Siblings Jim and Kari Bullman have been working to build an enduring cannabis business. A feat not for the faint of heart. From retail stores to cGMP certified facilities, to organic hemp farms, these siblings have navigated the ins and outs of the complex and ever-evolving cannabis industry in New York State.
The struggles have been many, the goal has been constant. The essence of their goal is best captured by a note written on a whiteboard in Jim Bullman’s office that reads, “Must build Hempire.”
A Promising Start
The Bullmans’ entry into hemp/cannabis came through the opening of their retail store, One Hemp Holistics, located on Military Road (2023 Military) in Niagara Falls. The store saw early success in the green wave that brought CBD to store shelves everywhere. At the time, it seemed like everyone was selling CBD (even Family Video), but the quality of the products being sold was more than questionable.
The pair realized a key way to differentiate their business from the rest of the stores selling CBD was to focus on quality and product selection. Kari worked hard to source quality products, while Jim worked on developing quality products in-house. They quickly built out their inventory offering a wide variety of CBD products from salves, tinctures, edibles, pre-rolls, patches, topicals, beverages, and more. The siblings then found themselves in a unique position. Their storefront, located directly across from the Niagara Falls Fashion outlets, was perfectly positioned to pull in ready to spend customers that were looking for gifts, remedies, and other products that contained the new and popular ingredient, CBD. The staff at One Hemp Holistics worked hard and achieved sizable sales in their initial years operating the business.
COVID-19 & Impact on Retail
But soon, the COVID-19 pandemic brought business restrictions, public uncertainty about going out to shop, and death to many retail businesses. Feeling the impact of the pandemic, Kari quickly pivoted to offer customers free home delivery, consultations by phone, and online ordering. While these changes certainly helped, the impact of the pandemic is still being felt by their store today.
In the midst of the pandemic (2020), and facing a retail downturn, the Bullman’s committed to making progress for their business. Pivoting to a focus on wholesale, their production facility achieved a certificate of compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP); regulations that govern the production of food, beverages, cosmetics, and dietary supplements that are enforced by the FDA. Then, they endeavored to start a second venture, Niagara Hemp Supply. An organically certified farm and registered hemp research partner with the State Department of Agriculture. Niagara Hemp Supply would provide the natural botanical source of ingredients contained in products sold at One Hemp. This was really the only way to truly ensure quality across the product life cycle. Through the creation of Niagara Hemp Supply, One Hemp Holistics could now boast vertical integration for their in-house brand. Demonstrating that they exercise total control of their product life cycle from Seed to Sale. This was a key achievement as they began to push their brand into other stores through their wholesale relationships.
Niagara Hemp Supply’s 45-acre hemp farm has since received organic certification from NOFA (the Northeast Organic Farming Association). They’ve also collaborated with Niagara County Community College to develop an apprenticeship program for students studying cannabis horticulture.
While many more challenges are surely ahead, Kari and Jim have proven that they are up for it and have positioned themselves as leaders in cannabis/hemp in Niagara county. If you’re looking to add high-quality CBD products to your store or are interested in partnering with a top-performing product line, contact Kari to discuss wholesale options. White and private labels are available! 716.465.8787 / firstname.lastname@example.org