Will Sutterfield launched his small business from his home in Webbville, Ky. a couple of days before Christmas 2018.
Just after the New Year in 2020, he’s preparing to open two new shops in Nashville as part of an ongoing expansion, with franchise requests for locations in West Virginia and Ohio.
“I founded the company on the anniversary of my grandfather’s death,” Sutterfield said, recalling the birth of The Eastern Kentucky Hemp Company. His late grandfather, Paul Perkins, was dealing with cancer and the effects of chemotherapy when he asked about more natural options including CBD products.
“He tried it and it truly helped him in the last few weeks of his life,” he said, explaining the experience inspired his own enthusiasm to research and develop hemp and CBD related products for others who wanted options not offered by “big pharma” companies.
“It was online only when I started,” Sutterfield recalled of his first days in business, which quickly included discovery of a vacant space at 123 East Main Street in downtown Grayson. After completing extensive renovations “Which we did all by ourselves,” The Eastern Kentucky Hemp Company’s first store was opened in August, 2019 with retail space up front and room for sales-related tasks in back.
A member of the East Carter High School Class of 2013, Sutterfield also studied at Kentucky Christian University, where he also played soccer, before pursuing his education in economics and finance at ACTC and Morehead State University. Someday, he says he would like to complete his degree work, but for now will focus on the momentum of The Eastern Kentucky Hemp Company.
Smiling, he admits his original business plan aimed for profitability within three years. Instead, only eight months passed before that milestone was reached.
A second shop, The Eastern Kentucky Hemp Compnay & Vape, in partnership with Francis Messer, soon followed at 155 Scott Street in downtown Olive Hill. The local business celebrated the opening of a third shop in Huntington, West Virginia a couple of months ago, Sutterfield said, noting he was quite pleased to see that store’s numbers reflect a profit within a single month.
One of The Eastern Kentucky Hemp Company’s greatest successes, so far, was development of Delta 8 THC offered in cartridges similar to small “vape” pens, as well as Delta 8 THC edibles. Sutterfield explains isolation of the Delta 8 THC compound was an innovation, and provides consumers with milder versions of effects associated with Delta 9 THC found in traditional marijuana.
“It has been extremely popular,” he said, adding cancer patients have particularly appreciated the Delta 8 THC products.
In a few days, Sutterfield expects to sign a lease for The Eastern Kentucky Hemp Company’s Tennessee headquarters, a large space in the Old Hickory area of Nashville. The location will largely serve to meet the demands of existing customers in the state.
Soon after, the company will open a small retail space in The Arcade section of the city. Sutterfield said he will next consider franchise requests for cities including Morganton and Charleston, W.V. and Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Eastern Kentucky Hemp Company currently has more than a dozen employees, in addition to supporting independent small businesses which offer their products. Sutterfield said the company will add at least another half-dozen associates as part of the Tennessee operations.
For more information about The Eastern Kentucky Hemp Company “just Google us,” Sutterfield said, adding the company is easily found on Facebook, or by dialing 606.547.7492.