Making Gardening Simple
By Greg Miller
Co-owner of Aiyah’s Garden
Please tell us about your business. My fiancÃ©e Jessica Cohen and I supply all-natural and organic farm or garden supplies for those interested in a sustainable lifestyle or agriculture at our business located in Kapa’a. We sell potting soil, all-natural amendments, fertilizers and bioremedials – the things that heal the soil or remove toxins and pollutants from the soil, and therefore from your food. We also have high-quality tools, books, chicken feed, plant starts from Heaven on Earth, outdoor living sculptures and free knowledge. In addition, we have a lot of aquaponics supplies like pond liner, stock tanks, fish and fish food. Everything is organic and non-GMO.
Why did you start your business? We started with a focus on backyard gardeners because I have a background in farming – I farmed commercially on Kaua’i – and so I was really trying to fill this niche of things that were really not available. All the farmers that I worked for, we knew where to get our pallets and our large amounts of stuff, but there was really no connect for people in the backyard who wanted to get some knowledge or have all of those products accessible with good customer/consumer-friendly service.
What sort of special services do you offer? We have free consultations and we do soil testing and prescribe what amendments, fertilizers or bioremedials you may need.
Do you have a garden at home? Yes, absolutely. Since we test every seed we sell, we always take them home and grow them so that we have actual experience. And we always love growing our regular stuff like fennel, carrots, lettuces and kale.
Who is the store named after? Our daughter, Aiyah (4). We opened up the store in Lihu’e right after she was born.
How has business been since you opened? We’ve quadrupled our business size since moving from our original location in Lihu’e, and it’s really been a testament to our clients because we started with nothing and we’ve just grown, and people have been so supportive.
What sets your business apart from others? Everything from products that are cutting-edge to personal experience. I go to the Mainland every year and bring back products and we personally test them, working through all the ticks of things before we pass them on to our other islanders. So that knowledge and wanting to give that knowledge out for free, and having this place where people can come and share and we can learn from each other, I think that our atmosphere, along with our products, has really created some kind of magic.
What is the most challenging aspect of your business? Logistics – figuring out how to get everything here and sell it for a price people can afford. That’s the only hard part.
Why do you do what you do? We do it because we love it, and we have a passion for spreading the excitement and love for caring for the earth, and the awareness that your soil is the missing link in our health and healthy environment.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business? People’s response. This is not about money; it’s really about knowledge and being able to remediate our soils and teaching people how to do it and empowering them to do it in their own backyard. It’s really important for people to feel empowered and have the control back when it comes to the vitality of their soil and the food that they put in their body.
Are more people starting their own gardens? Absolutely, it’s huge. You couldn’t even calculate in the last few years since we opened our store how much it’s grown. From businesses to college classes to schools growing gardens and aquaponics, you can see that there is a demand. Everyone is really putting in a garden now. It’s amazing.
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday
4558 Kukui St., Kapa’a 822-SEED