BizWorthy: CBD Oil Booming, Rise In Investor-Owned Housing, Movie Theaters And More

Jun 27, 2019

CBD oil sales are booming right now, but there's a threat looming for the small mom and pop CBD oil stores in Charlotte. Big retail chains are now looking to get in on the business. That's according to reporting by Tony Mecia of the Charlotte Ledger business newsletter. He joins WFAE's Morning Edition host Marshall Terry for our new segment BizWorthy.

Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE

Mecia: Good morning, Marshall.

Terry: So we see these stores all over the place with their bright signs saying, "CBD sold here." Is that something that we are going to start seeing at places like Walgreens and Harris Teeter?

Mecia: I think you're going to see more and more CBD products in a lot of the big box retailers. Just in the last few months we've seen some big retailers come out and say they're getting into the CBD business. You have Walgreens has come out and said they're going to start selling CBD products at about 1,500 stores nationwide. You've seen CVS come out say they're interested.

Harris Teeter's parent company, Kroger, came out this month and said they're going to start putting it in some of their stores now. Harris Teeter hasn't said exactly what they're going to do. So I do think you're going to see a lot of these big retailers start getting into CBD, selling lotions — mostly the bigger ones will be selling lotions, topical creams, that sort of thing.

And this is really going to be a threat, I think, to a lot of these smaller retailers that you see around town that have set up shop and really trying to cash in on this craze because the market for CBD products is expected to explode in the next five years and go up about 10-fold.

Terry: Let's shift now for a second to housing. New numbers show that last year 15% of homes that were sold in Charlotte were purchased by investors. Now that's about one in seven homes. Is that number on the rise?

Mecia: We have seen that number rising. Charlotte is, I think, the 18th largest city for having investors buy homes. This is something that, when you compare it to the national numbers, Charlotte is above the national numbers in terms of having investors buy these homes.

We're talking about people who come in, buy a home fix it up, flip it, or who buy it and rent it out. You know, this is really a problem. Charlotte's had a lot of talk lately about affordable housing, and this is something that really poses a little bit of a threat to affordable housing.

Terry: One of the big stories right now in Charlotte is who will Wells Fargo pick to be its next CEO. What's the latest on that?

Mecia: It's been sort of an ongoing process, really, for the last few months, ever since Wells Fargo allowed its former CEO, Tim Sloan, to retire.

Recall that he was under a lot of political pressure from Washington, from Elizabeth Warren. The senator from Massachusetts had come out and just blasted him and his leadership of the bank, and the bank, it seems to me, made the determination that it makes sense to just have a fresh start.

But it's a problem. They're having a problem finding somebody who's willing to take that job. You know, it's a lot of political pressure. It's very high profile, and some of the leaks you've seen coming out lately sort of suggest maybe they'll stick with their current interim CEO, Alan Parker, a Duke grad who had been their lawyer.

It's really something that I think we're going to have to keep an eye on as to whether they can find anybody, you know, who wants this job.

Terry: You found out that it's looking like Charlotte is losing another movie theater that shows independent and arthouse films. Which theater are we talking about here? 

Mecia: Sure. So, you know, I was talking to some merchants down at Ballantyne Village. There's a theater down there that shows a lot of these independent art films and a lot of the merchants in Ballantyne Village were saying, “Oh, yeah, we hear it's closing.” Shopkeepers talk all the time. But if you look online you'll see that there is for lease office space that with a diagram that looks exactly like the Ballantine Village Theatre put up on the website of JLL, which is a big office real estate company here in Charlotte.

And so all signs are kind of looking like they're maybe going to convert this into office space. Nobody's announced anything yet. Nothing is official, but that's certainly sort of the way things are looking.

Terry: And so, if that were to to happen, that would follow Park Terrace closing. That was another movie theater that showed independent and arthouse films. Is this something that's becoming a trend in Charlotte?

Mecia: I think so. I mean, if you look at the number of places that show small, independent films, it seems like they are dwindling. As you mentioned, Marshall, Park Terrace closed a couple of years ago. It was  another Regal theater. It was renovated and then was sold to AMC and now shows, I think it's showing "Toy Story 4" this weekend, so they've sort of gotten off that independent, small film kick. You still have the Manor Theater in Eastover. They've got a couple screens there.

Terry: Finally, it looks like Duke's Mayonnaise will soon call Charlotte home.

Mecia: Yeah. You know, local private equity firm Falfurrias Capital bought Duke's parent company, they announced last week. You see these private equity firms buying things all the time, but it's sort of neat to see. You don't usually get to have a headline that says, "big mayonnaise acquisition."

Terry: No, you don't. So, could we down the road have an office building in Charlotte, maybe, with a giant Duke's Mayonnaise jar outside of it?

Mecia: Well that would be a lot of fun. You know, that would give some character, I think to the Uptown, which is now mostly bank buildings, I guess. Yeah, that would be quite a skyline to have a Duke's Mayonnaise jar and a big sign that says, “Truist Bank.”

Terry: That's Tony Mecia of the Charlotte Ledger business newsletter. Thanks.

Mecia: Thanks a lot, Marshall.