Blühen Botanicals opens flagship retail hemp store in Knoxville’s Old City

Brittany Crocker, Knoxville News Sentinel Published 2:13 p.m. ET May 14, 2019

Blühen Botanicals, a Knoxville-based hemp processing and extracting company, opened its first retail store in the Old City Tuesday.  

In late February, the company received a $30 million investment from international cannabis business, SOL Global Investments Corp., to begin a retail hemp brand in late February, and quickly got to work setting up its flagship store on Jackson Avenue. 

What does the new store offer?

Products are displayed at a soft opening of Blühen Botanical's wellness and CBD product retail center on 111 East Jackson Ave in downtown Knoxville Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

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Products are displayed at a soft opening of Blühen Botanical’s wellness and CBD product retail center on 111 East Jackson Ave in downtown Knoxville Tuesday, May 14, 2019. (Photo: Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel)

The sleek white modern shop features a counter for hemp flower, pre-rolled hemp joints, and cannabidiol (CBD) oil sprays, capsules, vaporizers and pods.

The retail space also includes a glass front hydroponic grow area, and a small restaurant and bar that incorporates food-grade hemp products into the menu. 

More: Hemp, CBD oil wellness center coming to Old City with products made in Knoxville

More: As CBD oil turns mainstream, local Blühen Botanicals enters $2 billion hemp industry

Beckett Stabile, a hemp educator and human resources director for Blühen, said all of the products the company sells contain less than three percent THC, the psychoactive chemical responsible for giving marijuana users a “high.”

Founders, from left, Joe Fox, and Erich Maelzer, stand in front of a grow room at a soft opening of Blühen Botanical's wellness and CBD product retail center on 111 East Jackson Ave in downtown Knoxville Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

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Founders, from left, Joe Fox, and Erich Maelzer, stand in front of a grow room at a soft opening of Blühen Botanical’s wellness and CBD product retail center on 111 East Jackson Ave in downtown Knoxville Tuesday, May 14, 2019. (Photo: Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel)

Blühen’s cannabis plants are selectively bred to contain less THC than marijuana plants, which typically contain between 25 and 35 percent THC. 

“We are not a dispensary,” Stabile said. “This is a place where ‘science meets hemp,’ as our tagline says. We’re here to start a conversation about this plant generations of farmers have missed out on, and all of its possible uses, whether that’s clinical research, food, wellness products, textiles, or construction products like hempcrete.”

Community investment

Blühen Botanical’s Amy Kendziorski speaks about their new retail space in Old City Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Knoxville News Sentinel

Stabile said Bluhen looks forward to investing in the local community through job creation and business partnerships as the business grows. 

“Hemp production is run a lot like tobacco farms,” she said. “It’s very labor intensive and creates a lot of manual labor jobs for drying and harvesting.” 

The company also employs entomologists, plant pathologists, agronomists, chemists, and engineers.

All of the small-batch food menu items are made through local partnerships, according to Joe Fox, Blühen Botanicals’ Co-Founder and CEO. Local merchants Paysan Bread, Phoenix Pharmacy, Holly’s Gourmet Market, Elkmont Exchange, and PostModern Spirits provide food products. 

A hummus plate offered at Blühen Botanical's wellness and CBD product retail center on 111 East Jackson Ave in downtown Knoxville Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

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A hummus plate offered at Blühen Botanical’s wellness and CBD product retail center on 111 East Jackson Ave in downtown Knoxville Tuesday, May 14, 2019. (Photo: Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel)

More: CBD oil sold freely in Knoxville, but state law, federal policy clash on its use

More: 40 Under 40: Entrepreneur Joe Fox is betting on hemp, CBD oil

The shop also uses and sells local pottery, beverages, apparel and pet treats from Jon Newman and Jeffrey DeAlejandro, Vienna Coffee, Jackson Avenue Tea Company, Frog Juice, Sarah Shabero, River Dog Bakery, Mighty Mud, and Brigid Osterling.

The owners are already making plans to host hemp education and wellness workshops, yoga, do it yourself lessons and other community events in the store.

“Our staff will educate local customers about the benefits of hemp, while also providing them with premium products,” Fox said.

Blühen expects to open more retail stores across the southeastern United States, including a location in Fort Lauderdale later this year.Discover the stories that matter most to you. Support local journalism.
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Reach Brittany Crocker at brittany.crocker@knoxnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @brittcrocker.

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