Farmer’s Wife celebrated the grand opening of its third pharmacy in the developing medical cannabis market in Missouri on August 20.
The new location in Springfield combines many of the attributes that, according to Director of Retail David Brodsky, characterize the company in the state: a focus on retail coupled with robust branding and a wide range of products.
The Farmer’s Wife is locally owned by a Southwest Missouri group with two other retail locations in Mountain Grove and West Plains. Brodsky spent the last decade in the cannabis industry in California and Colorado before returning to Missouri shortly after medical cannabis was state legalized in 2018.
One of the company’s owners was previously in the pharmaceutical market and wanted to get into the cannabis industry to provide patients with an alternative form of relief, Brodsky says.
The Farmer’s Wife submitted their license applications in 2019 and finally won three retail licenses in early 2020, with the first pharmacy on April 20. opened this year.
“We decided to focus on retail and focus on it and not get overwhelmed,” says Brodsky, adding that the company is focusing its operations on Springfield, one of the largest cities in the state.
Photos courtesy of The Farmers Wife
The interior of The Farmer’s Wife pharmacy in Springfield, Missouri.
The Farmer’s Wife applied for a total of five pharmacy licenses and is currently appealing the two, which they had not received in a process that, according to Brodsky, could take up to a year. If the company ultimately wins the two additional licenses, it will open a second retail location in Springfield and one in Oliver.
Although Missouri is a limited license state, with 60 cultivation, 86 manufacturing, and 192 retail licenses, the state is less restrictive than other licensed markets, Brodsky says. Although, like other emerging markets, delivery problems have plagued Missouri’s businesses, he says.
When the state’s first pharmacies opened their doors to patients last October, Brodsky said, “it was pretty small prey for patients until last spring.”
“It was difficult to find a product,” he says of this early stage. “There wasn’t a lot of variety, there weren’t a lot of processors online, there weren’t a lot of growers approved to run, and so on. But that changed very quickly. … Even though we are a restricted license state, there are still many licenses. Apparently we get a new call every week talking to a new breeder or a new manufacturer who is looking for a home for his products. “
To overcome these challenges, The Farmer’s Wife’s team carried out their due diligence and established relationships with growers and processors at an early stage, long before many operators were up and running. Before it opened, the company had signed several contracts that helped it source not only an adequate supply of products, but a wide variety of products as well.
“We have patients all the time who say we have the best selection of any store in the area,” says Brodsky. “And it’s not that we have most of them, because there are a few pharmacies here that have 40 types of flowers on their shelves. But we have taken a lot of care to ensure that we offer the best possible products at any price. If you have a budget conscious consumer or someone who wants the best of the best … we have the best products for these people at all these prices. “
Now that Missouri approaches its one year anniversary of selling medicinal cannabis, Brodsky is most excited to see how the market continues to develop.
“Every federal state I’ve worked in has developed differently,” he says. “Every state is unique and has different rules and different actors, so it’s fun and exciting to see how things develop in general for the industry. But I think what I’m most excited about is seeing what happens to patients with the quality and variety of products that are launched in the state of Missouri. We are already seeing price pressure that makes things more affordable. “
As with any brand new cannabis market, many Missouri patients have never ingested edibles or concentrates, and some have never seen a vape pen. “Flowers are definitely king right now,” says Brodsky, especially in the company’s more rural locations, where flowers make up 65% of sales. In Springfield, flowers make up 50% of the store’s sales.
“In our rural locations, we are starting to see people migrating to some of these manufactured products and away from flowers,” he says. “We’re definitely seeing that mix of what people buy is changing as more and more different products become available.”
The Farmer’s Wife’s Pharmacy in Mountain Grove, Mon.
The Farmer’s Wife employs 24 people in its pharmacies and employs additional staff through 12 external positions in other areas of the company, such as accounting and security.
The Farmer’s Wife has partnered with Green Flower, a cannabis education platform, to train their staff.
“The agreement we have made with Green Flower is that all of our employees have access to all of Green Flower’s courses in their first year with us,” says Brodsky. “We offer incentives in two-month blocks. When you have completed all of the coursework in this program, we will give you a small cash bonus. We see them as being more valuable to us as employees, so we want to acknowledge this and ask them to do so in their spare time, so we want to compensate them for taking the time to educate themselves. ”
The company has also partnered with Supper, a marketing agency that helped The Farmer’s Wife develop its brand name through logos, website and social media.
“Having a strong brand is very important and they make sure that we do a quality job in the process,” says Brodsky.
The Farmer’s Wife also works with a Springfield headshop called Kaleidoscope, which has been in business for 38 years, supplying pharmacies with a selection of smoking shop supplies and CBD products.
“If you go to another pharmacy, they might have a few pipes or cigarette paper here and there, but we have a full range for people,” says Brodsky.
The company also has a partnership with a nonprofit called Ayden’s Alliance, which offers patient education events, nurse matching, and pop-ups to help patients register for their medical cannabis cards.
“It’s just a great organization, and we actually rented space next to two of our locations so they could host educational events and patient registrations right next to us,” says Brodsky.
Looking ahead, The Farmer’s Wife will soon be offering online ordering, drive-through windows, and delivery across its three pharmacies, and the team is already thinking about what an adult market in Missouri might look like.
At least two groups are working to put legalization measures on the November 2022 state ballot, and if one succeeds, adult sales could start in the first half of 2023, according to Brodsky.
“Polls looks good, so I think we’ll be fine,” he says.