MOKENA, IL — When Misty Nelson and her husband got into the CBD business, they knew there would be challenges they would need to deal with — both in getting people to understand what they do and perhaps more importantly, what they don’t do.
The couple started SunKissed Greenz in 2020 and opened a warehouse location in New Lenox in 2022. But when they found that many of their customers felt more comfortable discussing their health issues and the benefits of CBD and hemp products in a storefront location, the Nelsons decided to make a move to Mokena.
But getting into a new retail space that will be part storefront and part laboratory where all of the business' products are made in-house has not come easy.
The business owners hope to open their new location in the next week or so in Mokena, where the Nelsons have had to work through several delays in getting licensed by village officials to continue their business. The village initially denied the couple’s request for a business license before granting one after the Nelsons appealed the ruling, which has slowed the process considerably and brought business to a standstill, Misty Nelson said.
But a process that got tied up in legal delays and challenges has forced the couple to experience a nine-week period in which they have had to put the move to Mokena on hold, along with their business, Nelson said. As they have had to in the past, the Nelsons worked through a series of misconceptions about what their business is and isn’t — all with the hopes of helping people feel healthier.
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“I think people automatically think that we’re just over here trying to get people high and that we’re just stoners trying to push weed out of the door,” Nelson told Patch on Thursday. “It’s not like that over here … we’re not in the industry to get people high.”
Misty Nelson said before moving ahead with a move to Mokena, she and her husband surveyed the local business landscape. The village already had a marijuana dispensary, several CBD-related businesses, and a Kratom store, which made them think adding to the local business scene with SunKissed Greenz would not be a difficult move.
After signing a one-year lease for the new retail space at 19121 Wolf Rd., the Nelsons applied for a business license and then waited seven weeks – only to have their license application denied by the village. Nelson said that, unlike many CBD businesses, SunKissed Greenz differs by making their own products and then selling them out of the same space.
That created confusion with the village, which Nelson said, “didn’t really know how to handle us.”
The majority of the miscommunication came, Nelson said, because of the fact the company makes its own products. In a letter to the Nelsons granting their appeal of the initial decision, the village’s legal department said that the license does not allow for hemp products to be processed through the refining, reduction, or extracting of CBD oil from the organic plants.
Instead, the business will be allowed to infuse CBD oil into products, which was behind the reversal of the village’s initial decision, legal representatives for the village said.
Misty Nelson said difficulties aren’t new to the company, which has had insurance companies cancel on them and banks refuse to work with them all because of the business they conduct. Because CBD is listed under a cannabis business label, many people take issues with a company like SunKissed Greenz, Nelson said. But unlike marijuana businesses, the Nelsons company falls under Hemp processors and not under the Cannabis Tax Act, which includes recreational marijuana.
SunKissed Greenz works closely with its customer base to inform clients about the benefits of using CBD products for medical conditions, pain, and other issues they may deal with. Establishing trust with customers is a top priority for the couple, who do extensive testing on the materials they use to make their products to make sure it is free of pesticides, mold, solvents, and THC.
Nelson said that it is important for customers to know what they are putting into their bodies and that they can trust the products that are being made in-house by SunKissed Greenz. And while the delays have frustrated the business owners who are just hoping to find a new home in Mokena, they look forward to opening soon — even if it is without the fanfare of a Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony or other celebration to introduce themselves to their new community.
“I really feel deep in my heart that this is going to be a better location for our customers,” Misty Nelson told Patch on Thursday. “Their comfort level is everything to us. Our customers are everything to us. That’s the bread and the butter of what we do this for.
“We know (the move) is going to be a good thing, but it is upsetting because we definitely felt unwelcomed for a while. …but there is a fight for us to stay in this industry and help people. Awareness is a big deal because we’re very misunderstood and because of people having to be educated, we have to fight for things. …It’s an uphill battle, but it’s worth it because this is what we love to do.”
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