By Stephanie White, Realtor and community supporter

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with retired fire captain and local business owner Matt Russell, who is really making waves in the cannabis industry. Wellphora is a CBD manufacturing company that is opening their first retail location in our backyard. I wanted to share their story with my friends and neighbors so we can all support something positive in our community.
SW: How did you first get involved in the cannabis industry?
MR: Back in 2017, I was worried about what was in the CBD oil my wife initially purchased to treat the arthritis in her back. I did not trust using untested and potentially dangerous products from an unregulated industry. As we all know, the cannabis industry hasn’t always attracted the most upstanding citizens. I tested multiple existing CBD products with horrifying results. I leveraged my medical and chemistry background to create 100% organic, high-quality CBD for my family, and soon after I started a CBD manufacturing business to help offset the costs of our personal CBD use. I then began making CBD for online retailers that sold on Amazon. Eventually, several other CBD companies approached me to produce CBD for them, but unfortunately, they were not willing to pay for quality products. I held to my principles and resisted the pressure to produce cheap, low-quality CBD, realizing the dramatic differences in how CBD worked in the body when using clean manufacturing practices, precise temperature conversions, and the highest-quality ingredients.

SW: How did Wellphora first get started in farmers markets?
MR: My parents suggested that I should brand my personal use CBD and sell it at a farmers market, since it was local, organic, and of the highest quality. I thought few people would buy CBD at a farmers market, but I was dead wrong. I spent the summer of 2018 in a booth at a small market, educating people about the benefits of CBD, and Wellphora was officially born. Word of mouth spread in the community about how well my CBD worked and by the end of 2018 Wellphora was in over 80 farmers markets per month across Arizona.
SW: Why should we visit your Wellphora CBD store?
MR: I knew that innovating a positive first-time CBD customer experience was the key to our long-term success. Being involved in helping to change people’s lives for the better is the reason we exist. Wellphora’s wholesale accounts have provided us a window into every type of CBD business model imaginable. Our new store is unlike anything that exists today, but we think it will set the future standard for what should be expected when it comes to your personal health. When you walk into our store you are welcomed with experienced, caring professionals eager to listen and answer questions to help guide you on your wellness journey.

SW: Why did you choose the Upper Westside for your new location?
MR: The Northwest Valley was the perfect fit for us. I feel so connected to this community already because my family lives here, my kids go to school here, and I spent my firefighting career caring for this community. With the Sun Cities (Grand, West, Festival), Trilogy, Vistancia, and Ventana Lakes senior communities so close, it provided a boost to our target demographic. We are literally within 10 minutes no matter where you live in the Northwest Valley.

SW: Do you offer any discounts?
MR: Yes. In the store we have discounts for seniors, public safety, military, and teachers. Online at we offer subscription discounts, special groups discounts, as well as frequent special offers to people on our mailing list.

SW: What’s next for Wellphora?
MR: We have always put a high value in being involved in our community. We are sponsoring several charity golf tournaments as well as several pickleball tournaments this fall. We are also excited to announce the release of some great new products soon. One product in particular just might change the world! My promise to you is a guaranteed great experience on your first visit. I highly recommend that everyone checks it out. In addition to great products, you’ll be supporting a firefighter/veteran owned business that is spreading good health – and good vibes – here in our community!