Fluresh was the first cannabis brand produced in Grand Rapids as well as the first medical and recreational dispensary. In just five years, the company has enjoyed such success it is expanding its portfolio to include a house of brands that will allow it to better serve different segments of a diverse cannabis market. Fluresh has now grown to become Tend. Harvest.Cultivate. (T.H.C.)
“Our house of brands strategy will better support our growth initiatives and allow us to serve a wider audience of consumers by targeting different market segments and different price points. These offerings include all of the primary categories consumers have come to expect from companies of our scale, including flower, pre-rolls, gummies, and vape cartridges.” Says VP of Marketing and Retail, Sarah LaFleur.
The expanded business model will also provide a platform for T.H.C. to purchase existing brands that resonate with consumers and fit within its brand portfolio.
CREATING THE STANDARD
The DNA of the company is one of engagement, involvement, and commitment. The first of its kind in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it is a relatively young company in a new industry. But T.H.C. is becoming a leader in the industry producing quality products, creating an inviting work environment, and developing a culture that is appreciated internally and within the communities it reaches.
In early 2023, T.H.C. launched their Employee Equity Participation Program. These shares allow employees’ appreciation (increase in value) of the company’s stock from their grant date forward. The program promotes T.H.C.’s and each employee’s goal of supporting customers and creating value for shareholders. The benefit is designed to encourage team members to become personally vested in T.H.C., and to reward employees for their hard work and dedication to the company.
“It’s not just senior management that makes this company work. Each person brings their own skill set and abilities, from our in-house scientist who works to maintain genetic integrity of our strains, individuals trimming the actual plants, to those packaging the product. Each individual puts something into our success. So it is only equitable for all of us to share in that, as we grow,” says Brandon Kanitz, CEO of T.H.C.
The renewed focus at T.H.C. has reinforced the company’s commitment to lead by example. This includes spearheading collaboration with industry brands to raise $100,000 for Ukraine relief, partnering with community organizations to support local minority-owned businesses, and promoting company-sponsored volunteer events with local non-profits.
“Now, we are creating a much more successful company that is also a leader in how to be a good corporate citizen at a local and state level,” adds Shoran Williams, Chief Counsel and Chief Regulatory Officer for T.H.C. “In cannabis, we have to work to undo the stigma so that people want to do business with us at the corporate level as well as cultivate returning customers. There are so many aspects to continue to advance our company and the industry simultaneously.”
A RENEWED FOCUS
Brandon Kanitz, one of the Fluresh founders, took over as T.H.C.’s CEO, driving the company forward with a cohesive strategic plan for growth and improvement.
“Admittedly these areas were not a core focus, and therefore strength, for the company before, but we have improved significantly in both areas since committing to this renewed focus,” says Kanitz.
While T.H.C. has historically been known as a flower company, with 90% of sales bulk and pre-packaged flower, over the last 18 months the company has also focused on expanding its product portfolio. To better fit the needs for the house of brands model, significant investments have been made in automating pre-roll, vape cart, gummy production lines, as well as developing in-house ethanol extraction capabilities. In-house production gives the company more control over the cost structure and the quality of its product delivered to the consumer.
Increasing the production capabilities for each of these product lines does more than support the brand portfolio and consumer demand. “There is a significant gap in the industry when it comes to consistent quality and availability for co-manufacturing. Increasing our capacity is allowing us to establish T.H.C. as the ideal partner for our customers,” says company COO Toni Richardson.
Over the past two years, T.H.C. has focused on bringing in experienced manufacturing talent to upgrade and improve its production processes and operational capabilities. Richardson, for example, brings 30 years of experience in related fields that speak to the vision of T.H.C. Another new hire, Rick Killebrew, with his extensive experience in Grand Rapids food production, will manage gummies production. Grower Dennis Breedlove brings 25 years of cultivation experience from California’s Emerald Triangle, and will work his magic at the cultivation facility in Adrian.
“We have made a conscientious investment in our team and manufacturing technology. This allows us to meet current demands for product while having capacity for expansion. The purchase of new equipment that is more efficient allows us to utilize the automation for a more consistent execution of schedules and quality of product. At T.H.C. we continually improve through the reduction of waste and remain dedicated to never become complacent with the status quo. We will always push ourselves to continuously optimize our processes and we look to fundamentally change the way we manufacture,” says Richardson.
The team is working diligently to set the standard for what a good corporate citizen should be, and leveraging production capacity to become a full- service partner for wholesale clients and a superlative “house of brands” for everyone.
T.H.C. has also focused on improving the processes that create a better product while exploring every opportunity to expand. The drive to grow while maintaining quality requires a strong foundation and the expertise of all team members, the recipe for success set in motion by Kanitz’s vision.
“As new equipment arrives and our processes are improved upon and streamlined, we are very intentional about training and investing in our team members so they can perform at their best,” says Richardson.
“We are competitive in the Michigan market, which is extremely challenging, but this helps future-proof us for when cannabis becomes federally legal,” adds Kanitz. “While we are creating and building ourselves to operate at a level others struggle with; we are putting ourselves ahead of the curve when the entire country opens up. We have around 250 individuals working for Tend. Harvest. Cultivate, investing in production and processes, and getting the groundwork set now, means we can protect the jobs of our team members in the future.”
T.H.C. is savvy enough to know when it needs to pivot, and has adjusted accordingly to meet company and industry needs. The team is working diligently to set the standard for what a good corporate citizen should be, and leveraging production capacity to become a full-service partner for wholesale clients and a superlative “house of brands” for everyone. All of this is happening with a renewed focus on company culture and team building – a tall order in an industry where a lot of organizations struggle. But T.H.C. is up to the challenge.
“We are competitive in the Michigan market, which is extremely challenging, but this helps future-proof us for when cannabis becomes federally legal.”