Editor’s Notebook: Why mom-and-pop CBD retailers have some planning to do

Kristen Nichols is the editor of Hemp Industry Daily.

(This is an abridged version of a column that appears in the November-December issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.)

We cheer when the big guys see the benefits and market opportunities of hemp products.

When a national grocer starts carrying CBD, or a longtime agricultural biotech giant turns its genetic prowess to hemp, it’s a signal that hemp products are more than a fleeting consumer fad.

But there’s a downside, too. As consumers see CBD products sold in more and more mainstream locations, the public has less reason to visit hemp-specific retailers to buy these products.

That’s good news for shoppers who prefer to see and smell CBD products before buying them.

But it’s a challenge for those stores that have popped up seemingly overnight selling CBD tinctures, topicals, vapes and pre-rolls.

I have no doubt that the hemp industry will rise to meet this challenge as it has so many others – and that hemp retailers will provide a distinct shopping experience that an average convenience store can’t match.

But I also think that a lot of mom-and-pop stores with signs in the window screaming “CBD HERE!” will fail. Who cares if a new store sells CBD, when all the old stores do, too?

The big guys aren’t just coming; they’re already here. Hemp-specific retailers see sharks in the water, and they’re feeling attacked.

But as we look deeper at how cannabis companies are partnering with larger mainstream firms, don’t forget that sharks aren’t the only fish in the sea.

For those smaller fish wondering where hemp retail is headed, the time is now to find the waters where you can swim freely and thrive.

(Find this topic interesting? There’s more to read.)

3 comments on “Editor’s Notebook: Why mom-and-pop CBD retailers have some planning to do
  1. Rob MacArthur on

    I couldn’t disagree more. All the “big guys” carrying CBD are going to fail miserably because they are generally carrying low quality products or isolate products with no education. CVS, Kroger, Urban Outfitters are just being whores with their shelf space just trying to grab some sales from the latest hot products for sale. How many big retailers ended up selling knock-offs of Uggs or knock-offs of Birkenstocks. They just want the latest trend.

  2. Charles A. on

    What I want to know is :
    How are big companies able to get licensed, manufacture and sell hemp derivative products, when both my City and County governments REFUSE to give me any license to manufacture the very same hemp derivative products?
    My City and County regulators tell me they are waiting for the FDA to release their guidelines before they can allow me to run a business, but how are these big companies allowed to operate unimpeded and sell their products at major retailers?

  3. Shiva Kumar on

    Sustaining a Local business has always not been easy and neither the govt doesn’t make it easy. Especially in the booming CBD industry, where stores keep popping up all over and Big box stores or chain of stores all want to jump on it, just because!

    As a local business we have to navigate our way through Marketing, whether its yard signs or Advertising or even any kind of SEO to help sustain and cut through the highly competitive over crowded market space in the CBD industry. We require spending thousands of dollars that we typically don’t have or we are able to generate from our business profits.

    The brighter side of it, is the HOPE that if we stick to building our foundation with a clear vision and focus on Education, Knowledgeable staff, Friendly service, great products, create community partnerships, there is a clear distinctive approach. Its a long term investment and results are not going to show up over night, word of mouth has been a significant driver for growth in this industry and that’s what we need to hit hard to survive. This differentiates CBD specialty stores from other box stores or chain of stores or even franchises because most of them are making money and don’t invest in Service, Education, Seminars, community because there is no dedicated staff nor there are well researched products, its more of either white label or generic mass produced brands.


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