We had the good fortune of connecting with George Gastis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi George, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
My parents and our heritage. I’m a first generation child of Greek immigrants and food and gardening were a major part of my upbringing and family culture. This background served as the foundation of my inspiration for Grow + Gather. I’m also inspired by my immediate family, my wife and kids, who’ve lived through this project from concept to opening and throughout the pandemic. I want to make them proud and excited to be a part of the family business. In short, my family.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I spent most of my career in the marketing and technology fields until 2015 when I sold my web design and software development company, BrainSpark Media. Doing so allowed me some time to pursue a lifelong hobby of gardening and turn it into my next job. Grow + Gather originated as a urban farm to grow food for local restaurants close to where it would be consumed. The idea quickly evolved into a three-part farm, restaurant, and community and private event space. It was not easy by any means. No regrets, but it took more than 20 years for me to find my true calling. Once the Grow + Gather project was underway, that too brought a number of challenges to convert a former auto shop into an urban farm and restaurant. We opened for business in December 2019, just a few months before COVID hit. Like everybody, we’ve been through so much since then; lows, highs, over and over. We lost some good employees along the way. Standing where we are now, I’m optimistic knowing that we not only survived the last 13 months, but we’re once again thriving.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First I’d show them my neighborhood, Englewood, There are great food and beverage and other retail establishments throughout our city. After that, a drink or bite in Platt Park, my old neighborhood for 20+ years, Followed by some of our favorite spots in the RiNo area. No visit would be complete without a trip to the mountains. If it’s winter time, skiing / boarding for a day or two, taking in some of the sites and establishments while there. We’d more than likely spend a good part of our time cooking and eating at our house. We love to entertain and know that would be part of the friend’s visit.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
In addition to my family, which I mentioned in a previous question, my business partner Jeff Johnston. His contributions to our businesses, while mostly behind the scenes, have been massive. I don’t know what I would have done over the past 3+ years without his collaboration and support. Along those lines, I’m thankful every day for the leadership team we’ve created and our extended staff. Some team members have been with us since day one and endured the past year with unconditional dedication and grace. Finally I’m grateful for our community, both the city of Englewood and our surrounding community have supported us from day one.
Other: Restaurant: www.Feedery.com @feedery80113