Charlotte CBD company is expanding nationally by teaming up with major US retailer

Charlotte CBD company is expanding nationally by teaming up with major US retailer


CbdMD, based in Charlotte, topical and ingestible products will be available in 840 GNC stores in the U.S.


A Charlotte-based CBD company is expanding nationally and adding more products on store shelves.

CbdMD will be available in 840 retail GNC stores nationwide and offering 11 ingestible products, according to the CBD company. The companies partnered in August 2020, offering three cbdMD topical products at less than 100 retail stores. The new products available in stores will include CBD gummies , sleep aids, softgels and oils.

However, the expansion does not include stores in Charlotte and the Carolinas, where cbdMD topicals are available.

CbdMD cannabidiol products are touted as THC-free and grown at three U.S. hemp farms. A 2018 Farm bill legalized the regulated production of hemp. Hemp contains 0.3% or less of THC, the compound in marijuana that causes a person’s high.

CBD is used to treat pain, inflammation, migraines, depression and anxiety. It’s is a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals for health and wellness for all ages “safely and effectively,” co-CEO and chairman Martin Sumichrast told the Observer Thursday.

“Finally the big box” stores are beginning to accept CBD because customers want it, Sumichrast said. “It’s going mainstream.”

What it means for CBD sales

The cbdMD expansion means CBD products will be on shelves with other health and wellness products at a large specialty retail store. It’s the next step to increase awareness and accessibility of CBD products people across the country, said Pancho Mangual, executive vice president of sales for cbdMD.

GNC, a global specialty retailer of health and wellness products based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has more than 4,800 U.S. stores and 46 internationally, according to the company website.

“To be able to more than double the previously allotted (products), that’s the exciting part,” Mangual said.

About 75% of cbdMD’s sales are online, Sumichrast said.

Mangual is growing the wholesale division to retail stores, which currently has about 6,000. That includes specialty, convenience, pharmacy and independent CBD/vape shops across the country, company spokesman Robert Pettway said.

“We haven’t really made a big push into the large retailers because the large retailers are still skittish on carrying CBD products because of the regulatory uncertainty,” Sumichrast said. But, he said, big retailers like GNC are changing that.

Mangual said thanks to consumer demand, the company is adding 11 ingestibles including soft gummies, soft gels and sleep aides at GNC stores.

More about cbdMD

The GNC expansion is the latest move cbdMD, a 4-four-year-old publicly traded company, which last month signed an endorsement contract with seven-time NASCAR champ and IndyCar driver Jimmie Johnson. Two years ago, cbdMD began being sold at Life Time fitness centers nationwide.

It’s also the first company and only CBD company designated as NSF Certified for Sport, which means its accepted as a safe dietary sports supplement for major leagues in the U.S. and internationally.

In its first three years, cbdMD generated $118.7 million in net sales, exceeding the projected $113.3 million for the 36-month period, according to a company report last month.

However, first-quarter sales this year decreased 26% to $9.3 million, compared to $12.3 million for the same time period last year, according to the report.

CbdMD blames lack of regulatory clarity by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for perpetuating uncertainty about CBD and limiting CBD sales access to mainstream retailers and wholesalers.

On Feb. 22, cbdMD filed a petition for the FDA to review its safety data.

“When the FDA doesn’t do anything, then large retailers are looking for guidance,” Sumichrast said. Without FDA approval, “it blocks our ability to get the product out into the mainstream retailers.”

CbdMD follows self-imposed testing and regulations for safety and effectiveness, Sumichrast said.

Headquartered at 8845 Red Oak Boulevard in Charlotte, cbdMD was founded in 2018 by entrepreneurs Sumichrast and Scott Coffman. The publicly-traded company has about 160 employees. The company also has a manufacturing facility on Old Pineville Road and distribution warehouse on Westinghouse Boulevard.

cbdMD by the numbers

CbdMD product lines include:

? 130 products of CBD tinctures, gummies, topicals, capsules, bath bombs, bath salts, sleep aids and drink mixes.

? 15 botanicals skincare products including facial oil and serum, toner, moisturizers, facial masks, exfoliants and body care.

? 45 Paw CBD brand veterinarian-formulated products for pets including tinctures, chews and topical products.

This story was originally published March 4, 2022 11:55 AM.

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Catherine Muccigrosso is the retail business reporter for The Charlotte Observer. An award-winning journalist, she has worked for multiple newspapers and McClatchy for more than a decade.

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