Company Name: CANUVO
Year Founded: 2011
Ownership Structure: Private 13B Mutually Beneficial Non-Profit Corporation, Incorporated in Maine
Owners: Glenn Peterson, CEO, Sage Peterson, General Manager
Headquarters: Biddeford, Maine
Industry Segment/Category: Producer, Processor and Medical marijuana Retailer
Current Markets/States Served: Biddeford, ME
Current Number of employees: 10
Market Strategy/Goal: Canuvo Inc., a non-profit Maine corporation, is dedicated to supplying eligible patients in Maine with appropriate strains of Medical Cannabis at a reasonable cost. We offer a safe place for those interested in Medical Cannabis to learn and acquire what they need during illness or continued care. The dispensary’s core value is one of compassion and trust that supports a positive and helpful atmosphere. We will reach our goals by providing an environment where patients feel their best interests are considered by our helpful and knowledgeable staff.
2014 Current Revenues: $1.4 Million
Expansion Plans: Recreational, MA reciprocal customers, new grow facilities, and a larger retail operation
Financing strategy: To date from operations and personal finances
Key Vendors: Adilas, ProVerde
Mom and Pop shop is making it big
Last fall, as I was calling the Maine dispensaries to capture their contact info, I met Sage Peterson, the General Manager of Canuvo, a non-profit, vertically integrated operation based in Southern, Maine, close to the New Hampshire border. She told me that she and her husband had won a license to be one of eight (8) holders in the state in September of 2010. They launched their operation in 2011. I thanked her for the briefing and promised to circle back in a few months to interview her and her husband Glenn and tell their corporate story so others in the industry would have a good idea of how to build a mom and pop operation.
Fast forward to this February and I am attending ArcView Group’s Q1 session in San Francisco and decide to go on a tour of a Bay Area dispensary, lab and clone grow and guess who I meet? — Glenn Peterson, CEO of Canuvo. Destiny prevailed and we even had something in common, besides Sage. Yes, we both keep our heads neatly shaven! Like his wife, Glenn was very straightforward and down to earth and here we are.
Canuvo serves one of eight (8 medical) marijuana districts in Maine with a population base of 190,000. The state allows for reciprocal agreements with states that have a formal medical marijuana program. This allows for patients from states, like Massachusetts, to purchase while visiting in Maine. An advantage to Canuvo is being in the southern part of the state to better support those who have proper paper work and qualify for Maine’s visiting from out of state laws.
When awarded the license, Glenn and Sage had never been in a dispensary so there first course of action was to find a suitable retail location and grow facility that would work to serve their target community. This lack of experience actually played to their advantage because they had no set in stone preconceptions of what their facility should be like and could design it their way.
They were looking for a retail or banking set-up when they came across an office condo in a medical building that housed doctors. The price and location was right but the build out wasn’t quite what they expected. Undeterred, they decided to give it a go, and it was a fortuitous decision because the condo they selected had individual patient rooms set up that became the hallmark of their dispensary experience. Canuvo offers unique, private dispensing rooms that allows for their sales staff to serve clients in a HIPPA like environment, where customers can openly discuss their needs and have the Canuvo staff member tailor their solution. This level of customer service works well and sets Canuvo apart from other medical dispensaries.
Their product approach centers on creating a nice selection/mix of Sativa, Indicas, hybrids, and ethanol based oils and concentrates, as well as homemade infused chocolates and lotions. They carry O.penVape products which are distributed by another Maine dispensary. They are in discussion with some other edible brands about the potential to carry a broader selection, when feasible.
Being vertically integrated, they grow their own product and have used refrigerated tractor trailers located on their 63 plus acres to grow and process product for sale at Canuvo. Maine now allows licensees to sell to each other on a wholesale basis, so to meet customer demand and keep adequate supply on hand, they now have nine trailers on site and are constantly looking for space to consolidate the production facilities.
Growth plans include expansion into adult-use marijuana when and if the state moves that way (a good possibility that a popular vote in 2016 will accomplish that), improving the eco-sustainability and efficiency of their production facilities by bringing cutting edge technology to the operation, building out a new dispensary location, and continuing to invest in both their employees, customers and vendor relationships. They have little interest in taking on an equity partner and generate $1.4 million in annual revenues with a strong probability of growing those revenues with the addition of MA-based patients and an expanding product mix, combined with good old down-to-earth customer service. This has allowed them to become debt-free with positive cash flow.
With Glenn handling, as Sage puts it, the technical and strategy side of the business while she handles day-to-day operating chores, a loyal and well trained staff (half of the current employees are family and the others are close, trusted friends), a great location, and expanding product mix and market, look for Canuvo to increase their 400 plus a week patient flow and revenues as they move into the future.
Not bad, not bad at all for a mom and pop operation.