How A Small-Town Merchant Means New Beginnings
Broad River Hemp Company opened their doors at 102 Robeson Street in downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina on September 10, 2019, with a soft opening. They plan to hold their Grand Opening on Saturday, September 28, 2019, starting at 10am.
Broad River is not just for retail of hemp products. On the contrary, this store aims to help Veterans become farmers, assist law enforcement in the ever-changing status of hemp, educate consumers on the benefits and uses of products derived from hemp, and help build the local industry.
North Carolina is rapidly becoming a major player in the national hemp industry, yet it still lags behind other state’s production capacity. Founding owner of Broad River, Josh Biddix, emphasizes:
“The biggest problem we are seeing with hemp is the lack of regulations or quality standards behind it. Retailers are doing what we call ‘white labeling’ products, where they buy a bunch of CBD products from Oregon, slap their own label on it, and call it their own to sell it.”
Biddix, a former US Marine and former law enforcement officer from Shelby, NC, believes almost all the products on the market today are not local, nor do they come from farmers in NC. He started Broad River to ensure consumers could buy safe, local products.
“Most people think a CBD store is a vape shop. We’re not, though. We want to showcase NC hemp products by having not only CBD, but clothing items, pet treats, home décor, gifts, and anything that can be made with hemp that a consumer could ever dream of.”
Biddix and his wife, Scotti, became friends with Robert Elliott, also a former Marine, when Elliott visited their pilot location to network with NC growers, specifically Veterans, and stopped by the store to learn about the Biddix retail location. Farmer-Veteran Elliott states:
“I immediately knew their store was the way to go for getting the right educational piece into consumers’ minds, as well as helping NC farmers to boost local hemp products and put us on the national industry’s map.
“In the agricultural advocacy world, we have never seen a product that can do so much for farmers. Even in tobacco’s biggest days of the boom, it didn’t have half the potential to build farms, the economy, and build a better state for everyone like hemp has the power to do.”
Elliott returned home from Marine Corps service and found farming to be therapeutic, as well as lucrative. Transitioning to the civilian world was difficult, at best, for him, and farm-life saved the day. After losing four of his Marines he served with to suicide post-service, he has dedicated his life to helping other Veterans become farmers through educational programs he has built, such as The Veteran’s Farm of NC and The Soldier to Agriculture Program at Fort Bragg.
Both programs help Veterans learn basic agricultural skills, network with each other to assist Veterans with their agricultural endeavors collectively, and make partnerships with NC corporations to get equipment for Veterans to use on their farms, such as tractors, cultivation equipment, and other costly items.
“This new Broad River shop in Fayetteville offers NC farmers and farmer Veterans an immediate avenue to produce high-quality hemp products and sell them directly into their communities that will help them build their farms faster, versus trying to make sales on their own.”
The Fayetteville location not only carries the products grown and processed locally, but also staffs the store with the farmers that produce these products to give consumers first-hand education. Broad River also keeps plants in the store to show the public how it all starts. He says:
“We didn’t want to be another CBD store. We wanted to make something truly inviting to the public so we can dispel the ‘reefer madness’ idea and start showing everyone how hemp can change our world.”
He purports this new, one-of-a-kind store is a crucial piece of the puzzle to remedying the issues around ag: “Agriculture has been hurting for the past 20 years and beyond.”
As studies have proven, the average age of a farmer is near retirement, not many farmer descendants are coming back to the farms to keep them going, and the prices on nearly every crop have crashed. Tobacco, NC’s biggest crop, historically, is no longer able to keep a farm in business.
In fact, data is showing that approximately 96% of farms in the US have a spouse subsidizing the farming operation with a job off the farm because the farm won’t support the household and the crop. American farms can no longer generate the revenue needed to sustain a family, and according to Elliott, they are on a mission to change that.
This Marine’s vision is to help one individual at a time by connecting the dot from the seed to the farmer who grew it to the veteran who became a farmer to produce it to the neighbor who will benefit by it all in one perfect place: the heart of Fayetteville.
See more about Broad River Hemp at www.broadriverhemp.com.
Partners and Producers
North Carolina growers with military backgrounds include:
Appalachian Standard — This is the product line of Ross Farms located in Candler, NC. Ross Farms is owned by Jesse Ross, a retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant. The farm consists of 66,000 square foot of greenhouse where hemp and native flowers are grown, along with outdoor field acreage. Appalachian Standard incorporates four strains of hemp flower into the current line of products.
Flat River Infusions — Located on the east coast of NC in Hurdle Mills, close to Fayetteville, Flat River Infusion is owned by Nick Sagan, a former Marine and one of the first growers in NC. Mr. Sagan brings other veterans to his farm to assist in growing and getting back to the basics in life with farming and agriculture.
Grower’s Hemp — Located in Oakboro, NC, Grower’s Hemp is owned by Brad Todd, a leading advocate and speaker for the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association. Todd is considered an expert in hemp production and is a former Marine and veteran of the Iraq War. Todd also owns a CO2 extraction system, extracting for many local NC farmers.
Honor Hemp Company, LLC — Founded by a USMC veteran, the company’s CBD product line was born from consumer demand for local, top quality CBD products and from the need to vertically integrate that cause. Cutting out the middleman made it possible for profits to benefit the military veteran hemp farmers.
Additionally, these collaborators round out the Fayetteville store’s offerings:
Green River Botanicals — Located in a beautiful valley at the base of Pisgah Mountain. Owned by Brad and Sarah Martin, the main strain of hemp that creates their rich and smooth tincture line is Cherry Mom. The growing operation includes acreage along the Green River and greenhouse grows. They also grow native plants and flowers in other green houses on the property.
Joy Organics — Produces a THC-free isolate brand of hemp extract from Ft. Collins, Colorado. Family founded by Todd Smith and his wife Joy Smith, Joy Organics focuses on pharmaceutical quality THC free hemp lines of product for consumers.
Lux Botanics — Located in Black Mountain, NC, Lux is owned by Nathan Taylor, who crafts high quality, small batch tinctures and vape products from local farms of Brad Todd, Franny Tacy and Jesse Ross.
Queen Hemp Company — Queen Hemp is from Charlotte, NC. Queen Hemp is owned by Gail Syfert and Nicole Burnette, being a vertically owned hemp, being women owned. Queen Hemp is an indoor warehouse hydronic grow, producing high quality cannabis hemp flower and products. The tincture is rich in cannabis flavor and clear, due to the hydroponic growing process. BaOx is the primary flower strain in which the products are made.
WholeMade Bath Co. — Founded by Elissa and Jerell Klaver, WholeMade is proud to be one of the original luxury hemp bath and body care companies in the world. WholeMade originally began in 2004, producing artisan soaps and body care products.
Source: Robert Elliott, Broad River Hemp Company