From a dedication to organic farming to using HempWood® and other sustainable materials in her retail stores and product manufacturing, Franny Tacy — North Carolina’s first female hemp farmer — is an entrepreneur with a mission to promote the many ways hemp can be used to advance health, sustainability and a green economy.
Among the first to see the potential in the hemp plant, from food and fiber to building materials, clothing, botanical medicine and more, Franny Tacy left a successful career in pharmaceuticals to become the first female hemp farmer in North Carolina.
More, today, Franny is also known as the first woman to launch a pioneering franchise of CBD wellness stores, now numbering 15 stores in six states throughout the Eastern U.S. Founder and CEO of Franny’s Farmacy, she and her team of “hempreneurs” have been disrupting the norms since hemp was made legal in America again, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, after 80 years of prohibition.
And while this month we celebrate Earth Day, Franny and her team’s dedication to driving sustainability through business is a year-round commitment, from the sourcing of local and organic ingredients for her food, chocolates, personal care products, CBD tinctures and other botanical products, to the very construction materials the company uses in its retail stores, including HempWood®, an innovative building material made from hemp, in its cabinets, shelving and displays.
From Farm to HempWood® Shelf
“Not only is HempWood sustainably manufactured from renewable materials, but it is high quality, has a unique, attractive look, and contributes greatly to the high-end custom design of our stores,” Franny says.
“From our farm to the stores’ shelves, which are made of HempWood, we are committed to sustainability and protecting Mother Earth through our practices. All of our franchise partners sign on to this commitment, too. Hemp is the only plant that can feed, clothe, shelter and provide medicine. We are building a brand to capitalize on all those aspects. It’s not an aspiration; it’s in motion. We like to say, “We are putting the farm back in farmacy.”
Made from 80% renewable hemp fiber, HempWood is not quite wood, says HempWood founder and CEO Greg Wilson. “It’s a wood-composite comprised of greater than 80% hemp fiber. We take the whole stalk and put it through a crushing machine which breaks open the cell structure. Then we dunk it into these enormous vats of soy protein, mixed with water and with the organic acid used by the paper towel industry. It’s essentially papier-mâché.” Wilson notes that the bonding agents used in HempWood are “Carb2 compliant,” and the end product is harder and more stable than white oak as a building material.
Wilson also notes that hemp is a renewable, regenerative crop, growing in 120 days, compared to 50-100 years for oak trees. By growing hemp, farmers are able to sequester 2 tons of carbon dioxide per acre, he says.
“I often refer to HempWood as a lifestyle brand. HempWood is a sustainable option that is for early adopters like Franny’s Farmacy. By selecting HempWood, Franny is setting a standard for cannabis and all retail stores to come. Just like Franny, HempWood is a unique product. We love Franny and her team of professional women leading the way in the professional cannabis space. Her dream fits well with the ideas and culture of the HempWood tribe,” Wilson says.
Growing a Business Like a Plant — with Strong Roots
Raised in Nashville, TN, and spending a lot of time growing up on the family farm outside the city, Franny Tacy received a degree in forestry from Northern Arizona State University. After building a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, she made the decision to focus on hemp, plant medicine and entrepreneurship and the rest is, literally, history.
In fact, in 2017, Franny became the first female hemp farmer in North Carolina in more than 75 years. Shortly thereafter, she established Franny’s Farmacy, a retail chain that today comprises 15 stores in five states in the Eastern U.S., with four more in development. The stores feature clean, sustainable design with a focus on wellness, healthy lifestyles, and CBD and hemp-derived products.
“We grow our business just like I grow a plant — with strong roots,” Franny says.
All Franny’s Farmacy products, including tinctures, edibles, topicals and CBD flower, are prepared in small batches with full spectrum cannabinoids, while containing less than 0.3% THC. In addition, with teas, chocolates and pastas made from hemp and other healthful ingredients, Franny’s Farm Foods was recently launched to expand the variety of hemp-derived products the company offers. Today, Franny’s Farmacy is a vibrant, ever-evolving business that is rigorously expanding across the U.S.
Adding Hempwood into our design couldn’t have fully come to life without assistance from our Designer and friends, Gini Marshall and Linsey Gray of Hive Interior Design. Their commitment to detail and creating a space that is fitting for the business is evolutionary!
A message from HIVE:
As part of a company-wide effort to elevate her rapidly growing hemp and CBD business, Franny Tacy of Franny’s Farmacy humbly asked HIVE to help breathe new life into the brand’s eight existing franchise locations and establish the overall design direction for future retail stores. With storage, flexibility, storytelling and customer demographics in mind, we are focusing this project on:
Exploration – A welcoming environment where customers feel comfortable exploring products without feeling overwhelmed or rushed.
Engagement – An interactive environment where customers are prompted to learn about the products via staff demonstrations and consultations.
Education – A learning environment with easy-to-digest bits of information thoughtfully exhibited throughout the space.