Mary Lopez Carter and her husband David Carter did their research before they opened the Carolina Hemp Hut, a new purveyor of CBD products in Hillsborough, and it shows in the early success of their business.
“We’ve never been in retail before this, but business is just taking off,” Lopez Carter said. “We started selling our products online in 2017 and we opened the kiosk in Southpoint Mall in Durham first in October. We outgrew that space in two months. And we knew we needed a store space.”
The Carolina Hemp Hut at 137 Mayo St. in Hillsborough held its grand opening and ribbon cutting with town representatives and shoppers on Thursday.
“Today we celebrate this couple who has worked so hard to add to this community,” Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said at the ribbon cutting. “We celebrate entrepreneurialism, we celebrate coming together as a community to enjoy a new business and we want to wish you success.”
The new store, which officially opened on May 1 after a preview day on April 20, sells CBD and hemp oil extract drops and tinctures, CBD and hemp oil supplements, CBD-infused edibles such as gummy candies, topical salves, creams, beauty and skincare items and incense, vaporizer and e-juice.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the cannabis plant that is not psychoactive — meaning that it does not produce a high.
The couple began researching CBD products when David Carter was suffering from a brain tumor in 2010.
“The only thing I could find that was anti-cancer was cannabis, but marijuana was and still is illegal in North Carolina,” Lopez Carter said. “We tried CBD in 2017 and we loved it. It has a lot of properties that are good for the body, but it was very expensive. So we actually went to Colorado to one of the largest hemp expos, bought a lot of products and tested them out based on quality, efficacy, price, you name it.”
The family’s favorite products are now sold at the Carolina Hemp Hut. The couple sells their favorite national brands, but also works to include local hemp growers in their business. They work with farmers in Hurdle Mills and Cedar Grove and Lopez Carter also has her own license to grow hemp.
“She’s looking at growing her own in the future because we really want to try and keep everything as local as possible,” David Carter said.
After their Durham mall kiosk took off, the couple decided to open the store in Hillsborough when David Carter, a real estate agent, took a look at some of the marketing studies and demographic checks he had completed for his real estate business and realized that Hillsborough could be a good market for a new store.
“We were missing our own backyard,” he said.
Hemp farming is taking off in North Carolina since recent legislation has allowed hemp crops to be grown in the state as long as the grower obtains the proper industrial hemp licensing.
As the popularity of hemp and CBD products continues to grow, the couple wants to hire more employees at their shop, as well as continue educating locals about the properties and effects of CBD products.
“We’re helping people get off of their prescription medication for anxiety, depression, ADHD, ADD — the list goes on and on,” Lopez Carter said. “This is a botanical, it’s natural and our bodies are wired to have it. Our favorite thing is that are helping people and we’re educating people, and I think we got in at the right time.”