Client In the News:
Cannabis company on ‘growth spree’ expands into West Michigan with 8 stores
By Rose White | firstname.lastname@example.org
A Michigan cannabis company, which began the year operating one retail store, expects to end 2021 with 10 locations, the majority in West Michigan.
Some of the first recreational marijuana stores in West Michigan have been rebranded as New Standard, while several new shops are planned to open in the region in the coming weeks.
New Standard will be found in Ann Arbor, Edmore, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Nunica, Sand Lake, Saugatuck and Whitehall, in addition to its first location in Hazel Park.
CEO and co-founder Howard Luckoff says the company is on a “growth spree” in Michigan’s relatively new cannabis retail industry.
“We want to be the new standard, and we want to do things the right way. We’re prepared to have one store, and we’re prepared to have 500 stores,” Luckoff said.
Culture and customer experience are key for the growing business.
Luckoff, formerly a Shinola board member and general counsel for Bedrock Detroit and Rock Ventures, likened the company’s boutique retail space to Apple and Starbucks with one-on-one budtenders for new and experienced cannabis customers.
“You walk into a dispensary and to a large extent, the first time you’re overwhelmed,” Luckoff said. “We want to make sure that somebody walks in and it’s like, they don’t even know where to turn, they turn to a person who can greet them who’s not trying to sell them anything, but who’s trying to educate them.”
New Standard started with a grow facility about two years ago and opened its flagship Hazel Park store in April 2020. A second location in Sand Lake, 29 Lake St., opened in January.
The provisioning centers offer 275 distinct products, including marijuana flower, pre-rolled joints, concentrates, edibles, vape cartridges, topicals and tinctures.
New Standard recently teamed up with Greg Maki, the owner of Agri-Med, to expand its footprint in the West Michigan region.
Maki said he believes pairing the two “large, strong companies” will allow them to compete with other retail marijuana businesses.
“With so many moving parts and so many things moving fast, we decided that we needed a partner,” he said.
The recreational marijuana industry in Michigan has boomed since retail stores first opened at the end of 2019 with monthly sales records exceeding $100 million in April 2021.
Based on sales figures, recreational sales are on pace to hit $1 billion in the next year.
Maki, the first to open marijuana shops in Muskegon, Montcalm and Ottawa counties, already rebranded Exit 9 and Edmore Provisionary as New Standard stores.
Park Place Provisionary and its current staff in Muskegon will be joining the company soon.
Luckoff says it is the “end of Prohibition” and the “beginning of a new era” for the marijuana retail industry.
“It’s almost like we’re building the car as we’re driving it. I don’t have a grand plan to have 20 stores next year and 30 stores the following year,” he said. “We’re looking for opportunities. We’re always looking for opportunities.”
New Standard’s executive team also includes Chase Kushak, the former chief operating officer at Founders Brewing.
The Grand Haven shop, 1125 S. Beacon Boulevard, will be the first medical marijuana provisioning center to open in the city on June 4.
Whitehall is expected to launch in the coming weeks, and Saugatuck and Ann Arbor are both planned for July.
The Grand Rapids location is slated to open later in the year pending construction work.
“I think right now we’re in a good spot, and I think it’s safe to say we’ll be growing,” Luckoff said.