Zodiac Hemp Co., entering its 13th year of business, has always been a family operation.
Mother and daughter team, Judy Coulombe and Jen Lee, opened the store in November, 2000. The family has lived in Golden for more than 20 years, and have had several business ventures in the community.
“This is the third business that we’ve had here,” said Lee, who has also owned Riverside Seafood, a cafe in Donald, and the Sacred Tree with her mother.
“We also owned the Falafel Shack, but that was more of a side project. Zodiac is by far the most successful of our ventures.”
Even though they have had a wide variety of businesses in the past, a hemp store turned out to be a perfect fit for the pair.
“We were always interested in the benefits of hemp and all of it’s uses. And my mom is a hippy, so it kind of fell in line with our belief system,” said Lee.
Zodiac sells a wide variety of products, most of which is hemp-based. They also have incense, jewelry, books, body care (mainly hemp-based), art, gifts, smoking accessories, Hemp Hearts, and clothing.
“All of our clothing is either bamboo, soy, or hemp-based, usually mixed with organic cotton. All of our companies are Canadian for sure, if not B.C.,” said Lee. “And Hemp Hearts (shelled hemp seeds) are good for you for all sorts of things, even better than fish as far as omegas are concerned.”
Over the past 13 years, Zodiac has built up a strong regular customer base, but also has new visitors coming in all the time.
“There’s nowhere else that sells a lot of what we sell for three hours either way. We have a pretty good customer base,” said Lee. “It’s still going strong. We definitely thank Golden for all the local support.”
Coulombe owns the store, and Lee manages it. But the family connection goes even further than that. Lee has owned businesses with her sister, and her brother works at the store as well.
“It can be trying at times, always working with family, but for the most part we get along really well,” said Lee, who is also raising two children in Golden.
“It’s nice because you always know you can trust family. It’s always been family working here.”