“I am highly energetic,” says Frances “Franny” Tacy, founder of the revolutionary brand Franny’s Farmacy. She’s not just making a cannabis pun. Known for being North Carolina’s first female hemp farmer and a driving force to establish the modern American hemp industry in conjunction with regenerative agriculture, Tacy is a pioneer whose life is a cyclone of activity. As she prepares to expand business operations by opening more stores along the East Coast, she’s also able to jump from environmental education at her working farm/agri-tourism destination Franny’s Farm in North Carolina to hemp events around the country to meeting with potential franchisees, and even planned a family reunion at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship where her son competed. Nicknamed “Nature Mama” early in childhood, Tacy truly embodies the continuous activity of Mother Earth herself.
Franny Tacy Grows CBD Business Franny’s Farmacy as CEO
Now she’s entering a new phase, described as “Franny 3.0,” the pinnacle of a journey of self-discovery that reflects the holistic approach of her entire business model. Not many realize that the woman behind the groundbreaking CBD and agricultural brand has just this year taken over as CEO of the enterprise. Buying out her former partner, who previously had run operations while Franny managed the farm, product development and R&D, Tacy looks forward to “an emergence [of Franny’s Farmacy], flowering into new places.”
“I’ve been growing this business just like a plant, with the roots first,” she explains. “So deep, so wide, so connected to the nutrients that fuel a business that no storm, no anything in this unregulated industry will destroy our plant… This is what I do. This is Franny – the farmer, the forester with a Master’s in education, PhD coursework with the Smithsonian Institute, the [15-year] pharmaceutical sales rep who figured out how to get those experiences into a business.”
Franny’s Farmacy Gains New CBD Store Locations, All Women-Owned
And as all parts of Tacy’s evolution coalesce, she’s taking the opportunity to engage more female entrepreneurs in the hemp industry. The three newest franchises in the Franny’s Farmacy network are women-owned – in Charlotte, North Carolina, Warrenton in Northern Virginia (Nova), and soon-to-open Alpharetta, Georgia – a first for the company, but an important marker in the business’s next evolution. For years Tacy has mentored women seeking to enter the cannabinoid space, founding the Women in Hemp nonprofit to empower those connected to all aspects of the plant. Now, she says, the group of women cultivating Franny’s franchises in their local communities heralds a much-needed shift as the national industry keeps adjusting to changing COVID-19 regulations and culture. Noting that 90 percent of Americans who lost jobs in the pandemic are women, according to recent studies, Tacy believes that female business leaders take a broader view of creating a tangible impact with their work than their male counterparts. That humanitarian commitment makes all the difference in a society learning to see beyond profits.
“These franchisees are amazing business professionals,” Tacy observes. “Zan [Karim], who’s opening the Alpharetta store, is a pharmacist. She said, ‘For 30 years, I’ve been able to help people with pharmaceuticals but a lot of that was un-healthcare. And now I want to evolve into the real health of the mind, body, spirit, plant medicine. I have to keep helping people and I couldn’t do it behind a white box anymore.’”
Why Does Franny Tacy’s CBD Business Put the “Farm” in Farmacy? Regenerative Agriculture!
Tacy’s own story of “putting the FARM in Farmacy” has inspired many from pharmaceutical and more traditional paths to join the plant revolution. Because she’s built her entire operation on vertical integration and transparency – meaning clean, organic processing across every level of production “traceable from seed to shelf” – she views it as converting the system from the inside out.
“[As the CEO] now just beyond the vision, I am also the decision maker in every way, shape and form about the direction of the company,” she comments. “We’ve done something unprecedented in franchising; not only do we have the most dialed-in, cool training where people come stay at the farm, so they get educated in rotations, manufacturing, distribution, trained in marketing and POS in every single aspect. But it’s attracting more women and it’s reviving retail. We’ve come up with a system to allow our franchisees to build an online business wrapped through our website where they get a commission on our [digital] sales. What came out of Covid is that retail is not retail anymore… The whole consumer population changed.”
Integrity has always been a key component in the Franny’s brand, but these days Tacy finds that an exponentially increasing number of consumers are concerned about sourcing and ethics behind what they buy. Each of her franchises partners with local nonprofits to direct their impact back to their communities, and she imbues her planetary wellness ethos into every initiative (even the brick-and-mortar Franny’s stores use sustainable materials in their construction). In addition to Franny’s Farmacy and the working farm, Tacy hosts an ongoing Farm Camp for children and spreads the word on regenerative agriculture, carbon sequestration, hemp’s ability to remediate the soil, and more.
“The only way we make money is by helping people,” she asserts. “That’s an evolution of business, making it meaningful. That goes every breath, every day, every way. We are so blessed.”
Franny Tacy’s Advice for Helping the Planet and Supporting Farmers
But to help more people, we need to help our planet. “We have to be conscientious consumers,” Tacy says – for her it’s a mandate, not just enthusiasm. “Put your money where your mind is. If you want a healthy environment, buy healthy food, support farmers. Everything we put in our body is either medicine or poison; there’s nothing else in between. Quit mowing your lawn… But it’s not the problem, it’s how we deal with it. Mother Nature is giving us a reason to unite. And when we come together for a purpose, that’s when change happens. That’s how hemp became legal and cannabis is becoming legal, how women got the right to vote. It’s time to raise our consciousness and come together.”
With Franny Tacy in charge, all the moving parts are coming together for a better world. And in her perpetual motion are more projects, product lines, new developments to be discovered – a force of nature, for good.
Featured image: Franny Tacy with her hemp plants (C) Franny's Farmacy
*A version of this article first appeared in Honeysuckle's FREEDOM print edition. Buy your copy now!