SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Nature’s Secret didn’t have much of a chance to flourish before the coronavirus pandemic took its toll.
Started by Shawn and Mitra Mozoon, the CBD store opened two locations in Scottsdale a few short months ago after the couple’s Albuquerque location boomed. Shawn used to live in the Valley and had always dreamed of moving back with his family in tow. Now, with no employees left to man the shopfronts, one at DC Ranch Crossing and the other at Shea Boulevard and N. Scottsdale Road, the Mozoons each work at one location and often take their 5-year-old to work with them due to school closures.
“We’re hopeful and we’re just trying to make the best of it, and be positive and hang on,” Mitra told Patch in an interview. “It’s really hard. Rent isn’t cheap and small business owners don’t get unemployment.”
Nature’s Secret is just one of many small businesses across the U.S. struggling to retain its business due to the devastating economic toll of the coronavirus. With public health officials still recommending that people stay home when they can, small businesses are continuing to take hits. According to a report from Alignable, total consumer spending at local businesses is down by 18 percent this year over last.
Mitra said Nature’s Secret got a small loan early on in the pandemic but that’s long gone. Thankfully, a small but loyal customer base is helping them stay afloat as Shawn and Mitra navigate the new market – and new normal.
“The Albuquerque store does better and is doing better than our Arizona stores,” she said. “There’s only one store out there but it’s still going.”
In addition to being a new business in town, Mitra credits some of their troubles with the community’s lack of knowledge about CBD. She said that many of the people who wander into one of their two stores think CBD is the same as marijuana or that it will get them high. In actuality, CBD is a natural pain reliever, anti-inflammatory and sleep aid, she said.
“It feels like Albuquerque people are more open to try CBD than Arizona,” she said. “I think people are a little bit more cautious, and, you know, those misconceptions. I think that most of my customers that come in are trying it for the first time.”
Nature’s Secret carries CBD products in various forms: gummies, tinctures, capsules, and even honey or chocolate. All are third-party tested, U.S. Department of Agriculture approved and full quality ingredients. The company is offering free shipping, free delivery or curbside pick-up at both locations to accommodate any customer.
Despite 2020’s challenges, Mitra said it hasn’t been all bad. Originally from Canada, she feels right at home among the Valley’s snowbirds flocking to Arizona’s warm weather from up north each winter. Nature’s Secret’s DC Ranch Crossing neighbors are also doing their best to help each other out in an area without much foot traffic by directing customers to nearby shops and sharing information on each other’s Instagram pages. Four businesses at the plaza have already closed down since the start of the pandemic.
“We’re trying to really band together to make it through,” she said.