Gas Station Hemp?

Just Dennis on Dec 6th 2020

Our first attempts at getting our premium smokable-grade hemp flower to customers was by wholesaling to local CBD dispensaries. We assumed that our high quality prepackaged product would be irresistible. Not so. In fact, out of a half-dozen established dispensaries in our area, only one placed an order. There were a couple of reasons why this occurred.

First, most CBD dispensaries didn't want prepackaged hemp flower. They preferred to engage in "white labeling." For those unfamiliar with the term, the retail stores would take flower that they had purchased from a grower and label it as their own. It's not an uncommon practice, and it has advantages for both the retailer and the wholesaler. However, we made the strategic decision that our flower would be sold under our name so as to build up brand recognition.

Secondly, CBD dispensaries were in the habit of buying hemp flower at a very low price. Most, if not all, of their smokable-flower had originated from outdoor field operations, and the growers could afford to offer it at a very low price. As one of the first greenhouse operations in this area, NGF couldn't meet that price and still make a profit. And, since we are now a completely indoor-operation, that problem has only magnified.

So, we needed to find another outlet to get our product into the hand of consumers. We turned to the gas stations.

Many of our competitors laughed at us. Others pitied us. They assumed that our product was inferior and that was our only venue. Gas stations were beneath them. We viewed gas stations as an opportunity to change the industry.

Most of our competition in these gas stations were out-of-town, field-grown, brown hemp. It was terrible. Yet, it sold quite well according to the owners. So, we matched their price and loaded up everyone that was willing to try us out. We even gave some away for free. And, we always included a tester jar so that consumers could see what they were buying. Within a few months, we had driven away most of that out-of-town nasty brown flower.

We discovered that there was an untapped local market of hemp smokers that weren't in a position to drive to dispensaries. They shopped at these gas stations as a matter of routine. And,since the owners were not inclined to white-label, our prepackaged local flower was a perfect fit. Life was good...for awhile.

Our local competitors wised up. Now, we are competing with local outdoor-growers that are wholesaling at prices that would barely meet our expenses. Sometimes their product is good and sometimes not. We discussed the issues that outdoor growers have with consistency in the last post. Our challenge has been educating consumers on those issues.

Bottom line- Premium smokable-grade hemp flower can be found anywhere. Don't buy into the hype that gas-station hemp is bad. Sometimes, it's the best around.

Our next post will discuss what you should look for in packaging. You might be surprised.