Are cannabis farmgate stores the future for microproducers?

Discover the Insights of Legal Cannabis

Exclusive Q&A with Jonathan Wilson from Crystal Cure

Dive into the world of legal cannabis with our exclusive video series featuring Jonathan Wilson. Gain valuable insights and knowledge from one of the industry’s leading experts.

Produit de Crystal Cure

Bon Stock has been interested in Crystal Cure for several years. Initially, it was the companionship with another New Brunswick company, Golden Peak, that caught our attention. At that time, we were impressed that Crystal Cure also made and sold its own Adonis Living Soil. Later on, it is the labels made by Crystal Cure that piqued our curiosity. They are a work of art, love and clarity. However, Bon Stock knew very little about the cannabis farmgate store set up by Jonathan and his team, the first of its kind in New Brunswick.

So, what exactly is cannabis farmgate store?

Basically, it’s like a shop where licensed producers are allowed to sell cannabis products directly to customers. It is a choreography of actions that involves a lot more than selling veggies on the side of the road.

But what are the advantages to have a farmgate?

Let’s listen to Jonathan!

#1 Introduction

Jonathan is very active on social media. His style and tone are unique. You think you know him? Video will always bring another dimension. 😉

#2 The story... behind the story

The cannabis industry is a never-ending story of stories. That makes sense since it requires very dedicated people to hope to succeed. Crystal Cure has such a story. And it begins with Mr. Hiroshi Kosako.

#3 From big to small to big again?

Jonathan, you wrote on LinkedIn a few weeks ago that Crystal Cure now have a single basic unit of production, a micro production unit, that is great enough to be reproduced. So Crystal Cure went from a big concept, a standard licence, to a small unit of production that you can now scale up?

#4 Exclusive products!

Now let’s dive into your farmgate in Nouveau-Brunswick. Recently, OCS in Ontario decided to let LPs sell exclusive products within the farmgate program. You must be looking forward to discussing with Cannabis Nouveau-Brunswick to have a similar program? 

#5 Motivation to test the farmgate model?

Now, can you tell us why you decided to move into the farmgate realm in New Brunswick from the get-go? 

#6 Added values for customers

So what special experience did the Backdoor offer at the beginning? The offer probably changed over the time. Tell us about the added value for your customers.

#7 Relationship with customers

What are the people’s reaction to «Le Backdoor»? What kind of questions do you get? Is your relationship with customers transformed ?

#8 Going deeper

So you add a deepening of your relationship in some ways? Can you explained that?

#9 Creating a magical bond

Do you have super ninja customers that help you on the social network? I’m asking you that because if you take the stats for restaurants, the first time you go, the chances that you’re coming back about 30%, even if the meal was great, second time is 42, but by the third time, the chance that you will come back, grows to 75 % of . So are you creating this kind of magical bond between Crystal Cure and your customers ?

#10 The local reception

So now we’ve established that you have incredible clientele and supporters. Now, I don’t know New Brunswick very well, but I know that in Quebec, the acceptability of cannabis has probably been the lowest in Canada. How did the community at large, what did the community feel about having this new kind of store?

#11 Changing patterns of consumption

You just told me that the people who come to the Le Backdoor are living around more or less 500 metres. That’s incredible. You’ve been telling me about education, the kinds of questions customers ask. Has it changed the way they consume?

#12 Relation with Cannabis NB

So let’s move now to your operations. Do you have to go through Cannabis NB before lifting a finger? In other words, how do you navigate the novelty of the farmgate with CNB?

#13 The initial challenges

So what were the main difficulties when you launched Le Backdoor? By the way, do we say New Brunswick Cannabis or Cannabis New Brunswick?

#14 Making money with the Le Backdoor

My souvenir, what I remember from the initial farmgate in Ontario, is that all the charges that you normally have when you go through OCS were still going to be charged if you were doing a farmgate. Is it the same thing in New Brunswick? Tell us more about the intricacies on how you can make money with Le Backdoor.

#15 Not available anywhere else!

So what you’re saying is that there might be some charges, but overall, it is a profitable operation for Crystal Cure.
But what I do understand is the quality of the contact you get with the clients. Even if it was at par, the same price, the same cost, you would go for it because it allows you to build something that is not available anywhere else.

#16 About being a great partner

So, on top of everything, since you’re always willing to be the tester, they must like you very much because you sort of take away some uncertainties in their program. They must feel, hey, Crystal Cure is a real partner. So they can’t express that probably, but every time they make a decision, it must be in the back of their head?

#17 Sustainability through Le Backdoor

Sustainability and  your farmGate. . . Did it change your vision of what Crystal Cure could do? Did it change the way you hire people because now they must have people skills? How did that grow into the business of Le Backdoor?

#18 Information intelligence

So now let’s go in a different direction. What you’ve learned from your operation so far? What about the fluctuation or the movement of the sales? A Friday versus a Monday? In a nutshell, what have you learned that you’re willing to share? Because this is information intelligence. . .

#19 The future of Le Backdoor

So what is the future of Le Backdoor? Are you waiting for Cannabis New Brunswick to set up some new goodies or do you have your own plans that are independent of what Cannabis New Brunswick can do for you?

#20 «I can't grow it like you!»

Must be a beautiful experience when a client buys some clones, your adonis living soil, and comes back and says, I can’t grow it like you!

#21 Money & trends

Within the margins of your legal resrictions, what can you tell us about the money side of the farm gate? What were the percentage of revenue coming from the farm gate in the first year, the second year? If you can’t talk amount, you can talk general trends to inform us about the possibilities of the farmgate.

#22 The "other" costs

And what about your additional operating cost? We’ve established that Cannabis New Brunswick is a clever partner, but what are the costs? What can you tell us about staffing, insurance, lightning? Just expand a little bit on the money side of your operations per se.

#23 Dancing with the law

A farmgate is not like a road side veggies stand. You cannot get in an LP building without a badge. That is the law. So you had to sort of recalibrated your entrance and all of that. So what’s the dance there?

#24 Engineering a "illegal feeling"

It looks like a concerted attempt to make a legal transaction feel like the act of going to see a pusher! Was it designed that way or it happened by luck?

#25 Is it for all LPs?

So now let’s discuss the industry. In terms of money, in terms of emotional investment, would you recommend to other LPs to get into a farmgate?

#26 The best market survey tool

Le Backdoor allows you to actually test in real life and have a direct feedback. Not through a keyboard, but by shaking hands with your customers. Do you have an example of a product that you developed through Le Backdoor?

#27 Paying customers give great critics...

One of the main advantages I see in that is that people pay for the products. It’s not something you give them in exchange for kind words. They paid for it and they give you an honest opinion for the money that you took from them. It’s the best way to do market research.

#28 Next move?

What’s the future of the farmgate concept in New Brunswick and for Crystal Cure? If you have to project yourself in the future, you have an incredible tool for market research and a great tool to test the quality of your own production. So you can get a lot of data. But in the future, what do you see?

#29 A final though?

Do you have a thought to conclude our Q&A? I’m not going to ask you a question. How would you like to conclude the interview? What do you want to say to customers, but also other LPs throughout Canada?

Conclusion

Our Q&A featuring Jonathan Wilson from Crystal Cure has provided invaluable insights into the legal cannabis industry. Bon Stock hopes that our discussion with Jonathan has not only answered your questions but also sparked your curiosity to learn more.

You have more questions about the farmgate in general or Le Backdoor in particular? Just connect with Bon Stock. We’ll get you an answer.

A big thanks to Jonathan Wilson for his time and generosity. 

author avatar
Luc Prévost
Fondateur de Bon Stock et toPot.