Wild popularity of CBD forces Christian bookseller to rebrand

When the Hendrickson brothers started selling bibles out of their parents' home in Massachusetts almost 40 years ago, they likely had no idea their business would go on to become the world's largest retailer of Christian products with its own 300,000 square foot warehouse.

And they definitely had no idea the declassification of hemp as a controlled substance would force their company to rebrand.

Christian Book Distributors, long referred to as CBD, was renamed Christianbook earlier this summer in order to distinguish itself from the tsunami of CBD (cannabidiol) products that have flooded the country. CBD is everywhere (including our store!) and in dozens of forms, including gummies, ice cream, lotions, and vapes. But it doesn't come in bibles (yet) and that has caused a lot of confusion for the Hendrickson brothers' company.

After decades of being known by the name CBD, Mr. Hendrickson's company, which is based in Peabody, Mass., rebranded itself last month as Christianbook. Mr. Hendrickson, the company's president and chief executive, said it was getting too confusing.

"A person may call up and say, 'Hey, I'm looking for my order,'" Mr. Hendrickson said. "It's like, 'What did you order? Oh, I ordered gummies. You don't have the right company.'"

The CBD popularity surge has even affected the retailer's search engine results, knocking it off of Google's main page and burying it deep within the search returns. While the retailer is working hard to scrub all references to CBD from its website, there's one CBD item it's not getting rid of anytime soon.

Hendrickson's assistant had been receiving daily calls inquiring about the purchase of the company's suddenly valuable domain name — cbd.com.
"It's not for sale," Hendrickson notes.

(Full disclosure: I worked at Christianbook in the late '90s as a seasonal employee. It was a great place to work, even with my co-workers telling me I was going to hell on a daily basis.)

For decades, this Christian bookseller went by the name CBD. Then that became a problem (Boston Globe) (Photo: Pixabay)