Meet Your Merchant: Reed Lewis and Lys Chocolate
You may know Reed Lewis as the man behind the Daly Bottle Shop, Grain Fine Food and 81615 on the Snowmass Village Mall. But did you also know he founded Lys Chocolate & More over a year and a half ago? To learn more about Lewis’ relatively new business, the Snowmass Sun visited the Daly Bottle Shop to talk with him on a recent afternoon:
Snowmass Sun: When did you come up with the idea to start this chocolate company?
Reed Lewis: Probably a year and a half ago, maybe a little over a year and a half. This is the second winter we’ve had it.
SS: And how did you come up with the idea or what made you want to get the company started?
RL: CBD has helped me personally a ton and I wanted to create an approachable way for people to try it. I think putting drops of suspension under your tongue and even the cream on your hands and the balm we also have in the line, it’s not quite as approachable as a piece of chocolate. Most people enjoy chocolate so it’s kind of a good match.
The other thing that’s really neat about the chocolate is the “bliss molecule” that people have heard of, it is called anandamide, that’s the compound in chocolate that gives you that little mild euphoria. Anandamide and CBD hit the same receptors in your endocannabinoid system, so it’s actually a happy accident to combine the two because it will help the CBD to get through your body; it’s more bioavailable that way. So that’s kind of a fun little thing.
SS: What does the name “Lys” mean, where does that come from?
RL: Lys is actually the Norwegian word for light and we named it that because CBD can kind of take the rough edges out of your day, it’s sort of something to add to your toolbox to get through the day, to cope.
SS: Do you have any other products besides chocolate you’re selling?
RL: We have two strengths of chocolate, both a 60 mg bar and a 120 mg bar and we just came out with a sample size, which we’re calling “the calma” because it sort of puts pause into your day, and that’s got 10 mg in that. But aside from the chocolate we also have recovery cream, recovery balm, those are in one- or two-ounce sizes, and we also have the suspension in either half-ounce or full ounce sizes. It’s all on the website if you want to see more.
SS: So are your products all sold primarily online right now?
RL: We have some products at the (Daly Bottle Shop) but we are looking for other retail partners and we are online … but, yeah, we’re looking to build the brand and get people excited about it. It’s high quality chocolate, I partnered with a chocolate maker right here in Colorado, all of the hemp from which the CBD is distilled is all grown right here in Colorado so it’s a totally Colorado company.
SS: How has starting and running this business compare to your experience running the Daly Bottle Shop?
RL: It’s kind of a whole different animal. With the Daly Bottle Shop and Grain (Fine Food) and 81615, it’s resort retail so there are peaks and valleys and the weekly ordering and sort of keeping up with the inventory. This has a lot less SKUs (stock keeping units), I think in total we have 10 or 11 SKUs, so it’s way easier to keep track of all that. Having it online allows us to sell to anyone in the country, so that opens up our customer base quite a bit more and then it’s just learning all about e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. There are some similarities, but it’s a different game. Driving traffic online is a totally different skill set than getting people to walk in your physical store.
SS: How do you hope to see this company grow and evolve moving forward? What’s your ultimate goal?
RL: I’d like to see it become a national brand. I think we’re positioned pretty well, we’ve got some connections that are lining up to help us do that and I’m really excited about it.
SS: Anything else you want to add or you feel people should know about the company and what you’re trying to do?
RL: I think one of the biggest things that I’m looking forward to is I think in this area people are pretty aware and in Colorado in general people are pretty aware of the benefits of CBD, but getting that to mainstream America I think there’s still a huge amount of work to do. The main question we get is: “Is it going to get me high?” No, it’s non-psychoactive. Basically it’s got the therapeutic effects that you’d get from other cannabis without the psychotropic effects, so I think getting that out to the masses is important. It’s happening slowly and it’s picking up speed but it’s still got a ways to go.
I just think so many people can benefit, just the personal stories I’ve heard of people who have used this to help themselves get off of pharmaceuticals and just to reduce their pain and anxiety, there’s just a ton of information. All you have to do is Google it; it’s a rabbit hole.
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The Melville family didn’t distance themselves from ownership of a local mountainside chalet for too long.