Cannabis With An Edge
On Feburary 14, 2020, Kristie Henderson of WEAR-TV 3 in Pensacola, Florida, reported on a New medical cannabis dispensary opening in Pensacola
A grand opening ceremony was held for the public on Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 10 a.m. And what an showing! Hot coffee, friendly staff, and medical cannabis eagerly greet patients and guests on Feburary 15, 2020 at the Grand Opening of MÜV Dispensary on Ninth Avenue in Pensacola, Florida.
Reminiscent of Tikun Olam’s overarching mission and commitment to “Heal the World,” MÜV dispensary’s main focus is patient-centric and two-fold:
- (GOAL 1) “Patients First; Profits Second,” —targeted towards truly benefiting patients with a myriad of medical cannabis products, delivery methods, and knowledge rather than solely on generating profits.
Courtney Parker, Pensacola Store Manager amplifies this goal:
“At MÜV our main priority is to combine pharmaceutical industry precision with an engaging and compassionate patient experience. We strive to make a firsthand connection with every patient or caretaker to provide them with reliable and effective cannabis based therapies.“
- (GOAL 2) Striving 110% to be “the best at cultivating patient trust.”
According to Jamie Pomeroy, Customer Care Manager, who further expanded on the unique MÜV approach to customer care. He explains that their patient call time clocks in at “around three to four minutes,” ensuring “mutual, beneficial satisfaction” before the phone call concludes.
Marcus Alfinez, Assistant Manager, Cannabis Coach, and Florida Patient agrees wholeheartedly:
“MÜV is a fully integrated, science based Florida company bringing a goal of community engagement. Education is key.”
Both points of MÜV’s focus exhibit firsthand their prominent core values of transparency and compassionate, thorough their unique approach to P.S. —or Patient Service.
MÜV accomplishes these two lofty goals by listening and paying attention to every in-store patient and to each caller by slowly and medically assessing their individual, personal service needs.
They specifically do not rush the medical cannabis consumer or prospective client/patient off the phone as quickly as possible—unlike most other call centers, regardless of the industry.
Pomeroy outlines how MÜV’s Patient Service or customer care model is similar to Zappos, the online retailer, in that MÜV dispensary has also been:
“Created on a loyalty business model and relationship marketing. The loyalty business model used company resources to work towards establishing and increasing customer and stakeholder loyalty. The idea is that this loyalty will help meet and exceed company objectives and goals (2014).”
MÜV Mission and Vision
Another similarity to Zappos is MÜV‘s competitive (cannabis) advantage “stems from its exceptional customer service. This is sustainable providing Zappos does not have to compete on price. The fact that Zappos pays its staff well, provides overnight delivery and has a 365 free returns policy does add to the price of its goods.”
By doing so, MÜV keeps their call center in house where “it is able to maintain the fun culture and train their staff to provide the personal touch with its customers. The call centre staff are not governed by performance targets based on time of call and sales made” (Abbas 2012).
I’ve called three times, and based on my own experiences, their friendly call center employees are helpful in unexpected ways. They exceeded expectations each time by offering give me a call back, with my express consent, when they had the information that I requested before placing a pickup order for the Pensacola store.
It didn’t hurt that rather than annoying your ear, their hold music was playing Tchaikovsky to my delight. Unexpected and beautiful.
Each call specialist carefully listened to me, made small talk geared at making me feel comfortable, and gave me immediate solutions to my issues.
Maria Denzin wrote a Cannabis Dispensary piece for the May-June 2019 issue titled The Makings of Great Customer Service. According to Denzin, “The leadership behavior of an employee’s manager is highly correlated to employee engagement.” Having met Pomeroy, I have no doubt he inspires his MÜV team through leading by example.
Denzin then offers six distinct attributes of cannabis employees delivering great customer service:
- Product Knowledge
- Staying Positive and Using Positive Language
- Keeping Calm Under Pressure
I wholeheartedly agree with all of these attributes and believe that MÜV’s outstanding Patient Service team delivers all of them.
They spent quite a bit of time with me to figure out what I actually needed; I never felt rushed.
They knew the dispensary MENU prices and products inside and out, as well as the effects and various delivery methods available.
They were very calm under pressure when I asked about inventory and pressed on delivery times.
Each time I called, I was met with a very articulate and knowledgeable employee in Pomeroy’s department —as a medical cannabis patient, this is a huge leap forward.
Passion and Patient-Care
As exemplified in comments by Zack Swan, MÜV-AltMed Director of Sales, and Danyal Swan, Marketing Assistant, the newest MÜV dispensary in Pensacola and parent company AltMed Florida:
“We are excited for this wonderful opportunity to be part of the Northwest Florida cannabis community.”
Their commitment to medical cannabis in Florida indeed spills over onto the radiant faces and into the positive vibe-filled, enthusiastic energy of all management members with whom I spoke on Saturday, February 15, 2010 at their newest Pensacola store’s official Grand Opening.
Let’s rewind to April 26, 2018 when it was announced by PR Newswire that AltMed Enterprises, LLC Raises $35.4 Million to Fuel Growth in Florida, Arizona and Internationally:
“Alternative Medical Enterprises, LLC (“AltMed”), a fully integrated company that brings pharmaceutical industry precision to the development, production and dispensing of medical cannabis, today announced it has closed a private placement financing of $35.4 million with an affiliate of MainLine Investment Partners, LLC (“MLIP”) and other investors.
“This Financing will help us to conduct a robust launch in the massive medical marijuana marketplace of Florida and build out our 25 authorized dispensaries,” said Matthew Duffy, AltMed President and COO. “It will also enable us to accelerate the expansion of our cultivation capabilities and increase our footprint in Arizona. We anticipate significant growth over the next few years as we expand our licensed facilities to meet the needs of medical cannabis patients in Florida and Arizona.”
Additionally, the investment will provide capital to grow AltMed’s award winning MÜV brand of premium cannabis products nationally & internationally. Funding will also clear the balance sheet of debt and allow AltMed’s industry leading R&D to continue to prosper.
“We see our investment in AltMed as a rare opportunity to gain a strong foothold in a once in a generation new growth industry,” said William Landman, managing principal of MainLine Investment Partners. “AltMed has demonstrated that they are and will be industry leaders in Florida, Arizona, nationally and globally.”
“AltMed’s award winning MÜV premium cannabis products are sold in dispensaries across Arizona and are expected to be available for Florida patients beginning this summer. AltMed Florida is currently in the process of expanding its state-of-the-art cultivation facility from 50,000 to 150,000 square feet to accommodate anticipated demand.”
—About AltMed Enterprises – Alternative Medical Enterprises, LLC, headquartered in Sarasota, FL and doing business as AltMed Enterprises, is a fully integrated company that brings pharmaceutical industry precision to the development, production and dispensing of medical cannabinoids.
—About MÜV – The MÜV brand of cannabis infused products was launched in Arizona in 2016 and has quickly gained international attention and recognition. In its first six months alone, MÜV received four best of Arizona medical cannabis awards, including two first prizes for its proprietary extractions that are the basis of all MÜV products.
—About MainLine Investment Partners – MainLine Investment Partners (“MLIP”) and its affiliates focus on investing in operating businesses and real estate assets, as well as private wealth management and multifamily residential property management. MLIP’s principals have managed over $3 billion of equity capital commitments in alternative investments since 1987, have approximately 70 combined years of experience working together, and are currently responsible for directly or indirectly overseeing the management of approximately $1 billion of invested capital and assets under management.”
Mark Gordon’s helpful Out of the weeds— reports on a local company aiming to deliver a big dose of top-notch service to the nascent medical marijuana industry:
“All MuV products, says Beckwith, stem from research refined in the Arizona lab and include the company’s award-winning, proprietary ethanol extraction process. The company is licensed to sell MuV products in Arizona, Florida and Colorado, and is working on approvals in up to a dozen other states and five countries. But the Sunshine State remains a priority.”
“What drives this is to help Florida patients,” Beckwith continues. “That’s what we were working for as a company. We want to meet the demand.”
Smullen, the co-founder of AltMed, first began to look to start a medical cannabis company in the late 2000s. Smullen’s motivation: His daughter suffered from epilepsy and had her first grand mal seizure when she was 2… she could have been helped by medical marijuana.
Fortunately, Smullen was in a position to do something about it, both in knowledge and with his wallet. He had spent decades in the pharmacy industry. Smullen, a 51-year-old retiree, moved from Maryland to the Lakewood Ranch area with his family. Smullen is chairman of AltMed Enterprises, the parent entity over AltMed Florida, AltMed Arizona and MuV, the company’s exclusive product line.
Smullen and Beckwith’s attention, moving forward, has turned to the retail side of the dispensaries, where the marketing director says one of AltMed’s competitive advantages is its multiple delivery methods.
That can be traced to the exclusive MuV line of medical cannabis products. Florida’s medical marijuana law allows for cannabis to be used as an edible, oil, topical, vaporized or smoked.
- One of those products is a smoke-free and inhalation-free patch that delivers slow-release, dosage-controlled cannabis (☆ PURCHASED February 2020)
- Another one is a metered-dose cannabis inhaler, which provides a faster and more discreet dose (☆ PURCHASED February 2020)
- Other MuV products that will be available in AltMed Florida dispensaries include cannabis oil, hydrating lotion, pain-relief cream and sports gel
- Whole-flower cannabis is available in Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3
Beckwith says the company plans to open its allotted 25 dispensaries in Florida, each with about 10-12 employees. The dispensaries will be high on comfort level, with lots of simplified options for customers in a dignified setting. “We will not be Walmart,” Beckwith says. “We will be more like Nordstrom.””
On June 21, 2018, PR Newswire spotlighted their first Florida dispensary opening in Market Insider: “AltMed Florida has announced the opening of the first of 25 MÜV dispensary locations in Apollo Beach.”
Less than six months later was Jonathan Cooper’s November 26, 2018 article, The State Of Cannabis: Who Will Dominate Florida’s Cannabis Market? in which he states the following observations with data from Florida Health as of November 2018:
Summary of Florida Cannabis Market and Key Players
- Trulieve (OTCPK:TCNNF) is the top cannabis company in Florida today, with perhaps two-thirds of cannabis sales by volume.
- Despite that lead, there are strong challengers in Curaleaf (LDVTF), Surterra, Liberty Health (OTCQX:LHSIF), and others.
- New competitors are also coming: Medmen (OTCQB:MMNFF) is poised to enter the Florida market, acquiring five key retail locations in September 2018.
- Green Thumb (OTCQX:GTBIF) is also looking to launch in Florida, with nine dispensaries coming soon after closing on a purchase of a Florida licensee on November 8.
Based on previous research on the growth of legalized cannabis markets, I expect Florida to grow rapidly for three-to-four years before reaching maturity. This implies that Florida’s rapid growth will continue until perhaps 2020 or 2021. Each of the companies herein is likely to benefit from that growth, although that growth will be spread unevenly between them.”
Recently, the Herald-Tribune published a January 16, 2020 staff report outlining. how Canada’s Origin House takes bigger slice of Sarasota-based AltMed:
“Michael Smullen, chairman and CEO of AltMed Enterprises, says, “The decision to transition Origin House’s royalty stake to an equity position also suggests a vote of confidence for the perceived value of AME shares now and in the future.”
A publicly traded Canadian company is taking a slightly larger stake in Sarasota-based medical marijuana business AltMed. As part of the transaction, Ottawa-based Origin House also is selling back to AltMed a 3.5 percent royalty on the sale of some of AltMed’s MÜV products.
A statement by Marc Lustig, chairman and CEO of Origin House, reflected confidence: “AltMed has established itself as a successful cannabis business in the key markets of Florida and Arizona,” Lustig said in the release announcing the transaction. “We are confident in AltMed’s prospects and believe that our increased equity position will continue to lead to significant value creation for Origin House shareholders.”
AltMed is one of only 14 license holders in Florida, where it has a 150,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art indoor farm and three dispensaries in the Tampa Bay and Sarasota markets. The company said it plans to expand next into Miami, Orlando and Palm Beach, with 25 dispensaries in the state eventually. AltMed also has an established presence in Arizona.”
It’s such a promising road ahead of them in the blossoming annabis industry, AltMed and their MÜV Dispensaries here in Florida are one company to watch. As I leave satisfied with my purchases in tow, MÜV promotional items are handed out by Dustin, a member of the Customer Care team, and I’m quickly on my way home to medicate by trying a couple new delivery methods for me: discreet oral spray and user-friendly inhaler.
Only two puffs of my new THC inhaler provide me with more than adequate relief between the time we left the Grand Opening at noon and my medication session that afternoon.
Fast forward to February 15, 4:20 p.m., and I can safely say that MÜV has indeed earned my respect and gratitude with the quality, consistency, and variety of their cannabis products. I‘ll be a lifetime, loyal medical cannabis consumer of MÜV products from now until infinity, that’s for sure!
It was wonderful to have the gracious opportunity to speak with their management team—Zack, Danyal, Jamie and Courteney— to get some concrete background on the MÜV mission and their vision for the newest dispensary in Pensacola.
PURCHASES (to date):
- 72-hour transdermal THC patch —with which you can shower
- 150mg mint oral spray in a tiny bottle
- 400mg CBD/THC inhaler
- 300mg ‘White Chem’ Indica-strain specific disposable vape pen
I absolutely LOVED my experience and my MÜV cannabis products from start to finish.
READ— New Cannabis Ventures Press Releases by AltMed – MÜV