 o’clock. The public is invited to the party, which will include several vendors, samples and a raffle.