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The Hustle

Name: Shannon O’Malley (Brick Street Farms)

Entrepreneurs Shannon O'Malley and Brad Doyle are turning a corner on 2nd Avenue into a one-of-a-kind city-farm. They put their utilities industry skills into practice and came up with a hyper-local business that utilizes vertical space in small footprints to eliminate waste and pesticide. Their mission is to promote environmental integrity, transform the food delivery system and offer nutritional green/herbs to local restaurants. By offering a customer-centric experience, they're able to harvest on-demand produce for chefs and deliver plate-ready orders to them. This ever-growing space in the heart of the city is the second largest farm of its kind in the nation.

Years in Tampa Bay

2

Hustle (job)

Boss Lady, Owner-Operator

What do you do?  

We operate a new kind of urban farm and market that starts with growing vertically inside recycled refrigerated shipping containers. Each is its own indoor hydroponic farm with an integrated grow control system and remote monitoring capabilities. Don't let that fool you, the labor is still significant, we are just doing it in 65-degree temperatures! The developing on-site market is primarily driven by 50+ memberships and walk-in traffic during our limited open hours, and focused on what grows inside our farms plus collaborations with other St. Pete "foodie" entrepreneurs.

Why do you do it?

First and foremost to have something that is completely yours. Honest truth, we work harder, longer, and for less but at the end of the day you answer to yourself, which is a great feeling most days (although overwhelming on occasion). It was also important to do something to help connect the community in a new kind of way, and break the mold of how people think of an urban farm. We believe that the decentralization of our current food supply chain is key a healthy future for all.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

Quite simply, the experience of dying plants outside in Florida. When we brought them inside our kitchen, and put grow lights in front of them, they seemed to thrive. That really kicked off the research process to see what was possible with readily-available materials and technology.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

Growing indoors looks like you just set it and forget it. One hundred percent absolutely, false. Same amount of labor, it's just not so dang hot inside and it comes with its own set of challenges.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

Wearing so many different hats on a daily basis. Financials, social media and website, IT software and hardware, grow planning and plant health, vendors/supplies, human resources - only a few things we handle on a daily basis with a team of only a few, and one primary owner-operator.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

Stay calm when the sh*t hits the fan, because nobody else will and they'll be looking for someone to lead them.

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