Sponsor Spotlight: Vermont Hempicurean Store Opens in Brattleboro
BRATTLEBORO — Scott Sparks spent over three decades working in Vermont’s local food system, and for a great deal of that time, his primary focus was helping farmers and producers bring their products to market as VP Sales for a Southern Vermont-based food distributor. When Sparks turned 60 last year and became interested in starting a new chapter in his life, he directed his attention towards one of the world’s oldest domesticated plants: hemp.
Sparks recognized the health benefits of the plant, the industrial uses of hemp oil and fiber, the injustice of prohibition, and most of all, the potential for struggling Vermont farmers to grow hemp and continue working their land, preserving the rural landscape and lifestyle they love.
With his experience building agricultural markets and farmer networks, Sparks realized that he could use his vast network of contacts, deep professional knowledge, and well-honed promotional skills to help nurture Vermont’s nascent hemp economy.
Sparks’ vision crystallized even more when he attended the first Vermont Hemp Fest at Burke Mountain in September 2017, and saw that there was already a growing Vermont cannabis community with active Vermont hemp farmers from Bennington to Brownington, high quality hemp and CBD products being produced, and an increasingly diverse number of people looking for them.
Vermont Hempicurean, Sparks’ new store in Brattleboro, is the result of one very busy year of research, networking, and dogged perseverance. Sparks ran into many of the same problems entrepreneurs have had in the rest of the country when it comes to building a hemp-based business. “It took a while to find a landlord,” says Sparks. “Banking, insurance, credit cards were all challenging.”
Despite the roadblocks, Sparks refused to be deterred. “I don’t take no easily. I felt this was a passion I had, and had to make it happen, and wasn’t going to let them say no to me unless I explored every possible option.”
Having overcome these obstacles, Sparks’ vision is manifesting into reality at 8 Flat Street in Downtown Brattleboro, where a freshly hand-painted sign on the window offers a glimpse into the carefully-curated collection of high quality hemp items from CBD to fiber to food.
The store’s interior is full of white walls, rough wood and Edison lights, a design scheme Sparks calls “comfortably rustic.” He’s looking to attract customers “who want hemp and CBD products, but wouldn’t necessarily walk into a head shop.”
Sparks is devoted to bringing this ancient plant into the 21st century, and continues to be inspired by a powerful vision of providing locally grown and crafted hemp products for the Vermont community.
“If all I sold was local,” says Sparks, “I’d be fine with that. I want to help people understand that when they pick up tincture in my store, it comes from someone in Vermont, and directly helps a farmer earn a living.”
Vermont Hempicurean’s soft opening takes place today: Monday April 2nd, and the store will be open Monday – Saturday from 10:00 – 6:00, with an online store coming soon. Heady Vermont members can go to the Brattleboro store and flash their card for a 10% discount for ANY and ALL products – with no end date!
Vermont Hempicurean is also the title sponsor for Heady Vermont’s CBD/Hemp Farmers Market at the River Garden in Brattleboro on Sunday, June 17.