Confessions Of A UK Hydro Store: NPK Technology

Published
Confessions Of A UK Hydro Store: NPK Technology

NPK Technology is an innovative grow shop on the edge of Liverpool’s city centre. It offers a wide variety of growing products and advice at no extra cost!

Whether you like to grow plants indoors or outdoors, there’s something for everyone at NPK Technology. Located on the edge of Liverpool’s city centre, this innovative hydro shop offers a wide range of horticulture products. But what sets them apart from other stores is their expert advice that comes at no extra cost! We found NPK’s Stephen Brookes in the confession booth for this edition’s hydro shop spotlight.

How did you end up at NPK?

In 2012, I was doing a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and setting up my own supplement business. Thomas and I knew each other from university, where we studied outdoor education and PE. Thomas is an ex-Para, great at practical work, and helped me a lot; I helped him on the academic side. We became good friends, and when Thomas finished school, he set up the shop and invited me to help him build the business with multiple shops, podcasts and YouTube channels.

What do you like the most about your job?

Science and botany have always intrigued me. Having a background in public health, I was fascinated by how the vast majority of our modern-day medications are derived from plants. Manipulating growing methods, styles, and techniques to achieve better yields, quality and aromas has always been the most interesting part of growing indoors for me. The best part about working in the shop is passing and sharing this knowledge with like-minded individuals.

The past year has been slow. What has NPK done to keep customers coming back?

The same thing we have done since day one. We don’t compete exclusively on price; we provide the best customer service and can help anyone at any experience level become a better grower. Sometimes, we send people out without products because we can solve their problems with advice, and a product isn’t needed. That breeds loyalty, and they’ll always come back to us regardless of price or promotions other people are running.

What is your preferred growing style?

DWC, without a doubt. The ability to manipulate plant growth and flowering appeals to me. Whether oxygen levels, water temps, or root pruning, it’s all achievable with DWC.

How do you handle a customer who tries to negotiate unreasonably low prices?

“There’s another shop on Google Maps; don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” When the shocked face looks back at me, I explain we don’t just sell products for as cheap as possible; we offer a service and a knowledge base that will allow them to get the absolute best from that product, and we don’t sell cheap advice. They usually pay the price

Do you have a favourite product?

Optic Foliar Overgrow is a favourite because it’s one of the first products you could spray with the lights on. Unbelievable! Azos and Dynomyco for potting up are brilliant. SANlight LEDs have always been my favourite because of the product and the team of lovely people! Enviro Controller, because it’s just bomb-proof and controls your room to such precise levels. These are just a few fantastic products off the top of my head.

What is the most common misconception amongst your customers?

Yellow leaves are a nutrient deficiency and not because they are overwatered.

If you could change one thing in the industry, what would it be?

The social media bravado. Many nasty comments can be left on social media, and there’s no need for it. We’re all trying to do what we love, earn money, and get on. I see people trying to bring others down when we should all try and do our best. Build the biggest building in town; don’t destroy everyone else’s to make yours seem the biggest!

What are the top three bands that play in the shop?

  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Ben Howard (I know it’s not a band)
  • Electric Light Orchestra

What top advice would you give someone thinking about starting a small indoor grow room?

Trial and error. Read, listen and implement advice, but most importantly, enjoy taking a seed the size of your fingernail and cultivating it into an absolute monster that can feed you.

For more information, check out their website or follow them on Instagram @npk_horticulture.

Be sure to follow @gardenculturemagazine for the next edition of CONFESSIONS OF A UK HYDRO STORE.

Garden Culture Magazine

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.