Reprinted with permission from Cannabis Law Report.
10 Questions with Hannah Lewis, Senior Director of Operations, GrowHealthy in Florida
In April, in the midst of the current COVID-19 chaos, GrowHealthy bloomed under exceptional circumstances. This Florida dispensary has also flourished in Northwest Florida— but more on that throughout and in my endnotes.
With two new dispensaries open in Pensacola and Tallahassee, GrowHealthy is expanding its retail footprint and doing so using some innovative approaches. As announced by PRNewswire on April 8, 2020, GrowHealthy Expands to North Florida with Store Openings in Tallahassee and Pensacola, which are their first “Emerald Coast” locations:
“With continued growth in the pipeline, GrowHealthy moves towards two-pronged expansion in Northwest Florida, with the openings of the brand’s first retail locations in Tallahassee and Pensacola. These dispensaries will allow patients within Florida’s panhandle access to premium quality cannabis products and expert brand representatives and resources.”
On April 26, 2020 Pensacola News Journal announced GrowHealthy opens new dispensary in Pensacola, offers curbside service: “What if businesses outside of food service also offered curbside services? What would that look like, and how would that open up even more opportunities for business growth? GrowHealthy, a new medical marijuana dispensary at 7817 N. Davis Highway in Pensacola, is poised to take on that challenge.”
On May 8, 2020, I had the opportunity to interview Hannah Lewis, Senior Director of Operations for GrowHealthy, Florida, and we discussed at length the brand’s newly opened stores in Tallahassee and Pensacola, its overarching mission, and its innovative patient programs implemented here in Florida.
CANNABIS LAW REPORT Q#1: Talk to me about your move into the Panhandle. Why choose Pensacola and Tallahassee in the Northwest Florida region as choices for the start of your planned 2020 retail footprint, a robust expansion that looks toward geographic growth with more than half a dozen stores planned through the first half of 2020.
In fact, in May alone, two additional stores opened in Cape Coral and Clearwater-Largo.
HANNAH LEWIS: “There is enough room in the Florida market for all of us and each dispensary and brand offers slightly different attitudes, products, and prices. Each brand has its own focus.
We saw the need within our company for a large-scale logistics hub for our movement into the Northwest part of the state. GrowHealthy made its first move into the panhandle with the new 3,300 square foot retail space located in Tallahassee, Florida.
The brand’s 14th dispensary in Pensacola will serve the patient population in the Pensacola area.
These two fledgling GrowHealthy locations serve perfectly to serve the continuously growing patient population of Northwest Florida. This is a population extending to the state’s vast veteran and aging patients who want quality, consistent products to be conveniently offered at an affordable cost.”
CLR Q#2: According to the brand’s website, “GrowHealthy has a state-of-the-art facility optimized with the tools and technology necessary to create all-natural medicinal treatments for patients.”
Sum up the GrowHealthy mission for me in your own words.
HL: “To help people live their happiest and healthiest lives with high-quality medication. Also, we want to be advocates for self-health and alternative healing.”
CLR Q#3: You have set a precedent opening under these circumstances, and risen to the challenge indeed. You were the first brand to offer curbside pickup in the northwest Florida region and the only dispensary to offer same-day delivery in select areas.
Please talk a bit about opening new stores under the current circumstances and offering only curbside delivery pickup at all of your locations.
HL: “In medical cannabis, there is always room for a new approach, no matter the circumstances, and we’re up for the challenge. We decided to proceed with our planned location openings, simultaneously launching our curbside takeaway and our brand’s innovative new e-commerce platform.
We are striving to effectively shift storefront transactions to curbside or delivery via convenient online ordering.”
CLR Q#4: In what ways specifically are you shifting traditional in-store shopping to safer, contactless transactions?
HL: “GrowHealthy is working diligently to ensure all patients are able to receive their medication while maintaining social distance by, as I mentioned earlier, shifting dispensaries to curbside takeaway or delivery only, removing any need for patients to enter stores.
Products are available for call-in and online ordering via the new GrowHealthy site, which takes a quantum leap towards providing patients with the best online experience in medical cannabis.
This new website and e-commerce platform offer numerous user-friendly experiences while providing patients with product details, including deeper insights and information about products, services, ingredients, THC levels, terpenes, and more.
Patients can also easily place orders online for home delivery or curbside takeaway of products. In order to retrieve curbside pick-up orders, patients will call the dispensary to notify them of your arrival. When you are next in queue, a gloved staff member will step outside to accept payment and provide you with your purchased items.
Additionally, GrowHealthy offers free statewide delivery with no minimum cost of purchase.”
CLR Q#5: On that note, tell me about GrowHealthy’s new, free, rapid delivery program TrailBlazer™ that promises safe, same-day delivery via GrowHealthy.com?
HL: “TrailBlazer™ is a fast, convenient, and transparent method for patients in need of rapid relief. We had our recent launch of TrailBlazer™ in Orlando where it is now being pilot tested, with plans to expand to additional markets soon.
TrailBlazer™ is an easy-to-use service that dramatically reduces wait times by delivering products to patients on the same day they order. No waiting for relief. No need to travel.”
CLR Q#6: Patient feedback on TrailBlazer™ so far?
HL: “Patients loving the same day convenience, which is reflected in our 95% 5-star Patient Experience Rating.”
CLR Q#7: Your hopes for this store within the community, or what do you want to offer the Florida market that’s new or innovative?
HL: “We want consistent, proven experience, taking our time, refining this process of rapid delivery through TrailBlazer™ before implementing it in all of our dispensaries throughout the state.
Systemwide, we are activating curbside first, then TrailBlazer™. The goal is not to be first but to be the best option for the location. The goal is effective, consistent medication when a patient needs it, not days later.
Once the state opens back up to normal in the future, after the COVID-19 crisis, we do have plans to interact with the various Florida communities we serve through collaborations with veteran groups, condition-based support groups, and other civic organizations.
We have plans to hold events that will teach medical cannabis education and awareness to patients and the public. GrowHealthy also plans on participating in various community events that help strengthen Florida and our patients.”
CLR Q#8: GrowHealthy offers a wide variety of medical cannabis products. You carry the popular, effective RSO and your limited edition Signature Blend Series.
What caught my attention was the distinctly tiered price structure, with lower prices and smaller product sizes being offered. Was this an intentional move?
HL: “Yes, that decision absolutely intentional. We wanted to offer trial sizes that are more individualized —not to play into a ‘new market’ but to offer patients economical variety to try for their condition. This gives our GrowHealthy brand a broader consumer base appeal due to both accessibility and affordability.
A healthy variety of size options and price points allows for patients to try a product for efficacy and consistency before purchasing a large amount.
Diversity is very important to us. The brand’s reasoning is that we can create loyal patients who benefit from lower price points and smaller product sizes while simultaneously garnering new patient interest— because all patients will have options and choices. Their health and wellness is back in their control.
Again, there truly is enough room in the Florida cannabis market for a different approach and we are different.”
CLR Q#9: What specific goals does GrowHealthy have in mind for Florida’s medical cannabis program and registered patients?
HL: “Partially, by eliminating waste for patients. We have tiered prices and varied sizes which equals no wasted money or additional expense for patients. They can purchase a smaller size, in milligrams, of our product at a lower cost to them. If the product works for them, the larger sized options are also available.
Also, TrailBlazer™, our rapid/same-day delivery will equal no wasted time for patients who need fast, effective medical cannabis relief.”
CLR Q#10: Can you give me a future sustainability goal for GrowHealthy— what are your brand’s plans to reduce the collective cannabis [carbon] footprint?
HL: “An important future goal of ours is to reduce overall cannabis waste by moving to 100% paperless, electronic transactions, with all product educational materials and receipt put together and sent to the registered patient in one email or message notification.
That means no wasted trees and that’s a good thing for all of us, in Florida and beyond.”
CLR AUTHOR ENDNOTES:
¹ According to the Florida Office of Medical Marijuana’s Weekly Updates for May 2020, GrowHealthy has steadily improved sales throughout the state which has 14 medical cannabis licensees. Since opening the two Northwest Florida locations, GrowHealthy has drastically moved up in the Florida state dispensary ranking.
The latest figures show GrowHealthy’s product milligram sales are currently growing faster than other companies, such as Liberty Health Sciences and VidaCann. GrowHealthy ranked #8 on the interview date of May 8, 2020, but currently rank #5 as of the latest May 22, 2020 figures.
² iAnthus Capital Holdings entered the state of Florida market more than a year ago with the acquisition of GrowHealthy; they are publicly traded under OTCMKTS: ITHUF; GrowHealthy Website.