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This religious bookseller had to change its name in the wake of the CBD boom


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Before cannabis products made a splash across the U.S. consumer market at breakneck speeds in 2019, a bookstore online had been selling Christian texts for years.


That online shop, Christian Book Distributors, was quietly run by the family of Ray Hendrickson for decades until this year. Now, the source of theology that employs 600 people selling Christian books, CDs, and the like is changing its name to Christianbook to fend off the hordes of would-be cannabis customers that keep contacting them.


The confusion took off early this year as the federal government legalized hemp and its derivatives late in 2018, sending a huge influx of interested customers, entrepreneurs and investors into the sector of cannabidiol, or CBD.


Cannabidiol is a cannabis-derivative that offers many of the upsides of marijuana without its psychoactive properties, thus appealing to a far larger audience. People use CBD for anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, forms of epilepsy and a host of other problems.


Still, the surprise of the Hendrickson’s and their employees is understandable.


“A person may call up and say, ‘Hey, I’m looking for my order,’” Hendrickson told the New York Times. “It’s like, ‘What did you order? Oh, I ordered gummies. You don’t have the right company.’” [1]


The Times reported that Hendrickson decided to rebrand the company late in June, but not only because absent-minded hemp fans keep tracking them down.


According to the Times, having the cbd.com domain name hasn’t helped the Hendricksons’ family enterprise: Instead of helping their web traffic, the cannabis craze has led their analytics and appearances in Google searches to fall dramatically. [1]


“Employees said they’ve gotten strange looks when they wear company gear in public,” the Boston Globe reported. “On one occasion, a company representative spent a confusing 30 minutes on the phone with a caller trying to locate his order information before the customer, in describing the product he’d purchased, mentioned it had a marijuana leaf on the bottle.” [2]


The Globe reported that the Christian bookstore isn’t alone in their lamentations over CBD. Among others that have found the coincidental, if less than fortunate, negative effects include Coffee By Design. [2]


That coffee joint in Portland, Maine recently filed suit against Utah’s CBD Coffee for trademark infringement.


“We’re not asking that they spell out the acronym,” Co-owner Mary Allen Lindemann told the Boston Globe. “But we’re saying that there needs to be language to make it clear that it’s not Coffee By Design.” [2]


This is a time of excitement and growth for many American businesses who look to provide CBD to customers who can’t wait for more. For Ray Hendrickson? It just means explaining to his 90-year-old mother that new businesses all over are not, in fact, new affiliates of his Christian bookselling operation.


Sources

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/13/us/christian-book-cbd-cannabidiol.html

[2] https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/07/13/for-decades-this-christian-bookseller-went-name-cbd-then-that-became-problem/IdoWqwUquLm6ewf4CCafeL/story.html?p1=SectionFront_Feed_ContentQuery

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