After working for years as a residential and commercial electrician, Devin Pearson was no stranger to chronic and at times debilitating back pain. On Wednesday afternoon, he and his wife, Jessica, cut the ribbon for a business selling the very product that he says gave him his life back.
“I had a couple times where I was stuck in bed for weeks or months at a time — I had to crawl across the room on my hands and knees,” Mr. Pearson told the News-Press. “My back went out on the job one day, and I decided to make it to the end of the day before I told my boss that I can’t work. And he came up to me before I went up to him, and he laid me off.”
Unemployed and bedridden, Mr. Pearson was approached by Mike Lerch, a friend and entrepreneur in the CBD industry, who offered him a jar of SunMed CBD pain cream. With the help of the cream, Mr. Pearson says that his back has “never been better.”
Three years later, the Pearsons became owners of Your CBD Store in Santa Barbara after managing the storefront since it opened in December 2019. Their mission is to help people explore the potential benefits of CBD and get the help they need the same way Mr. Pearson describes he did.
“CBD, scientifically known as Cannabidiol, is a naturally-occurring compound that is found in high concentrations in hemp,” according to a handout provided by the business. “CBD is also the best-researched cannabinoid to date, and the list of its applications is constantly expanding … and can deliver unique health benefits to our bodies.”
The Food and Drug Administration has so far approved one CBD product for market — a prescription drug used to treat seizures associated with Lennox Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex — and states that the agency “has seen only limited data about CBD safety,” and that further research into the health effects of the compound are needed.
The store itself, which is located at 10 W. Calle Laureles in Santa Barbara, features a calming boutique atmosphere with an open floor plan smartly furnished with modern farmhouse and mid-century modern pieces.
Different displays dot the walls offering a wide variety of CBD products including creams, oil tinctures, supplement powders, beverage enhancers, and even bath bombs.
Everything in the store is made in America, produced in-house by SunMed, and “third party lab-tested from soil to oil,” according to Mrs. Pearson.
Despite opening only months before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mrs. Pearson saw during lockdowns that their products were improving the lives of their customers, and was confident that the store would thrive.
“We did not know that three months (after opening) the whole world was going to change,” she said prior to the ribbon cutting. “But luckily we had a few months to cultivate loyal customers. I was driving CBD all over Santa Barbara, and I think at that point I knew we would be okay because people need this.”
According to Mrs. Pearson, the clientele of Your CBD Store varies widely, ranging from older professionals looking for non-pharmaceutical methods to treat pain to younger people looking for alternatives to retail marijuana that today features record amounts of THC — the compound that gives cannabis its mind-altering effects.
In addition to aches and pains, other common ailments that those who visit Your CBD Store are seeking to remedy include anxiety, stress and issues sleeping.
Michele Schneider, the director of business development for the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, attended Wednesday’s event both in her role as an ambassador to local business events and as an individual who’s benefitted from CBD products offered by the Pearson’s store.
“Anyone who’s worked the Lemon Festival or some sort of festival knows that by the end of setting everything up you’re in aches and pains, and my arm hurt so bad (that I had a) brace on,” she said. “And I looked over to Devin and said ‘I’ve got two more days of this, what can you do?’”
“(Mr. Pearson) put the CBD rub on my arm, and I haven’t worn the brace since,” she continued.
Also in attendance at Wednesday’s ribbon cutting was Santa Barbara City Councilmember Oscar Guttierez, who gave a warm welcome to the fledgling business owners.
“I just want to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of the City of Santa Barbara, we’re really grateful that you all are taking this big leap in these trying times,” he said. “If there’s anything you need from us on the city council, don’t hesitate to ask — we’re here to serve you.”
Near the end of her remarks, Mrs. Pearson took some time to acknowledge her husband’s role in making the new business possible, and praised the care that he shows to customers.
“He’s the foundation of this store,” she said, fighting back tears. “He’s here every single day, and has been here every day for the past three years basically, and he is what holds this up. He takes his time with every customer, makes sure that every question is answered, and that a perfect product is picked out for them.”
“When people come in, they ask for Devin.”