Hemp Shop a First in Salem

  Hemp Shop a First in Salem

Posted by FoM on May 28, 2001 at 09:20:40 PT
By Angela Yeager, Statesman Journal 
Source: Statesman Journal 

Andy Fry and his uncle Roy Mitchell are hoping that hemp will be a hit in Salem. Fry and Mitchell have opened Bud Brothers Hemporium, a store that sells a variety of products made from industrial hemp. The only hemp store in Salem, Bud Brothers is the realization of a dream for the two men. We believe in hemp products,” Fry said. “We talked to a lot of people and felt really good about doing this.” The business is a side project for Fry and Mitchell, who both have full-time jobs. 
Fry said they spent a year conducting research and formulating a business plan before they launched the store.“We were identifying what kind of products are out there and who makes them,” Fry said. “We wanted to stay true to environmental practices.”One of more than 20 hemp stores in Oregon, Bud Brothers joins the forces of a hemp industry that has reached $200 million in annual sales in the United States. U.S. Manufacturers can import hemp from countries such as Canada, Australia and China. But because it is a relative of the marijuana plant, hemp is illegal to grow in the United States. However, a growing support for hemp and its uses, which include clothing, body-care products, food and paper, has taken root in many states.Supporters have long extolled the virtues of hemp. They point to the hemp fiber’s versatility and the plant’s hardiness. For example, almost half of the agricultural chemicals used on U.S. crops are applied to cotton, but hemp supporters say their crop can grow without herbicides, fungicides or pesticides.Candi Penn, executive secretary of the California-based Hemp Industries Association, said hemp has gone from a niche market used by a few fringe groups to a mainstream product found in The Body Shop and soaps from companies such as Kiss My Face. In addition, food including cheese, coffee, cookies and pretzels is now being produced from hemp seeds.“I think our educational efforts have been paying off,” Penn said. “There is a difference between hemp and marijuana, and we should be able to grow it.”Fry said many of the hemp soaps and other items in the store are made by Salem residents, who he said have been supportive of the effort. Based on initial sales, Fry said he hopes he and his uncle can eventually make the store a full-time occupation.Because hemp is still a fairly small market, Penn said, many store owners combine hemp with other products. Often that means ecofriendly items. Bud Brothers features what the owners call an alternative smoking room, which has pipes and smoking products. Fry dismissed the notion that his store might be associated with marijuana instead of hemp.“We carry alternative smoking products,” he said. “But it’s not anything you wouldn’t find at most natural food stores.”Penn said the Hemp Industries Association tries to encourage disassociation from marijuana because it often hurts the image of hemp with mainstream America. Whether customers come for the pipes or the hemp soap, Fry and Mitchell said, they are happy with sales so far. And while they see themselves serving as educators on the benefits of hemp, they also hope to make a living doing it eventually. And so far, customers are impressed with what they see.“I like hemp for the simple fact that it’s all natural,” said Salem resident Ron O’Neill. “And the cookies taste great.”Note: The two owners of Bud Brothers Hemporium tout the plant’s benefits and versatility.Source: Statesman Journal (OR)Author: Angela Yeager, Statesman JournalPublished: May 28, 2001Copyright: 2001 Statesman JournalContact: letters statesmanjournal.comWebsite: Industries Association Links Hemp Archives

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