Vermont Hempicurean Looks to the Future With Brattleboro Expansion
BRATTLEBORO —With an eye on Vermont’s nascent legal market, longtime Brattleboro CBD store Vermont Hempicurean opened in a new location on February 2. The store, previously located in downtown Brattleboro, has expanded its businesses and relocated to a large renovated barn space on nearby Marlboro Road.
Scott Sparks, the owner of Vermont Hempicurean, decided to move out of the downtown area despite people wanting him to stay. Although he supports a vibrant downtown, Sparks was concerned about running afoul of cannabis licensing regulations such as proximity to schools and traffic congestion.
“We really plan on making this a destination for people to come and enjoy themselves, and get rid of the stigma around cannabis.”
The new location has plenty of parking, is located on a well-traveled road, and is big enough to house Vermont Hempicurean, Vermont Grow Barn, and (soon to be) Vermont Bud Barn. While Sparks is missing out on the foot traffic that a downtown area can offer, his ultimate goal is to make Vermont Hempicurean a destination.
Spark’s biggest challenges stem from the fact that cannabis is not federally legal. Due to federal scheduling restrictions on the plant, Sparks has a hard time advertising his business. He says he’s reached out to Vermont Public Television, Vermont Public Radio, and even local newspapers to advertise his business, but he’s had little luck.
Spark’s biggest challenges stem from the fact that cannabis is not federally legal.
Businesses with federal funding aren’t able to advertise cannabis-related products, and in most cases, businesses aren’t allowed to advertise consumption CBD products due to restrictions from the FDA.
“I can’t even get Vermont Public Television to take my money because they get federal funds, so they can’t market a CBD business on public television,” Sparks said.
This has even been an obstacle for running advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Despite these obstacles, Vermont Hempicurean’s online CBD business has been successful and has allowed Scott to run a brick-and-mortar store.
Initially, Sparks had trouble with finding a landlord to rent from. Mortgages are backed by the federal government, which only allows CBD shops to rent property or buy it in the full amount. Sparks was able to find a great landlord, and he says overall, the Brattleboro community has been supportive.
“I can’t say enough positive things about how I’ve been treated,” Sparks said. “I think most people saw my business as an asset to downtown.”
“There’s a perception from people from other places that Vermont will have higher quality.”
Although Brattleboro is a less populated area, Sparks has less competition than he would in an area like Chittenden County. While he has some competition, he says Vermont Hempicurean has the broadest selection of CBD products in one place and that are all locally made.
“There’s a perception from people from other places that Vermont will have higher quality,” Spark said of his customers coming from areas like nearby Massachusetts.
“We really plan on making this a destination for people to come and enjoy themselves, and get rid of the stigma around cannabis,” Sparks said. In the future, Sparks would like to open up an edibles kitchen, a consumption cafe, and have live music and food trucks on the lawn of the property.
While looking for new locations, Sparks kept coming back to the property. “If you look at the barn, it just says Vermont all over it,” he said. It hadn’t been used for a couple of years, and Sparks is happy to be repurposing it.
He’s already getting great feedback from customers who previously had to travel farther to purchase grow supplies, and from customers who are excited for Vermont Hempicurean’s future adult-use cannabis store.
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