One of Coronado’s newest stores to open this season is The Gallery & Hemp Life, owned by San Diegan Michael Tepper. Despite multiple pushbacks on the originally planned grand opening due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the shop is officially celebrating with doors open to the public, masks on for the time being, this week.
The Gallery & Hemp Life isn’t just a shop for hemp products, however, and whether interested in CBD or not, residents and visitors will be able to enjoy the “Gallery” portion of the store’s namesake. Inspired by his wife, artist Rita Shulak, Tepper’s store is part art gallery featuring paintings curated from a variety of artists from San Diego and the world. “It’s eclectic, art and CBD. But there are all these artists, just even here in San Diego, so I said okay let’s do it. And actually, it’s very cool,” Tepper says.
Fellow artist and San Diegan, Cheryl Ehlers, manages the art side of the store, organizing regular art shows and events with artists for the public to enjoy, and future events will be planned. In addition to the wide variety of paintings customers will be able to purchase, The Gallery & Hemp Life also features handmade jewelry for customers to peruse.
Selling hemp products with the naturally occurring CBD chemical compound found in the plants, Tepper believes his shop is bringing something new and potentially helpful to locals and visitors. “You could sit down, say ‘my knee hurts, my shoulder hurts,…’ and when you walk out the door [having tested a product], it’s already working. We’re like a doctor – a CBD doctor.”
Tepper is a veteran who suffered a back injury in Vietnam and says his experience with CBD products has been what has helped him deal with his pain the most effectively. Coupled with time spent in Europe where CBD and other products haven’t had the same stigmas as they have in the States and his belief that such products contribute to a healthier lifestyle there, his interest and involvement in the industry continued to grow from there. After working with a friend in Europe, he decided to open his own stores in the United States when laws began to change.
CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical compound, unlike THC. Creams, oils, tea, gel caps, even gummies are available as safe CBD products that can help alleviate things like chronic pain and anxiety. According to Tepper, “Gummies are good, everyone seems to like gummies. Anything that’s ingested, that goes through your liver, can be a general help. Topicals [creams] are great for arthritis and that sort of thing.”
Though CBD products can be found online or at dispensaries, what makes The Gallery & Hemp Life unique is that it isn’t a dispensary. It carries only CBD and no THC products. Tepper’s company oversees every step of the product creation process to ensure high quality, purely CBD product, at fair prices.
He suggests tinctures as a staple everyday CBD product, but believes in each product’s effectiveness. “The topicals work wonders, the massage oils, a couple drops of tinctures a day…I tell people I say hey, you want to feel good? That’s why I’m here!”
When you walk in the shop, there is an informative chart customers can use for reference about the ways different products can help, and staff is ready to suggest specific products based on customer’s conditions and needs. “Already we have a couple ladies from the Landing coming in regularly for the tea, and they love the tea. This stuff works. I don’t know what any other products out there does, but I know what our stuff does.”
Overall, the store is a unique addition to the island that offers a variety of products and overall experience. Whether you’re interested in trying CBD products for health needs or drawn to the artistic appeal through the gallery and jewelry, stop by to see for yourself and to meet Tepper and his staff.
Located at 126 Orange Avenue, 619-675-0144, open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.