ARMOUR SQUARE — Forget the brutal winter, for inside the new Chicago Roots Hydroponics and Organics store is a wonderland of indoor gardening supplies.
There are bags of soil and boxes of guano and an indoor grow tent that replicates sunlight. All of the store's many products, from the electronics to the gallons of plant food, are designed to jump-start and maintain indoor and outdoor gardens.
But for owner Tommy Trilla, the products are only part of the mix. It's the advice he and two staffers give that's crucial to keeping gardens sustainable.
"If I recommend something and it kills someone's garden, they're not going to come back. And they're going to be angry because they've spent a lot of money. Some of this stuff can get into the thousands of dollars," said Trilla, 33, of Ukrainian Village.
The new store at 3016 S. Wentworth Ave., is the second location for Chicago Roots, which opened in in 2011 in Irving Park among neighborhoods full of community, backyard and rooftop gardens.
And Trilla said most of those gardeners stay on the North Side to do make their supply runs.
The new South Side location, housed in a former casino shuttle bus waiting room, faces the Dan Ryan Expressway and comes with a loading dock in the back and a big parking lot on the side.
He said places like The Plant, the sustainable food production facility in Back of the Yards, are helping to draw greater interest in indoor gardening, which he said can be "therapeutic."
"Down here has nothing," Trilla said. That's why we decided to venture down this way."
Already, Trilla has plans to connect with community groups by offering special pricing to garden clubs, and he hopes to foster some neighborly good will with outdoor barbecues and live music in the South Side store's parking lot.
Chicago Roots Hydroponics and Organics, 3016 S. Wentworth Ave. is open 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.