YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Not only was opening Tri-Healthy a savvy business move for Paul and Stacie Kaldy, they found it treated what ailed them.
“My daughter diagnosed us as serial entrepreneurs,” Paul says.
The Kaldys opened their first Tri-Healthy CBD store in February 2019 in Johnson City, Tenn.
Today they operate stores in the Eastwood Mall in Niles, one in Boardman and three in Florida, with a fifth store coming later this year.
The Mahoning Valley natives owned an apparel business in Johnson City and were scouting locations for a second site in Sevierville, a city about 90 minutes west near Knoxville, when they noticed something.
“Every other store seemed to be selling CBD and we lived 90 minutes east and nobody sold it,” Paul recalls. “We decided if we were going to do it, we had to do it now and we had to do it fast.”
While Paul says he saw it as a viable business venture, he was skeptical of the effectiveness of cannibidiol (CBD), the active ingredient derived from the hemp plant.
“I was in the Navy – very pro-alcohol. They actually rewarded us with alcohol,” Paul says. “For me to even consider hemp, I wasn’t too keen on it.”
The couple decided they needed to test the product themselves. They found an ideal subject in their dog. “She was aging and having a hard time getting up and down the stairs,” Stacie says. “So it helped her dramatically.”
The Kaldys say their dog soon became more active and eventually began to refuse her food if it didn’t have CBD oil.
“She knew it was helping her,” Paul says.
At that time CBD sales were just beginning, only recently allowed by the signing in December 2018 of the Agriculture Improvement Act, known as the Farm Bill. The bill removed hemp and other cannabis derivatives containing 0.3% THC or less from the definition of marijuana, making them legal.
The Kaldys’ first store opened in the Johnson City Mall “and it caused quite a buzz,” Paul says.
Business was so good they decided to close their apparel business and turn it into the merchandising division of Tri-Healthy CBD.
A short time later, the Kaldys returned to the Mahoning Valley to visit family. In August 2019, they opened a Tri-Healthy kiosk in the Southern Park Mall and immediately sold out their stock. “People wanted to buy dog oil for themselves,” Stacie says.
The following month they opened a site in the Eastwood Mall in Niles and in November they left the kiosk in the Southern Park Mall to move into a 2,500-square-foot space there.
“Everything was going really, really well and then in March COVID hit,” Paul says.
Tri-Healthy got essential business status but the shutdowns meant customers couldn’t get to their products.
“We launched online and started running a delivery service,” Paul says. “Online has been the major focus since then.”
The staff made deliveries and began to create videos on YouTube to educate customers about the different uses of CBD.
In a way, Paul says, the pandemic slowed business down enough that they could focus on building a strong foundation that has since allowed them to quickly expand.
In October 2020, Tri-Healthy opened a site in Venice, Fla, followed by two more stores in North Port and Osprey, Fla.
This November, the first Tri-Healthy CBD franchise will open in Lakeland, Fla.
“We weren’t even selling a franchise,” Paul says. “People are coming to buy it.”
The Kaldys had minimal staff issues during the pandemic, they say, which they attribute to their products, particularly their products that contain Cannibigerol or CBG.
While none of the products at Tri-Healthy are FDA regulated and the staff is careful not to make direct health claims, store manager Chris Treff says there is research to show CBG is an effective antibacterial. “It’s shown the ability to kill MRSA and all these other highly infectious diseases,” he says.
In 2021, the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Library of Medicine found that CBG exhibited “anti-bacterial activities against S. mutans,” the most common pathogen associated with tooth decay.
“The recommendations we get are tremendous,” Treff says. Customers tell him, “ ‘My doctor told me to come here. My vet told me to come here. My uncle. My grandma.’ We get new customers everyday.”
Jordan Robinson, director of operations at Tri-Healthy CBD, is a passionate advocate for the use of CBD. “As somebody with a terrible immune system, I didn’t get sick once,” he says of the pandemic.
At 20, Robinson was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, which can cause pain and numbness in the hands and feet.
Six months later, he found himself immobile in a hospital bed, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and relying on a feeding tube. He was told he would never walk again.
Robinson’s mother began to look for a way to help her son and reached out to former talk show host Montel Williams, who has MS and is an advocate for the effectiveness of CBD as a treatment.
Robinson began to use William’s line of CBD oil. “I started noticing my toes wiggling. This is after being in a hospital for almost two years,” he says.
A year and a half later, Robinson was walking again. Today, he lives a normal life as long as he keeps treating his MS with CBD, he says. “I never thought I’d walk, never thought I’d have a kid. I never thought I’d do anything at one point and now I have all of that.”
Robinson says he still has bad days and visits a neurologist at Cleveland Clinic once a month but that his improvement has been remarkable.
His neurologist agrees, he says. “My neurologist up there is baffled.”
Proponents of CBD say it can treat a wide variety of ailments including stress, pain, gastric function, poor vision and inflammation, among others.
Stacie’s sister uses CBD to treat her epilepsy, she says, that caused her to have seizures eight to 10 times a day.
“She’s down to one every eight or nine months now,” Stacie says. “We just saw the differences with everything and we knew we had to get into this to help everybody.”
Pictured at top: Jordan Robinson, director of operations, stands next to Paul and Stacie Kaldy, owners of the Tri-Healthy CBD stores in Niles, Boardman and Florida. Chris Treff manages the Eastwood Mall store.