Comic with a cause: local comedian Tom Mabe helps bring CBD shop to J-Town in 2023

Comic with a cause: local comedian Tom Mabe helps bring CBD shop to J-Town in 2023

Tom Mabe is a man of many talents. The Kentucky native, and Jeffersontown enthusiast, is a jingle writer, comedian, husband, landlord and dog lover.

He's also a man with Tourette's and ADHD, and an advocate for his son with disabilities.

In typical "Mabe fashion," many of those facets combined when in August, he purchased a building in mid-2022 just off Gaslight Square in Jeffersontown. The building at 10117 Taylorsville Road had been vacant for years, so when Mabe swooped in to purchase the building, it stirred up some attention.

"In my line of work, there's two words: show business. And most forget that business part," Mabe told the Couirer Journal. "I knew that … if you bought properties that are good, real estate was always going to work out."

Mabe, who signed a lease with his future tenant on New Year's Eve, said the building should be completely renovated and is expected to open in April as a One Love Hemp Dispensary. The Louisville-based hemp and wellness-focused chain mostly sells CBD, legal products containing hemp-derived Delta 9 THC, and Delta 8 THC products. 

Mabe said the hemp dispensary will be one of the "first in line" for a license if the sale of medical marijuana becomes legal in Kentucky. 

In November, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order to legalize the possession and use of medical marijuana by patients with a qualifying condition such as chronic pain or cancer. The executive order went into effect on Jan. 1.

House Minority Whip Rachel Roberts, D-Newport, filed House Bill 22 to legalize and regulate cannabis in the first day of the Kentucky General Assembly. Rep. Nima Kulkarni, D-Louisville also plans to file a bill to decriminalize medical marijuana.

When Mabe's son started using hemp-based products, it was a more effective, and affordable, treatment option than the $122,000 deep brain stimulation treatment his son was scheduled to receive for his Tourettes Syndrome, Mabe said.

"I'm a big believer and a big proponent for the legalization of marijuana," Mabe said.

What is One Love Hemp Dispensary? 

One Love "is a wholesome, family-oriented cannabis business, with a focus on wellness and feeling your best," said Nancy Roberts, CEO of One Love. It was developed by two mothers suffering from chronic conditions, both with children with chronic conditions in a search for relief.  

One Love sells hemp-derived products, many of which are formulated by Roberts and her team.

"We are passionate about how plants have changed our lives, and the lives of our families," Roberts said. 

And so is Mabe.

"I used to be in a CBD business, I owned a wellness farm and I got into it because it helped my son's Tourette Syndrome," Mabe said. 

A self-described "comic with a cause," Mabe tries to align all his business dealings with things he personally believes in. As a father who has seen the benefits of CDB and hemp-derived products work in his own family, Mabe wanted to bring the business of wellness to others.  

One Love is a certified autism-friendly business. Roberts is a reiki master, and her business partner, Jana Groda, has a background in nutrition. Currently, One Love has another J-Town location off Ruckriegel Parkway. 

The new larger space will allow One Love to offer additional services such as cannabis and mushroom-themed events for the community like "Canvas and Cannabis," classes on making your own hemp-infused edibles, and other community-driven education opportunities. 

"I absolutely love the community and it is very exciting to be part of the J-Town renaissance that is currently happening," Roberts said. 

Roberts plans to have a grand opening on April 20, known as 4/20 National Weed Day. 

What One Love will bring to Jeffersontown

After purchasing the building in the early fall, Mabe made a Facebook post in a group called J-Town Happenings to share the news of buying the property. His original post racked up 49 comments. One day later he was up to 164 comments.

"I'm good at drawing attention to things,” Mabe said. "Plus, what people love about that building, too is that we are making it pretty, … we're really turning into something because it was such an eyesore for so long."

Mabe said he received dozens of emails, phone calls and Facebook messages from people suggesting businesses like bakeries, delis, butcher shops, or even an art gallery for the space.

After seeing the outpouring of love for the building, Mabe started to discover some of the building's past. During its lifetime, the 77-year-old space has been a Bearno's Pizza, an insurance company, an arcade, and an auto and bike parts and repair store, Mabe said. 

The renovated building will have a black brick façade, reclaimed wood awning, large windows, a reclaimed brick interior, new flooring and walls, an open ceiling, a renovated bathroom and a small kitchen. 

When Roberts first noticed the renovations taking place, she, like many other J-Town residents, was eager to see what it would become.  

"I was anticipating what would open in that space," Roberts said. "When a mutual friend told me that Tom was doing the renovation and was possibly interested in leasing it, I could not believe my good luck."

"I did everything I could to convince him to ... lease it to us," Roberts, a J-Town resident, said of the space just off Gaslight Square.

So, what's next for Mabe? The local celebrity plans to continue to buy properties and is currently exploring an option at Red River Gorge. And while he still does live shows, films, commercials, and other events, he is looking forward to retirement. 

“The phone still rings, I still get calls,” Mabe said. “As long as I'm creative, I'll be OK.” 

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Region: Kentucky


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