Greenvale entrepreneur Andrew Motola has had one main passion in his life.
“I used to be in corporate positions that were not related to health, but in my personal life I’ve always been interested in health,” Motola said. “I’ve been an athlete my whole life. I started as a swimmer and swam through high school and college, then got into triathlons in my 30s, and marathon running and all kinds of races.”
Motola expanded on his interest when he founded Brickwell Cycling and Multisport on Northern Boulevard in 2006. Last year, while speaking with a friend, he saw another opportunity when the friend brought up cannabidiol (CBD), a compound derived from cannabis.
“Over the past year I’ve learned a lot about CBD,” Motola said. “I started taking it myself about a year ago, and I found that as I’m getting older and more injury-prone and I take a little longer to recover, or I have maybe a little more anxiety in my life as we all do, CBD has been great in helping me.”
With the assistance of the Denver, Colorado-based corporation General Cannabis, Motola opened STOA Wellness in early September, the first store of its kind on the North Shore. It is located next to his business Brickwell Cycling, and Motola said there was no question where the store would be placed.
“This area has a lot of health conscious people, and it makes sense for us,” Motola said. “We have Equinox [Gym] across the street, lots of yoga studios in the area. Also being on Northern Boulevard, right near Glen Cove Road, we get a great traffic flow.”
The store is stocked with various brands of CBD products, including oils, creams, teas and chocolates, “but nothing smokeable,” said assistant store manager Jill McEvoy of New Hyde Park.
“The biggest thing people are afraid of are that they’re going to feel high, so I always let people who are nervous when they come into the store know that there’s no high,” McEvoy said. “There’s no psychoactive effects from CBD. It works similar to Advil where it makes you feel better but you don’t feel anything from it; there’s no mental effects.”
McEvoy, who is a licensed nutritionist, added that dosing is a crucial element of using CBD.
“It’s not addictive, but as far as dosing goes, I would start low, then increase slowly over time,” McEvoy said. “So start between 10 to 15 milligrams, then maybe after a week if it’s not working, then increase it a little bit and kind of keep going along that path until you find your sweet spot where it works for you.”
The compound works as “an adaptogen” on the body’s endocannabinoid system, according to McEvoy.
“It’ll just bring your body back into balance, so it’s helpful for pain, anxiety, stress, sleep,” McEvoy said.
Another mission of STOA, Motola says, is to educate the public on CBD. The store plans to have classes where patrons can learn about the compound’s benefits.
“We’ll have doctors coming in, people in the fields for years who can talk about benefits and uses of CBD, and can also walk about misconceptions people have about it,” Motola says. “Some people equate CBD with marijuana, and they are obviously not the same thing.”
While he’s not looking to franchise STOA, Motola says, the store’s goal is to gradually expand.
“This is the first STOA Wellness, and we’re learning as we go,” Motola said. “As we really get this down, then we’ll figure out how to open additional stores in the future.”