In our October newsletter, we hinted at this month’s neighbor spotlight.

“I was a heavy-equipment operator in the Marine Corps and won the Hard Dog award while attending Mixed Martial Arts training.”

Most of us know Justin St John as the owner-operator of Maximum Grow Gardening(MGG) at 6117 East Washington Street. But you may not know that Justin was serving in the Marines when the attacks of 9/11 happened, or that Maximum Grow has a second location in Lafayette, IN that opened in 2013.

Justin opened Maximum Grow Gardening, an organic, hydroponic and aquaponic gardening supply store, in September 2011. He and his team have worked with area schools, including Irvington Community Elementary. Some of the produce you’ve enjoyed at The Legend was likely supplied by MGG.

The grow room houses 1,500-2,000 plants, which are rotated by his staff on a weekly basis. The lights run for 18 hours a day, sprouting microgreens, herbs, and a variety of lettuce. MGG harvests approximately 250 heads of lettuce every week.

The retail stores are open to the public, and gardeners from surrounding states drive to one of the two locations to find products and services they can’t find anywhere else.

In Justin’s desire to support and grow Irvington, he was not satisfied with improving only the property that houses MGG. He recently purchased and renovated parcels of the building at Catherwood and East Washington Street to beautify the area. He envisions the space being filled with businesses such as a salon, dance studio, coffee shop, shared work space, brewery, and/or restaurant with rooftop seating. If you’re interested in any part of the space, please reach out to justin@maximumgrow.com.

How long have you lived and/ or worked here in Irvington?

I grew up in Irvington until the 5th grade, off Bolton. Then, after the Marines, I bought my first house here in Irvington in 2003.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy being outdoors, whether it is hiking, camping, kayaking, boating, or mountain biking. Nature is my release and where I love to spend my time.

What’s your favorite walk, bike ride, block, or view in the neighborhood?

I like taking friends that are not familiar with Irvington on a little bike ride down the Pennsy and around the shops. We will stop for some Dad’s Crunchy Chicken or a Slaughterhouse Five then stop next door to enjoy a Saucy Intruder, then continue through the streets of old Historic Irvington. Everyone always loves the trip and are always amazed at this little jewel on Indy’s east side.

If you were Mayor of Irvington for a day, what would you do first?

I would get the street lights to continue from old town to the plaza, while it is being redeveloped!