“My wife is always telling me I should be in Madison speaking on legalization. I don't feel like that's my place. My place is right here in the Chippewa Valley helping my neighbors and my community,” said Chris Buske, owner of Wonders of Nature, a retail shop and cafe selling hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) products in Eau Claire, WI.
Buske has always been passionate about helping his community. As a corporate manager, he emphasized how customers were also neighbors, friends, and family, and it was important to treat them as such. Most recently, as a massage therapist, it was his goal to understand the root cause of a client’s pain and work toward sustainable wellness. Reflecting on his path in alternative medicine, Buske said, “Working with this plant lets me help people in ways that I was unable to do with my hands.”
Although he’s no longer a massage therapist, Buske’s work is still very hands-on. As a licensed processor through the Department of Agriculture, Buske creates hemp and CBD products from raw materials. “When you're starting with raw materials,” explained Buske, “you know exactly what you're getting.” Wonders of Nature is intentional when sourcing its hemp, choosing to work with a careful selection of small family farms owned by friends who share Buske’s passion for high-quality product. “I don't just want good quality product,” shared Buske, “I want to work with good quality people too.”
Buske is excited to introduce people in the Chippewa Valley to cannabis. People often try CBD products to help with stress and anxiety, pain and inflammation, or a chronic result of these like insomnia. If someone has tried a CBD product before and didn’t experience the greatest results, it’s usually because they’re not using a full spectrum product. “Most of the product that's out there is what's called CBD isolates, where it's been refined through pharmaceutical practices,” said Buske. “CBD standing alone has some benefits, but they're very limited.”
To offer a product that can help more people, Wonders of Nature produces and sells full spectrum product. This means that Buske uses the whole plant the way it was grown. “You typically want all of the components that nature provided,” commented Buske. “If you refine it, you start to lose a lot of its natural properties.”
In addition to offering full spectrum CBD oils and topicals, Wonders of Nature Cafe provides an opportunity for people to try hemp-based baked goods, or add CBD oil to coffee, tea, or smoothies. “The cafe gives people a more accessible way to try CBD or cannabis products,” said Buske. “I really don't care if somebody leaves the store with an item or not. I just want people to have a good experience.” Wonders of Nature Cafe shares space with the retail shop and is managed by Jasmine Bylander, a baker studying culinary management at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC).
Managing a cannabis business during a pandemic is not something Buske imagined doing. “When problems present themselves, you just have to keep moving forward,” said Buske. To keep customers safe, Wonders of Nature offers curbside pickup, free deliveries and shipping, and socially-distanced seating in the cafe. “I'm lucky that I sell a product that helps with stress and anxiety because I have a lot of stress running this business,” joked Buske.
In a post-pandemic world, Buske dreams of gathering more people in his space. “I mean, that's what the cafe is all about. To provide a hangout spot,” shared Buske. When it is safe to do so, Buske wants to host live music on Friday nights, creating a sober bar option in downtown Eau Claire. “I'm just trying to do good work down here. Trying to make our community a better place,” shared Buske. “I believe in this plant, and I believe that it can be used responsibly to help people.”
If you want to encourage the growth of Wonders of Nature, stop into the retail shop and cafe at 416 S. Barstow St. in Eau Claire, WI, or purchase products online. Wonders of Nature products can be unique gifts for loved ones. Buske said, “It’s a great way to show that you care for somebody, and that you want to help with their stress and anxiety, or aches and pains.”
Wonders of Nature | 416 S. Barstow St., Eau Claire | (715) 497-8740