Paving the way

In 2017, hemp-based CBD sales increased by nearly 50 percent, according to the Hemp Business Journal, growing to $190 million. While a growing number of independent stores are opening to sell products made with CBD — the non-addictive, non-psychoactive compound derived from hemp and cannabis — two quickly growing chains have emerged in Minneapolis. Nothing But Hemp and Flawless are owned by Nothing But Hemp LLC, a privately owned company that has opened three company-owned and one licensed CBD store in less than a year and plans to have 23 more open by the end of this year.

Co-founder and CEO Steven Brown says he and co-founder Giovan Jenkins wanted to open a hemp store “because hemp is so much better than marijuana. You don’t get high, and some research says it gives unbelievable benefits” to people suffering from anxiety, inflammatory conditions, seizures and more.

All the CBD products sold by Nothing But Hemp and Flawless contain under 0.03 percent tetrahydrocannabinol — the high-inducing component of cannabis — to conform with state and federal guidelines. Store associates receive the same professional certifications doctors and nurses receive to dispense CBD.

A Nothing But Hemp kiosk that opened in a St. Paul, Minn., mall last November covered its monthly rent its first day in business. The following month, an 800-square-foot uptown stand-alone Flawless flagship store opened in a neighborhood with mid–to-upscale customer demographics ranging from 45 and up, Brown says, “typically people not looking to get high but to deal with anxiety or pain issues.”

Flawless stores are bright white, grey, silver and jet black with black chandeliers, while Nothing But Hemp stores have a more earthy, organic color scheme. Products are merchandised by brand; a CBD Living section carries products like bath balms and soaps.

The Hemp Business Journal estimates hemp-based CBD sales will reach $646 million by 2022, with more than a quarter of those sales coming from natural and specialty retailers. “We’re excited to be the pioneers in setting up a hemp retail industry,” Brown says, “helping to pave the way.”

Nothing but Hemp and Flawless
Parent company: Nothing But Hemp LLC
Co-founders: Steven Brown, CEO; Giovan Jenkins, COO
Locations: 4