A friend introduced me to Amy Andrle, who owns L’Eagle Services in Denver, Colorado with her husband John. What I noticed immediately was her infectious enthusiasm and commitment to filling a void in the cannabis industry by delivering quality organically grown cannabis and processed goods from the cannabis they grow at their facility. I also appreciated her openness and transparency in sharing their story with her peers and other industry professionals.
Amy and John relished mountain living, and spent most of their twenties in a small ski town. They enjoyed the mountains, worked in a variety of food and beverage positions, and skied to their heart’s content. John had a passion for organically sourced ingredients, which carried over to L’Eagle Services. John became interested in the cannabis industry as legalization approached. They applied and received a license in 2009 to set up the company and pursue medical cultivation and retail.
While John was getting the dispensary up-and-running and dealing with navigating the early regulations of state sanctioned cannabis in 2009, Amy was transitioning to her next endeavor and completing her graduate education in Florida. She received her Master’s degree in nonprofit management in 2010 from Florida Atlantic University-School of Public Administration while working in advocacy and serving as the Executive Director of a well-known arts organization in Miami Beach.
She returned to Colorado in 2011 and joined John at the L’Eagle full-time in 2013, around the same time that the couple welcomed their daughter.
From the beginning, John and Amy were committed to growing cannabis organically and set out with a simple goal and purpose in mind. They expected the same quality from cannabis as they did from fine food and fine wine. They were intent on creating a “Marijuana Aficionado” business model based on “clean” and, as Amy told me, a “Deluxe Cannabis Gallery for the Discerning Connoisseur”. They quite literally put their money where their mouth was, eschewing higher profit margins to deliver on the promise of organically grown plants that would be used in all of the products that they sold at retail.
They found willing partners like Love’s Oven, Canyon Cultivation, that used their trim to extract oil and manufacture and distribute edibles, infused products and concentrates from their raw materials in the flagship store. Today, L’Eagle specializes in flower, edibles, concentrates, and solvent-less concentrates, that are all derived from their own L’Eagle cultivated marijuana. L’Eagle prides itself on being transparent about their cultivation techniques; they produce a product that meets organic agriculture’s best practice standards. They also utilize only Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) rated nutrients and pesticides, and they long cure their cannabis for a minimum of 60 days. These tenets ensure that clients received the highest quality, and safest, cannabis on the market. As required by Colorado law, all products are tested by a third-party for THC potency.
The typical demographic of their customer is a 30-40 year old consumer and above, and they also have a large contingent of industry badge wearers that swear by their products. The product mix offered at their Denver location includes savory and sweet edibles (hard candies and cookies), coffees, tinctures, and concentrates using CO2 extraction, along with the well reviewed bubble hash which is made using purified water and ice.
L’Eagle has expanded their operation from one grow room to multiple grow rooms over the last six years and financed everything from the working capital that the organization has generated since opening.
Today, the couple splits duties—with John running the cultivation and business development and Amy focused on operations, compliance and outreach. Like any cannabis company, they work hard to attract quality employees, they contribute to full-time employees’ health benefits, and have one of the higher wages for their sales associates. They have hired well from the horticulture and environmental sciences space, and count on the best practice of hiring the best and brightest.
When Amy joined the organization in the summer of 2013, she was surprised by how challenging the rules were for marketing to potential customers and the lack of collaborative support from the local media outlets. She also, like most others in the industry, found the need to stay on top of the compliance and regulatory learning curve and took the task on in-house.
The couple is proud of the “all for one” working relationship that they have established as a married tandem running a challenging and competitive new business.
Amy is a founding board member of the Organic Cannabis Association, which is working diligently to create and implement rigorous organic standards and a certification therein for qualifying products. John compliments her efforts as a member of the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s education work group, focused on safe and responsible pesticide use.
L’Eagle has recently become the first to receive a “Certifiably Green Denver” designation from the City and County of Denver Department of Environmental Health for their retail facility.
Looking ahead, they are planning to increase in-house cannabis manufacturing and are exploring the possibility of franchising additional locations utilizing their Good Manufacturing Practices to provide clean cannabis for the discerning consumer. CBE looks forward to following their journey and growth initiatives and we also believe that they have made room for their concept to succeed!
Company Name: L’Eagle Services
Year Founded: 2009 originally as a medical store. Converted to a recreational license in 2014.
Ownership structure/operating entities: A true Mom & Pop shop. However, John Andrle is the sole license holder; L’Eagle Services is an LLC.
Management Team: Husband and wife team – John & Amy Andrle oversee operations and are on site daily. They credit the amazing talents of their staff for implementing the L’Eagle vision and mission.
Headquarters: Denver, Colorado
Number of Locations: 1
Number of Licenses by State: 3 licenses – OPC (Cultivation); Retail Store; Manufacturing Infused Products (MIP)
Industry Segment/Category: Retail MJ Dispensary and Cultivation
Current Markets/States Served: Colorado
Current Number of Employees: 40
Market Strategy/Goal: L’Eagle is a deluxe cannabis gallery featuring only their own clean cannabis. They specialize in flower, edibles, concentrates, and solvent-less concentrates, that are all derived from their own L’Eagle cultivated marijuana. L’Eagle prides itself on being transparent about their cultivation techniques; producing a product that meets organic agriculture’s best practice standards. They utilize only OMRI rated nutrients and pesticides, and they long cure their cannabis for a minimum of 60 days. These tenets ensure that clients received the highest quality, and safest, cannabis on the market.
Product/Revenue Mix: Nearly 60% of sales are flowers the other 40% a mix led by concentrates and edibles, followed by topical and hardwoods.
Expansion Plans: Increase in-house MJ manufacturing and possible franchising of additional locations.
Financing strategy: Their business has grown organically. L’Eagle was self-funded with hard work and incremental growth. Every dollar they earned, they have reinvested.
Rob Meagher, CBE’s Founder, President and Editor-in-Chief is a 30 year veteran of the media world. His career has spanned from stints representing the Washington Post, USA Weekend, Reader’s Digest, Financial World & Corporate Finance to the technology world where he worked at International Data Group and Ziff Davis where he was part of the launch team for The Web Magazine, Yahoo Internet Life, Smart Business and Expedia Travels before starting his own marketing and Publisher’s Representative Firm. He also ran all print and online media sales and marketing for the Society for Human Resource Management before partnering with Forbes and then Fortune to create Special Sections covering a variety of topics. Rob, who started CBE Press in 2014, can be contacted at [email protected]
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