Small business survives 2020, launches its own CBD line

FARGO — In December 2019, Kota Organics was just opening its doors. One year later, the organic CBD shop managed to hang on, despite overwhelming economic stress.

Nearly 98,000 small businesses permanently shut down in 2020, according to the latest economic impact report from Yelp. That’s approximately 800 small businesses per day.

Kota Organics Founder and CEO Vivian Fellman says her shop felt the slowdown in sales, forcing it to close its doors for three weeks. Despite that, she wasn’t ready to give up her passion.

“Luckily when I opened my brick and mortar, we also launched our ecommerce website,” Fellman said. “We pivoted our service model to offer free shipping, free delivery in town.”

After a few tough weeks, business slowly began picking up again.

“Our online business has been growing. Surprisingly, people from other states will order our products,” Fellman said. “We have a couple clients in California, which is surprising since the whole cannabis is legal in California. But, they’re choosing to pick a shop in Fargo, ND.”

Kota Organics even grew, from offering eight brands to 19, with a variety of nearly 130 products.

Fellman even took a leap of faith to partner with a small family farm to develop and launch her own organic line of premium CBD products: Kota Botanics.

“While we are retailing other people’s brands, I wanted to develop something we believe in and make sure our clients will love as well,” Fellman said. “It’s really high quality and I’m super proud of that.”

She now enters 2021 feeling hopeful.

“I feel so thankful for everything we have,” Fellman said. “Our health, the support of our friends and family, and most importantly our clients really supported us through this whole year.”

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