Advanced Alchemy Labs Bringing Hemp Processing Facility to Cheyney University Campus
(CHEYNEY, PA – March 4, 2020) – Advanced Alchemy Labs, a West Chester-based company that produces hemp extract-based health products, announced today it has reached agreement with Cheyney University of Pennsylvania to operate a 10-acre hemp farm and processing plant on campus.
“This is a very significant transaction for Cheyney as we continue to form partnerships with forward-looking companies to operate on our campus,” said Cheyney University President Aaron A. Walton. “In this deal, we achieve the two mandatory components of all of our corporate collaborations. First, there will be internships for our students, along with training and curriculum surrounding hemp cultivation and processing. Also, Cheyney will benefit financially from the company’s presence on our campus. This partnership is yet another example of the two filters we use to evaluate opportunities: #1 it must be in the best interest of our students and #2 it must preserve/advance our institution.”
The hemp crop is consistent with Chester County’s rich agricultural history and represents a future viable crop for farms and other entities in the county. While farming hemp has become increasingly popular, there is a shortage in processing capacity. There are very few certified and appropriate facilities in the region where the crop can be dried, extracted and processed. Advanced Alchemy Labs hopes to fill that void.
The founders of the company – including former Philadelphia Flyer Riley Cote – are already highly successful in the hemp-based health products business under the brand BodyChek Wellness. That company’s products are currently produced in Colorado. The vision for Advanced Alchemy Labs is to produce products for global distribution from the new facility.
“The opportunity at Cheyney is ideal for us with the proximity to our offices in West Chester,” said managing partner Britt Mazzagatti. “Now, not only will we be able to do the farming here, we’ll also have extraction, processing, formulation and research and development at the facility. This is great for local hemp farmers because they now know they can grow with the knowledge of who’s going to buy the crop from them. They also know that as long as they’re growing at the standards in our agreements, we’ll buy the product and take care of the rest.”
Mazzagatti and Cote met in 2018. Their visions for how they wanted to move forward in the market aligned. Cote had already established BodyChek Wellness, a play on the hockey term body check, in which one player bangs into another to try to disrupt his progress. Cote, who threw a lot of body checks in his career, said dealing with aches and pains was one of the main reasons he became so interested in the hemp space.
“I was a combination hockey player and fighter and fought about 30-35 times a year,” he recounted. “It made a whole lot of sense for me to jump into this area. There are potentially thousands of uses for CBD for public health and harm reduction.”
CBD is a safe, non-addictive substance that comes from the cannabis plant with robust therapeutic value. The beauty of hemp products is they provide these positive qualities without the THC element from cannabis that makes users high.
“Demand for hemp-based products has been building for several years because the product works. CBDs have gotten a lot of attention for what they can do for mankind,” Cote said. “We’ve made a mark with our brand because of the quality of our product. We’ve been farming in Pennsylvania for the last two seasons and the time has arrived for us to build an extraction and processing facility here. Cheyney University’s campus is the ideal site.”
Mazzagatti and Cote note that in order to be successful in the hemp-based products industry, ongoing research and development into new products is very important. Student interns from Cheyney have an opportunity to be involved.
“We’re counting on interns working with us,” Mazzagatti said. “It allows us to train and recruit future employees. We’re going to have farming and cultivation, extraction, processing and marketing. Our interns and the university will work in all of those areas.”
Advanced Alchemy Labs will be working with Cheyney and the local community to get all the proper approvals to retrofit the building and start operations as soon as possible.
“The projected time to be up and running is four-to-five months,” said Leslie Smallwood-Lewis, partner at Mosaic Development Partners, which is helping Cheyney plan and lease campus space. “The building is perfectly positioned and laid out in an optimal way because it has high ceilings, a roll-up garage door for transporting in and out – and is very conducive to the kind of operation they will run. They are retrofitting what is now a storage and facilities building.”
The precise timing is based on the certifications of the facility and permits from Thornbury Township, Chester County followed by the fit-out.
About Cheyney – Founded in 1837, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is the nation’s oldest historically Black institution of higher education. Building on this legacy, the vision for Cheyney is to become the premier model for academic excellence, character development, and social responsibility among not only Historically Black Colleges and Universities, but in all of American higher education. The campus is located on 275 acres straddling Delaware and Chester Counties. Read more at www.cheyney.edu.
About BodyChek Wellness – Founded in 2017 by former Philadelphia Flyer Riley Cote and former Philadelphia Eagle Todd Herremans, BodyChek Wellness is a line of premium hemp extract products designed to assist with physical health, wellness, and the recovery process. BodyChek Wellness products are designed to defend and support total wellness. The company’s mission is to optimize everyday performance and challenge individuals to rethink the healing process by creating products that promote wellness, balance, and recovery. Read more at https://www.bodychekwellness.com.