Violet Gro moving to GJ; LED lighting boosts hemp crop
More than one business announced this week that Grand Junction soon will be its new home.
Violet Gro, an arm of the Violet Defense Group based in Celebration, Florida, is the newest company to come to the Grand Valley, breaking off from its parent company.
The announcement comes almost simultaneously with the news that Boulder-based bike rack maker RockyMounts will move to the Grand Valley in 2019, taking up residence at the Riverfront at Las Colonias business park that is under construction.
Violet Gro is an agricultural LED lighting company that seeks to help indoor growers by giving plants more light with less heat and reducing exposure to harmful bacteria and insects.
The company is already working with local hemp companies in the Grand Valley on a local research consortium, Violet Gro announced Thursday.
The goal of the research is to evaluate best practices in helping grow hemp indoors and seeing which ultraviolet lights are most effective.
Violet Gro is working with Grand Junction’s Speedy Grow, Colorado Hemp Solutions in Whitewater and the Salt Creek Hemp Co. in Collbran.
Violet Gro was created as an offshoot of Violet Defense Technology, which has developed UV light technology to help kill bacteria in the medical field. Violet Gro President Kurt Kucera said Grand Junction became an ideal location for the company’s new home because of the connections already in place.
“It’s really exciting and we’ve got a lot of connections in Grand Junction and Montrose and into Durango,” Kucera said.
Kucera has bought a house and will be moving to the Grand Junction area in the coming weeks. When here, he will look for a 5,000- to 10,000-square-foot facility and seek to hire locally for jobs in sales and technology. Some of the technology work will still come out of Violet Defense Group in Florida.
Kucera has worked with the Grand Junction Economic Partnership to coordinate Violet Gro’s move to the Grand Valley. GJEP Deputy Director Steve Jozefczyk said he’s exploring benefits that could be available for Violet Gro, including a Rural Jump-Start grant. To qualify, Kucera would have to hire at least five employees, but Kucera said he plans to have at least eight to 10 on board within a year.
Jozefczyk said the company should find a good home in Grand Junction.
“We’ve got the workforce for him here and the clientele to work with in the state of Colorado,” Jozefczyk said. “It’s a great fit for the area and we’re happy to have them choose Grand Junction.”
Although Kucera’s arrival is still a few weeks away, Violet Gro’s products are already in town through the research consortium.
Salt Creek Hemp Co. co-owner Margaret MacKenzie said the technology is exciting and it’s nice to be able to use an organic alternative. “Anything that increases productivity and decreases workload is great,” MacKenzie said. “It’s exciting.”
So far, the results have been positive, MacKenzie said.
However, the study is still in the early stages. She said growing indoors provides some extra challenges as some invasive insects thrive inside since they are away from the natural UV light of the sun and some natural predators outdoors.
In addition to working with hemp companies, Kucera also sees possibilities to work with local farmers who may have similar problems, which also played a role in his decision to settle in western Colorado.
“There’s synergy and that’s a large reason we are going to Western Slope,” he said.