Island Grower Supplies LLC (IGS) Waimanalo, Hawaii, is a locally-grown company that sells agricultural, nursery, and landscape supplies and equipment, and is a licensed contractor that specializes in greenhouse construction, design, repair, and maintenance.
In 1993, the company’s Founder, Fred Humphrey, built his first Agra Tech greenhouse on his farm in Waimanalo, and in 1996 started selling them in Hawaii. The largest Agra Tech greenhouse that IGS built was 300,000 sq. ft. for seed production, and the smallest was 18’ x 24’ for an orchid collection on Maui.
As a nursery owner presented with a troubling lack of product availability, Humphrey began looking for an alternative source, which led him to the mainland and eventually Agra Tech. “I owned a nursery and was frustrated with the local distributors not having inventory when I needed supplies,” he said. "One of the local nurseries wanted greenhouses, so I purchased four Agra Tech Thermolators and resold them for a profit.”
"Without professional builders on the Islands, the amount of time spent helping the customer with construction was consuming a lot of his and our time," he explained. “A good friend of mine was the only professional greenhouse builder I knew and trusted, so I started doing side jobs with him as I liked the change of pace and learning something new. He taught me things like layout and setting columns. He didn’t want the headaches associated with a large crew and the office side of running a business. The lack of professional builders was hindering greenhouse sales, so I hired him as my foreman, got my contractor’s license, and started building greenhouses. All of our profits were re-invested into tools and equipment, so we do not have to rely on rentals.”
As a veteran greenhouse grower who knows the agricultural scene in Hawaii like the back of his hand, Humphrey is well aware of the fact that locally grown crops are incredibly important for food security in the Islands. “We are very far from our sources of food, and if something should ever happen, we need to be able to produce more of our food right here. We currently only grow about 25% of our produce and import over $3 billion more. Why import a head of lettuce instead of growing it here? Much of the infrastructure for growing things like ornamentals have aged out and will need to be updated or replaced soon.”
Read the complete article at www.agratech.com.