A casual supply run produced more than equipment for United American Hemp; the team behind the Olathe startup walked away co-owners of another new venture.
“We hit it off and invested both time and money in [the] business. … Since then [its] exploded in revenue,” Michael Wilson, director of research and development at United American Hemp, explained of the industrial growers new stake in Year Round Garden — an Olathe garden supply store, focused on educating customers and novice growers.
“Since I started [three years ago] it’s surprising how many people are reverting back to growing their own products and produce and they really want to know where their stuff is coming from,” added Jason Mispagel, owner-operator of Year Round Garden.
“[United American Hemp] needed help with the cultivation aspects, that’s where I’m stepping in,” Mispagel said. “I’ve got a little bit more knowledge and experience than they do, right now — they’re super smart and they catch on quick, they just kind of needed a guiding hand.”
Click here to learn more about United American Hemp and its commitments to research and education.
As part of the equity swap — in which the entrepreneurs exchanged minority ownership of their ventures — Wilson and James DeWitt, CEO of United American Hemp are providing Mispagel and Year Round Garden with business savvy earned in their previous ventures.
“We’ve leveraged our connections to build new supply relationships with brands that are well known in more developed markets but needed introduction here in the Midwest,” said Wilson.
“Since they came on board, we’ve rearranged the shop, the websites been redone,”Mispagel added, saying he’s hopeful the brand can expand its footprint beyond its original Olathe location as the region embraces urban farming and stigmas surrounding hemp growth wither.
Business for Year Round Garden has surged since the companies joined forces in August — thanks in large part to Missouri medical marijuana patients investing in home growth, Wilson noted. Commercialized operations focused on medicinal use in Oklahoma and Arkansas have also played a role in the boom. The store has been getting calls from across the region, he added.
“As more farmers come online as far as the hemp thing goes, that’s a bonus. If Kansas ever gets to the point where they want to do medical, we’re here and we’ve been here for three years,” Mispagel said.
Part of such support will include a series of classes for local hemp growers, set for harvest in December, he added.
“We’re going to be launching Coffee and Clones which will teach people how to propagate, how to clone and just try to keep them from making small mistakes,” Mispagel explained, noting the synergy between the mission of United American Hemp and Year Round Garden.
Click here for more information on Coffee and Clones as its announced.
More than hemp, Mispagel is optimistic about the future of urban farming in the Kansas City-region and excited by trends that have more consumers looking for a DIY lifestyle, he noted.
“There’s so many people that are doing this and not growing pot,” Mispagel said. “They’re just wanting to grow their own lettuce and their own stuff to cook with — their own sage, their own bays, that kind of thing.”
Such a task can easily be completed on a kitchen countertop, he added, further explaining it doesn’t take acreage and equipment to go green.
“[This doesn’t] have to be about financial drive. When you have heart and passion behind it, I think that resonates with customers more than anything,” Mispagel said. “Customer service is our biggest asset. How it all helps [the consumer.] I’ll help you until I turn blue in the face, I’ll help you through your troubles, I’ll help ensure you’re successful.”