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GrowHouse, GROWop Cultivate Produce, Artists and Entrepreneurs

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012

Updated: Friday, July 20, 2012 14:07

GROWop

Tiera Allen

Part community garden, part artist collective and part residence, the GrowHouse in downtown Phoenix’s art district has transformed a plighted lot into a revitalized hotspot in less than two years.

With more ideas for the quarter-acre lot up their sleeves, the GrowHouse team doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

“It still amazes me that we are the ones who did this,” said Josh Hahn, who is the manger of the GrowHouse boutique dubbed the GROWop. “Phoenix doesn’t have the things that other big cities do, so it’s really neat to be the ones making the changes and bringing all this greatness to downtown.”

First came the garden, then came the boutique and now comes dreams to build it bigger.

“They are very much the same idea — this whole building community and building the local economy,” Hahn said.

A portion the property is dedicated to the garden. Kenny Barrett leads in the field of gardening, organizing events, managing volunteers and harvesting produce to be sold at farmers markets and to local restaurants.

In the future, the GrowHouse team plans to develop a small grocery store to sell the produce they’re growing just a few feet away.

As the local food project expands, so do the plans for the boutique. GROWop, which is a combination of “growing” and “opportunity,” was originally formed to help nurture local artists.

“The idea for the store was to mimic the way the garden worked,” Hahn said. “So we thought about creating a collective where people come together and sell their work, and the idea is to grow their own business inside the establishment and eventually grow out of it and start their own business somewhere else so it’s growing the local economy.”

The boutique is a mixture of handmade, found and vintage objects from jewelry and clothing to soap and stationary, with most of the focus on selling functional artwork.

“We wanted to keep the artist community growing and alive and feature artists that don’t normally get to show down here,” Hahn said. “A lot of the artists here are up and coming so it’s worth coming to take a peek.”

Some artists include Allison Villanueva of Native Sun, who carves silver and brass pendants and rings, Lisa Takata, who designs bow ties, and Stephanie Garippa of Hope House Farms who makes goat’s milk soaps.

But the bestseller, according to Hahn, is the turquoise rings and cuffs created by 85-year-old Harold Meitl.

All of GROWop’s homemade treasures are complemented by vintage finds. Moving forward, the boutique’s aesthetic will evolve to include more local artists. To be a part of the GROWop boutique, artists simply need to bring their goods by the shop for the team to check out.

GROWop is also working to build inventory for an online shop that could increase sales and help finance their dreams for their dynamic lot.

“People don’t always realize that this project is one in the same,” Hahn said. “Supporting the GROWop is supporting the garden and vise versa.”

 

The Grow House and GROWop are located at 902 N Sixth Street, Phoenix, 602.714.5256, Thursday through Sunday, 12 to 7 p.m., free garden events

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