Andy Warner opened his Nature’s Gifts CBD store in December 2019, and said the past year has been challenging, but he’s also found ways to grow his business, despite the pandemic.
Warner, who has run a language translation business since 1993, first became familiar with CBD’s medicinal qualities approximately three years ago, when his father, ailing from COPD, was looking for alternatives to conventional medicine to help with his discomfort.
Warner traveled as often as he could to Idaho to visit his father, and on one trip, made a journey to Oregon to visit a CDB dispensary. The result was products that drastically reduced the elder Warner’s pain over the last weeks of his life. He had been taking Tylenol with codeine and oxycontin, but wanted to take something that was less-damaging.
“He and his girlfriend had discussed medical marijuana, but he said he wasn’t ready, and he wanted to be sober,” Warner said. “I had been reading about this thing called CBD. What he ended up with was some tinctures. I bought him a three-month supply. Within a week, the Tylenol with codeine use went from six capsules a day down to one or two, and he never touched the oxy again. He completely got rid of the need for it, and he slept better.”
His father also used very little morphine in his final days, which was a surprise to his hospice workers.
“It was interesting to hear that from their perspective. My curiosity and interest was piqued,” Warner said, adding that he soon attended CBD conventions and learned as much as he could.
Nature’s Gifts offers a variety of tinctures, edibles, capsules, smokeable CBD, and more. Besides the store’s house brand, Warner’s Best, which is cultivated in Connecticut, the store also carries Medical Mary, and the Montel brand (owned by Montel Williams, who developed his own brand while treating his own multiple sclerosis).
The pandemic forced Nature’s Gifts to close during part of the spring, but it still was able to deliver product through its website. People turning to CBD for help with stress and anxiety may also have given the store a boost, but Warner said the struggle was still being a small store with not a lot of notoriety.
“One of the challenges that we have is awareness,” he said. “As a small, independent store, we only have our own resources to market and promote ourselves. The biggest challenge has been to find the right mix in the marketing and advertising, and that’s been really difficult with COVID.”
Warner had been visiting trade shows, and setting up vendor booths at local events, but that wasn’t able to happen in recent months.
“We had been doing well,” he said. “We were promoting the website. The traction was positive and was good. This year, of course, none of that could happen.”
Warner estimates that the business would have done three-to-four times the business if it weren’t for the pandemic.
Warner said his website has been keeping things afloat enough, selling to customers in 30 states. That lead to the idea to move into the wholesaling end of the business, getting his products into other CBD stores across the country.
“We do have people who are in Arizona or California who like our products. We’re looking for local stores where we can identify clusters of customers and say, ‘Hey look, we have a built customer base that’s started for you, if you want to carry our product.’”
For people who visit or call the store, Warner is able to provide answers to questions and education on the products, to help customers find the right product for them, including the raw form of the plant, known as the flower.
“People can use it as a smoke-able product, but what I find more interesting is that you can cook with it. You can put it in a smoothie, you can put it in a soup, you can make gravy. You can make butter with it,” he said.
For more information, visit https://naturesgifts-usa.com.
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