A trio of former high school buddies are behind a new player in the local CBD scene.
VA Harvest, which sells CBD extracts and creams in stores and online, launched in November.
The company has a nascent retail presence, with products on the shelves at Ellwood Thompson’s grocery store and Fan Blossom RVA wellness store, said co-founder Bill Wingfield. The company plans to expand locally and in the south-east of the country.
She also sells products on her website. The company’s 30ml extracts are priced at the site for $ 98, the same as its 1 ounce topical cream.
VA Harvest plans to launch CBD products for animals in the spring.
The company contracts with AG Essence, of which Wingfield is co-owner and chief chemist, for the processing, manufacturing and testing of its products. AG Gasoline operates an 8,000 square foot facility at 5350 Lewis Road near the Richmond International Airport.
Ten thousand units of CBD products are produced for VA Harvest per month. Wingfield said the company expects that number to increase in the near future with new equipment coming. Over $ 1 million has been invested to launch VA Harvest, he said.
VA Harvest’s parent company, Mid-Atlantic Botanicals, owns the equipment that AG Essence uses to make VA Harvest products.
VA Harvest intends to add private label products, which means that CBD products would be sold under the brand names of other companies. Conversations with potential clients are ongoing, but no deal has yet been reached, co-owner Phil Noonan said.
Wingfield, Noonan and Keith Oley, co-owner of VA Harvest, are alumni of Benedictine College Preparatory School. They founded the company after conversations about the CBD industry turned to formulating a business enterprise reinforced by Wingfield’s existing resources and knowledge.
“Keith and I had been talking about CBD because his son is in Colorado,” Noonan said. “I asked Bill, ‘Do you know anything about the CBD trade? He said no. I said, “Would you like to find out? He then called me about a month later and told me we could do it.
Noonan runs the outsourcing company The Noonan Company. Oley owns electrical contractor Metro Electric. Noonan and Oley are both investors in VA Harvest.
Although it took more than a year to develop VA Harvest’s products, Wingfield said they had a head start thanks to their previous experience with AG Essence.
A pharmaceutical facility registered with the FDA, AG Essence processes, manufactures and tests personal care and health care products. The company manufactures private label products and also has its own first aid line called Banda-Sil.
“We already make wound care products – first aid for cuts and scrapes and burns and stuff like that – so we were already doing all the FDA paperwork,” he said. “But if you start from scratch, it’s overwhelming. “
In his research, Wingfield said he concluded that AG Essence’s experience and familiarity with federal and state regulatory rules could give them an advantage.
“It was a long process. It’s interesting because we’ve found out how many people really don’t know what they’re doing here, pulling out products that aren’t tested properly, or they’re missing a garage or ‘a barn,’ he said.
VA Harvest plans to participate in the potential recreational marijuana retail market, which is slated to open in January 2024. The company wants to apply for a manufacturer’s license to create its own products and manufacture private label products for other companies.
VA Harvest currently has no employees, although the company plans to start hiring salespeople early next year and possibly have its own production staff rather than outsourcing the work, Wingfield said.
AG Essence was founded in 2011. Wingfield co-owns the business with his wife, Bella Wingfield. AG Essence has eight employees.
VA Harvest joins other companies in the region that have sprouted in the market. In Richmond, Old Manchester Hemp Co. sells hemp in smokable forms at 1308 Hull St., where the business is growing locally.