The Hempleton Group
We are excited you want to hear more about us here at Hempleton Investment Group, Inc and networked partners! Where do we start?
Once upon a time….. our founder, Justin Hamilton was a real estate developer in Wilmington NC with a unique passion for historical homes. Growing up on a farm throughout part of his childhood, Justin had an attraction to a historical country estate in Wallace NC as a potential long term project. As the property’s extensive restoration efforts were completed the real estate market began a turn for the worst in 2007, the historical farm property needed to become and asset and begin generating income, it opened as an agritourism farm. With the real estate market futures looking dreary for the next decade, Justin and his new partner Zach Mountford began looking at other industries that could potentially provide the passion and drive needed everyday to run a small business, but not only a business that’s goal was money, but a business you believed in and truly felt like made a difference in the community and the people that fuel that community.
With Agritourism research at the farm began the need for new farmers and the state of rural America was becoming crystal clear, and the dire need for a new generation of farmers became a mission statement for the farm including field trips and public agricultural awareness education integration through seasonal events. The other industry that showed potential progress in Agriculture was just starting to make the national news, as Colorado legally passed Medical Marijuana. This industry seemed promising for many reasons, but one of those reasons was the young generation of new farmers leading the movement. Justin began flying out to Colorado to learn more about this new industry in the national news, and he felt like the way to learn was experience. He needed to see it first hand and talk to people operating in this new pioneer frontier, not just watch them from a google page or on television reports. The first few trips were not very successful, the education was sparse but the energy and growth was staggering in the cannabis arena. Justin finally made some connections that made sense, and he was able to spend time in the beginning with key members of the board that structured the CO medical program. Being involved was difficult, there were rules as to how involved an out of state resident could be, so Justin stayed involved and hoped to accumulate an education in the industry that would one day potentially be a legal option in his home state.
In 2014 the federal farm bill passed. This was a big deal, it was a federal program that allowed states to start their own hemp research programs, and Justin had learned a few key things in the Cannabis industry. One of those was that their were a lot of benefits to different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, and one specifically was interesting because it was dominant in the Hemp plant, this cannabinoid was called CBD. The future looked bright, but also this was unchartered territory. We would be building not only companies but potentially a whole new industry. We would have to pass laws in NC and then also design companies and potential in multiple areas to fuel an interest large enough to build an industry around. As the opportunity became clearer and clearer Justin and Zach with close to a decade of Cannabis experience began the formation of a plan to build the biggest east coast cannabis model imaginable, with a strong focus on integrating the cannabis plant into existing agricultural practice using existing agricultural mechanisms and infrastructure. They decided the first place to start was Education, if we were going to build an industry we had to educate people on a plant that had been illegal for nearly 80 years. The educational program began with free hemp education events on the agritourism farms, visiting different farms across the state answering questions, and even writing a children’s book as a tool to open the door to destroying the cannabis stigma.
We can’t take credit for the legislative process, there were other groups involved, but we assisted in educating anyone who would listen from farmers to politicians. The midnight oil was burning for years just in the Education planning and business model design stages. We knew that if we wanted to make a healthy industry we had to have companies producing revenue immediately. So throughout 2016 companies and partnerships were formed, and as 2017 brought us temporary operating rules for the NC Hemp program, it also brought us the starting bell for the launch of the companies built around the now legal plant.
For the last few years a large team was built on passion, and a drive that only comes from something as special. This team included a key retail experienced GM poached from corporate America, Joe Ameri. Together they were building an infrastructure that not only would financially impact our state, but also could potentially change the health of millions of people. Justin and Zach had built exactly what they had planned for all those late nights on the whiteboard and computers. They had found superior genetics to launch a new East Coast Hemp Genetics program and begin introducing and training farmers to grow, they had formed a large research coop of farmers that grew not only the new High CBD genetics, but also fiber and grain production of Industrial Hemp. They had launched a new model that was a culmination of a decade of cannabis experience and a decade of waiting at the starting gate patiently for the opportunity, The Hemp Farmacy Dispensary model was built and generating a revenue stream in the new industry at a retail level, under the management of the new GM. Retail was right where they needed to be, spreading the education program and helping hundreds of farmers and entrepreneurs understand the new industry and the places they could potentially fit. With the construction of four model farmacies from urban foot traffic in downtown wilmington to large heavy traffic count models as large as a Walgreens, the new retail platform was ready for lift off. With physical retail models generating industry data, education in all categories, direct farmer access, hemp product distribution center, and large genetics program the new platform was ready for large scale franchising.
As 2018 has begun the opportunity for a healthy thriving industry is demonstrated every day at hundreds of locations from farms to urban small businesses. With locations from Wilmington to Asheville the foundation is in place, large scale research projects are being funded by the retail platform that will carry us into all hemp categories including fiber and seed production. These categories will expand the industry into a more accessible existing manufacturing integration with product development and grain farming for protein. These categories stand to be the most stable consistent markets to help rural NC and eventually rural America. As we replace animal feed proteins with hemp protein, or begin making everyday products with hemp fiber (25,000+ options form batteries to clothes), hemp will hit mainstream production levels.
Even though the appearance of the company has grown into a large network of partners and corporations both Justin and Zach are still burning the midnight oil, and clock in every morning with a smile on their face. They still take time to talk to as many farmers and potential industry members as possible and believe that sharing information, community driven models, and multilevel partnerships are imperative to building the framework of a healthy industry. Justin likes to use the analogy “What we had to do compares to the dream of a child who loves to play basketball in a country who loves baseball. We had to convince people that basketball was fun too and that baseball was not the only option, then they had to band together and build a stadium brick by brick with a professional basketball court, train the teams full of people who all decided they loved this new sport, hire referees, and then start learning how to manage a league full of players and teams. While somewhere in the middle reminding yourself that you did it all because you love basketball. You have to look forward through all the stress to a time when the little kids are now playing basketball in their community neighborhood driveways and dreaming of playing on the court you built. Their heroes are your friends and teammates.”
No matter how large the companies get, the founding members of this company and staff will continue to passionately dedicate themselves to this amazing opportunity and encourage others to make a dream and follow it, fight for what you believe in, and keep setting goals that others call unachievable. This country was built by passion and founders like these. Justin E. Hamilton President Hempleton Investment Group, Inc.