So Many Hydro Shops, So Few Tomatoes To Show For It – May 13, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Terrence McNally

Eye Business Editor

It was just a couple of years ago that people would joke about Arcata’s burgeoning number of taco trucks. For a while, a new one appeared to pop up every month.

With the pending arrival of Northcoast Horticulture Supply at the former Arcata Color Center location on Fifth Street, A-town will finally have more grow shops than taco trucks. The downtown location is NHS’s fifth spot and first in Arcata after branching out through Eureka, McKinleyville, Fortuna and Crescent City.

When ACC owner Jerry King pulled out of the building and moved the paints into his Hensel’s Ace Hardware store last year, landlord (and original ACC owner) Bob Johnson joked that he probably wouldn’t rent to a hydroponic shop.

But who’d blame the change of course? As the months go on without a tenant and the property taxes pile up, turning to Arcata’s still-growing industry (pun unavoidable) seems like a reasonable choice. Arcata’s 16,000-person population will soon be served by six hydroponic shops.

Please don’t read on if you are offended when we mention the number of hydroponic shops doing business within Arcata city limits. Last time we wrote about it, a woman left a message directing us to shut up and we don’t want to make her mad again.

That said, the Arcata six have now caught up with the number of full-liquor license bars – if you include the bar at Valley West’s Days Inn. And why not?

Even if they don’t pay their utility and transient occupancy taxes, the sales tax is apparently still getting sent. So, they’re in.

There are now as many hydroponic stores as pizza joints, since Round Table runs both a Uniontown and Valley West location.

Gas stations still have hydroponics beat – there are eight of those. So Arcata is still probably expending more energy driving automobiles than growing hydroponic tomatoes.

There are six times the number of hydro places as porn/adult toyshops. And there are twice as many as video rental stores.

Long associated with meandering musings and afternoons spent in coffee shops, Arcatans are about to support fewer coffee shops than hydroponic stores.

Maybe Arcatans will spend more time talking to their plants than each other.

Maybe nobody will find this shocking, but there will be six times as many hydroponic stores as Plaza-bound hot dog stands. Arcatans will frequent twice as many hydro shops as thrift stores and two times the number of head shops.

There will be two more hydroponic shops than standalone liquor stores (Liquor Still, Arcata Liquors, Fourth Street and Hutchins).

By a factor of one, Arcata will support more hydroponic shops than supermarkets (Safeway, Wildberries, Co-op, Ray’s and Murphy’s). However. supermarkets will catch up in a couple months when Westwood Market reopens.

There will be three times the number of corporate “pattern restaurant” hamburger joints as hydroponics and six times the number of\musical instrument stores.

Arcata will keep running twice as many hydroponic shops as recorded music shops and twice the number of bookstores.

Lights on!

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