Under the Influence

These major celebrities run unexpected side businesses

While there are many celebrities who lend their names to products, there is a small group of celebs who own companies and do serious business. From general stores to cannabis lines, a few of them may surprise you.
Comedian Steve Carell runs an interesting business aside from his acting career. (Danny Moloshok/REUTERS)

There's no denying we live in a celebrity culture these days. A reality TV star is the President of the United States.

And it seems celebrities are in every second commercial and print ad, endorsing all kinds of products.

Then there are the celebrities who actually own companies. They pour their own money into those businesses. They don't just endorse the products, they create them.

Sometimes those products are perfectly suited to the celebrities and sometimes they are surprising.

Steve Carell

For example, there is a general store in Marshfield Hills, Massachusetts.

You can buy small items there, like penny candy, coffee, muffins and knick-knacks. It's a gathering place for the small community.

When people visit the Marshfield Hills General Store, they often ask if the owner is around. They ask that because the owner is actor Steve Carell.

Comedic actor Steve Carell owns a general store in Marshfield Hills, Massachusetts. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Carell, who starred in the Office and movies like Little Miss Sunshine, is a Massachusetts native. He summers in the quaint seaside town and his family would often pop by the store when there.

Carell and his wife bought the general store in 2009. They purchased it for a reason.

The Marshfield Hills General Store was a local landmark. It was established in 1969 and it came up for sale ten years ago. Carell has a love of history. The beautiful building is nearly 170 years old. And he was afraid it wouldn't be preserved.

He wanted to save the store and keep it as a place where locals can gather, where kids could have an ice cream cone and parents could sit out on the front porch. It reminded him of a general store he used to bike over to as a kid. But that store is now gone. As a matter of fact, there aren't many of the old stores left from that era.

His sister-in-law now runs the shop and Carell says he mans the cash when time permits.

Above all, it was an emotional investment.

There is a sign that hangs over the front door. It says: "Marshfield Hills General Store: Established in 1969. Then again in 2009."

Whoopi Goldberg

Only 15 people in the world have achieved the elite status known as "EGOT."

They're the few people who have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards throughout their careers.

To sum up: they're very busy people. And one of those busy people is Whoopi Goldberg.

But while it may seem like Goldberg has mastered every professional area an actor possibly could, she's now ventured into a new business: Cannabis.

Actress Whoopi Goldberg and marijuana entrepreneur Maya Elisabeth are co-founding a company that makes cannabis products to treat menstrual cramps. (Timothy White/Handout )

Together with "canna-businesswoman" Maya Elisabeth, Goldberg has come out with a line of cannabis products called "Whoopi and Maya."

The goal: To relieve menstrual pain and discomfort.

The products include edibles, bath soaks, topical rubs for localized pain and a tincture for serious discomfort.

For years, Goldberg used medical marijuana to help with her glaucoma-related headaches. When one day it occurred to her that if cannabis could help with certain aches and pains, it could likely help with others.

Having suffered from severe menstrual cramps all her life - as did most of the women in her family - Goldberg began looking around to see if anyone was already making cannabis products designed specifically to treat PMS.

When she approached industry experts, she was told that the products would never take off because they were quote: "too niche." To which Goldberg laughed and said: "Hey, this niche is half the population on the earth."

The goal of Whoopi and Maya isn't to get women high, but instead to manage or even prevent period pain with ingredients like magnesium and CBD.

The products are sold in California and Colorado. But Goldberg is hoping to expand up to Canada as well.

By the way, Whoopi wasn't the first to think of this. It's been said that even Queen Victoria used cannabis to ease her menstrual cramps as far back as the 1800s.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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(Image Credit: Sidney O'Reilly)