MJBizMag September 2022 - 39

scaled from 4,000 square feet of grow
space to 8,000 square feet, concurs.
In oversaturated markets such as
Oregon, " You can't differentiate yourself
just by the quality of your product,
because there are too many people
growing good enough stuff to compete.
... You have to create a strong brand. "
Walstatter and his wife, Megan,
came up with the name and logo
themselves; then they put it on
merchandise such as hoodies and
T-shirts to build name recognition.
" We wanted something cool, "
Walstatter said of the logo and
merchandise. " But it's also the kind
of thing that you can wear to a PTA
meeting. " Much of the clothing features
an illustration of an eye surrounded
by sunrays and phrases such as " inner
vision " and " summon your vision. "
5
PAY EMPLOYEES
A DECENT WAGE
Inflation not only hurts consumers, but
it also hurts your company's workers.
At the same time, employee turnover
is a big expense that is even harder for
small businesses to absorb.
For Ulysses Youngblood, owner of the
Major Bloom dispensary in Worcester,
Massachusetts, the solution to that
problem is to pay employees aboveaverage
starting wages for the region
and the industry.
Youngblood estimates that most
cannabis businesses in his region offer
a starting wage of $16-$17 per hour for
budtenders and delivery drivers, so he
said he pays $19 per hour to start.
" That's very intentional, " Youngblood
told MJBizMagazine. " We want to pay
really good wages so we have a really
good environment.
" Finding new employees-hiring and
training them-is something that slows
us down. ... The few dollars an hour
that we invest into these employees
day in and day out, we actually think
saves us not just financially but in
stress and headaches, because we're
able to retain them. "
6
STEP UP THE CUSTOMER
RELATIONSHIP
Cannabis business owners work hard
to gain customers, but they need to
sharpen their customer-relationship
management, or CRM, skills to retain
them.
" Everyone knows that it costs more to
get a new customer than it does to keep
the same ones happy, " Wiseman said.
In Mary & Main's case, that means
more phone calls, texts and other
outreach to customers-but also more
targeted outreach.
" We follow up with phone calls
based on how long (since) you've been
in the store and your last purchase. If
there's a product that we know you're
constantly buying and we just restocked
it, we'll call or text you. There's a lot of
personalization in there and trying to
connect with people where they want to
be met, " Wiseman said. " When you send
blanket texts to people, they are less
responsive, and some even unsubscribe.
Dig deeper to figure out what people
want and then send personalized
messages. That has a good ROI. "
7
COMMUNITY
CONNECTIONS
While it's vital to manage customer
relationships, it's also critical that
small cannabis business owners
connect with the communities they
are in. When Youngblood opened
his marijuana store, in a yearsMary
& Main uses
text messaging
and email to
encourage
customers to
visit the store.
Courtesy Photo
vacant storefront in a lower income
neighborhood in Worcester, he knew it
would be welcomed.
" You offer a level of security when
you bring economic activity to a lowincome
neighborhood. We're definitely
doing our part to revitalize this location
and this neighborhood, " he said.
But to maintain that welcome,
Youngblood started sponsoring events
at local venues where artists exhibit
their work. " That increases our traffic, "
he said.
To commemorate the oneyear
anniversary of Major Bloom,
Youngblood is planning a celebration
to thank the community that welcomed
his business. " I'm excited about events,
because that's how you can bring
people in. "
8
VENDOR
RELATIONSHIPS
Because small cannabis businesses
can't leverage economies of scale the
way larger operators can when buying
inventory or supplies, they must find
other ways to lower costs.
One way is to seek new vendors. For
example, Denver-based edibles maker
Love's Oven almost exclusively used
food wholesalers Sysco and Shamrock
Foods Distribution & Food Supply to
buy ingredients. But when inflation
and supply-chain issues pushed prices
at those companies up, Love's Oven
CEO Moore was compelled to find better
deals elsewhere.
" We are using those vendors but
less (frequently) because they are not
always the best price-and they're not
always on time with their deliveries.
So we're forced to go to other options
when it comes to ingredients. Same
with packaging, although those prices
haven't fluctuated as much as food
prices, " Moore said.
Major Bloom's Youngblood keeps
his costs down by buying flower in
bulk-often 10 pounds at a time of a
particular strain-and eliminating
certain frills.
mjbizdaily.com | September 2022 39
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MJBizMag September 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MJBizMag September 2022

MJBizMag September 2022 - 1
MJBizMag September 2022 - 2
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