New England Hydroponics bringing indoor gardening expertise to Sanford

A new gardening supercenter is expected to open at the Sanford Plaza later this month. New England Hydroponics, a Massachusetts-based company that has chosen Sanford for its first expansion into Maine, will occupy the same 13,500-square-foot space that had until 2016 been the home of the Save-A-Lot supermarket at 1247 Main Street. It’s right next door to Marden's.

While there are nurseries, hardware stores, and chain supercenters that sell gardening supplies in Sanford, New England Hydroponics offers items other places do not have, said President and Owner Ethan Holmes.

“The biggest distinction is going to 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 a lot of products that you’re not going to see at big-box retailers.”

According to Holmes, that would include a lot more materials and nutrients — products related to organic and indoor gardening and hydroponics, which involve growing using assorted resources other than soil. “You’re bringing the water and nutrients to the plant, so you’re using a lot less space,” Holmes said. “A lot of commercial growers get more into that — it’s to grow more in a smaller space, kind of more efficiently.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the store was taking shape with some shelving set up and large packs of soil resting on several palettes. Holmes said products were expected to arrive and be placed throughout the store within the next week or two.

According to Holmes, the store is creating four new jobs in the community, with the possibility of more in the future. Nick Bianchine will manage the store. “We’re going to be here to definitely serve the community and have an expertise in gardening that other places aren’t going to have,” Bianchine said. “We want to cater to the people here who are avid indoor and hydroponic gardeners that do not really have a place close to go. We’re here to cater to growers large and small.”

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