FARMINGTON – Farmington’s newest off-the-grid apothecary gift and hemp shop had their official grand opening on Black Friday weekend, but owner of The Cabin and managing member of LoveGrown Agricultural Research, Erica Haywood, has been in the business of educating the public on hemp since she opened an office in the Farmington downtown area in 2012. This year though, with the pandemic impacts, the storefront lost most of its customer interaction and slowed to a packaging and mailing facility.
In November, when the local outdoor farmer’s market closed and it was announced that it would not be moving to an indoor venue this year, Haywood was forced to reevaluate how she conducted her business.
“Farmers especially were impacted heavily. We all had to pivot how to reach our customers,” said Haywood.
The solution for Haywood and the rest of LoveGrown Agricultural Research was to shift their business directly to one of their many hemp research plots, where a cabin had previously been used as storage or for general workers’ space.
“The building wasn’t utilized to its full potential. I often thought about how to utilize it as a public space, and when everything happened this year, it was time to make something happen. We put our hearts and minds on the project,” said Haywood.
After some renovations, such as a new wood stove and updated solar power, The Cabin opened for business, selling the hemp products grown on-site, as well as other goods from local farmers and business owners who use The Cabin as a venue.
“It gave us a way to put a face to the farm, but also to lend a venue to other farmers,” said Haywood.
Other businesses that have partnered with The Cabin are Whitehill Farms, The Farmer’s Daughter, Maine Pieceworks, and Arika’s Art, lending an eclectic and varied stock to the store. Customers have described the space as “cozy” and have told Haywood on several occasions that it’s the sort of shopping experience they wish to take part in more. The Cabin’s location, 578 Industry Road, offers customers an intimate and rural shopping experience, during which they can tour the agricultural fields where Haywood and her associates grow the hemp used in some of their products.
Though LoveGrown has maintained a healthy online worldwide distribution business, achieving a level of security and success that has lent itself to future expansion plans, the company is establishing a personal side to itself with the addition of The Cabin. It acts as a community, not only for the customers but for other local business owners and farmers impacted by the pandemic and Haywood has high hopes for it to continue to succeed.
“It’s not easy to start a new venture right now, and we’re going on a wing and a prayer.”
For more information head to their Facebook page here.