A North Carolina man with roots in Chattanooga is bringing his hemp plant-based cannabidiol, or CBD, dispensary concept from Asheville to the Scenic City with the opening of a storefront on the North Shore.
Jimmy Gallagher, raised in Chattanooga, hopes the expansion of the Asheville Dispensary to Manufacturers Road is the first of at least a couple of more units in the South.
"It's something unique," said Gallagher, 44, adding the store offers not just CBD products but an herbal beverage bar and lounge. "They can buy products and stay and take time to socialize."
The businessman said in an interview Friday he opened his first Asheville Dispensary in that city about five years ago. He was working in real estate when he hit upon the idea of his own venture after talking with a former colleague who had left for Colorado to grow hemp.
The global CBD market size was valued at $6.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at 16.2% per year from 2023 to 2030, according to Grand View Research. It said a growing interest in the potential health benefits of CBD has led to increased investment in research and development to understand its effects better and develop new products.
Gallagher said he's investing about $300,000 in the new store in the One North Shore complex, where's he's leasing 3,100 square feet. About 2,400 square feet is retail space for an array of CBD products, with the remainder devoted to the nonalcoholic beverage bar and lounge, he said.
"This is a good fit," Gallagher said about the space, adding Chattanooga commercial real estate broker Steve Hunt helped him in the search. "Finding a location that was a home run was important. It's vibrant, walkable."
Gallagher said he looked at Charlotte, North Carolina; Greenville, South Carolina; and Chattanooga for his first venture outside Asheville.
"I was happy it was Chattanooga," he said, though Gallagher noted he's still eyeing Charlotte along with Nashville as additional locations potentially by the end of 2024.
Vici Miller, the North Shore store's general manager, said in an interview she has been working in the cannabis business in Las Vegas for the past four years and brings a knowledge of the industry.
"It's a great opportunity to be with Jimmy," she said.
Gallagher said the bar and lounge concept is a first of its type in the Chattanooga area. The Asheville Dispensary's elixir options include a variety of nonalcoholic drinks some call "mertinis" and "mergaritas," according to the store owner.
The beverages pack a blend of organic, healthy ingredients, he said. In addition, the lounge features a full line of coffee elixirs and a variety of premium Eastern teas.
"We want our clientele to be able to just come in, relax and enjoy a healthy beverage any time of day," Gallagher said.