Company: Evermore Cannabis Co. | Location: Pikesville, Maryland | Sector: Vertically integrated company
Maryland is among a growing number of Eastern states that hold much promise but still face the challenges of being a medical-only opportunity, where a relatively large number of marijuana businesses are competing for a limited patient population.
Pikesville-based cultivation and production business Evermore Cannabis Co. and its affiliated dispensary, The Living Room, have cracked the Maryland market, garnering more than 50 new patients per week and building a successful wholesale operation.
What are the keys? Product diversity, inventory management, communication, aggressive discounting and creative marketing.
“It’s really just constant communication and constant inventory tracking so we know when we have something in and how long we’ve had it for,” said Morey Zuskin, Evermore’s principal, owner and chief marketing officer.
Offer a variety of products and keep tabs on inventory
Evermore attributes its success in growing patient numbers to having a wide but not overwhelming variety of products that are more often hits than misses with clientele.
Selecting winning products takes a disciplined study of sales trends and constant communication between team members to ensure inventory levels strike the right balance.
“From the top down, the ownership is involved and hands-on, with meetings and calls and just constant communication,” said Evan Damareck, general manager at The Living Room.
Communication includes a weekly inventory call with Evermore’s vice presidents of processing and cultivation, the marketing team, wholesale manager, dispensary manager and Damareck.
“We get on the weekly call to know what’s coming, what’s out there, what’s ready now, what’s going to lab. It’s just that constant communication with each other to make sure we’re all on the same page and know what we have and what can be allotted to the dispensary and what’s going to be allotted to the wholesale market,” Damareck explained.
He added that “to keep things fresh” the company orders new products weekly. “Everything is coming in and moving out right away, and that means keeping up on inventory,” Damareck said.
Zuskin noted: “To manage our inventory, we keep very tight control over what we have and how much we have. We are constantly watching how fast we move through certain items and what items tend to sit for any length of time. We relay that back to our inventory team and then to Evan when we’re doing our ordering.”
Give plenty of customer discounts
Deals on price are another important strategy in expanding Evermore’s patient numbers and getting customers to try new products. The deals are also a way for the retailer to acknowledge the impact of the 2020 recession, which might have affected patients through layoffs, pay cuts or other means.
“We’re doing well, but there are other people that are not, and we have to be conscious of that,” Zuskin said.
The Living Room typically offers discounts for veterans, seniors and students, but it has added other daily specials during the coronavirus pandemic to attract shoppers. The dispensary also expanded a 22% discount for veterans—22 reflecting the number of daily suicides by veterans—to all customers in March. The discount remains in place for now but will eventually be phased out.
“Probably 95% to 99% of the menu had a 22% discount for everybody every day of the week,” Zuskin said.
Pivot to online marketing and hosting social media events
The coronavirus pandemic forced The Living Room to change its marketing strategy, which had depended on public events. With many events shifting online this year, The Living Room launched an Instagram music series: Once or twice per week the dispensary hires a DJ or band to play music for a few hours while people listen online.
“Most of our efforts have been live Instagram music sessions and expanding our footprint online to make sure that we’re reaching as many eyes as we can,” Zuskin said.