Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing the team at Green Roads, who are dedicated to improving everyone’s physical and mental well being. We hope you enjoy their incredible story!
Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
It was 2013. Laura Fuentes had been working as a licensed compounding pharmacist for 20 years when a dear family friend confided in her that he was wrestling with an addiction to prescription opiates. Arby Barroso, like millions of Americans and hundreds of Laura’s own customers, had filled a post-surgery prescription and unintentionally slid down a path that seemed impossible to leave.
Arby was an expert on hemp but he needed Laura’s help to turn his optimism into real CBD products. She began formulating products after work and on weekends.
When the pair saw CBD’s power to enhance Arby’s well-being, they became determined to bring its potential to more people. It became a personal mission. Laura left the stability of her career behind and they jumped into the uncharted waters of CBD. At the time, CBD was not the booming industry it is today. It was fraught with intense FDA and DEA scrutiny, banks who wouldn’t take their business, shippers who wouldn’t touch the product, and other challenges few other entrepreneurs have to face.
They persisted, spending their early days formulating products to help their own friends and family live their healthiest lives. The response was incredible. Danny Perdeck and Jimmy Tundidor joined as co-founders, and the business grew rapidly.
Today, Green Roads CBD products are sold in over 10,000 retail locations and the company is ranked as the largest privately-owned CBD company in the US according to the Brightfield Research Group.
Through it all, Laura and Arby’s dedication to their customers has not wavered. Green Roads has long set the gold standard for quality control and consumer transparency in the CBD industry and was one of the earliest advocates for full-panel, independent lab testing on every product batch.
Today, the popularity of CBD is growing, and Laura isn’t worried about the DEA knocking on her door anymore. But despite these advances, she and the entire team at Green Roads still feel that there is tremendous work to be done. Our mission, begun at a kitchen table many years ago, is to help every person find the healthiest version of themselves through the power of plants. We feel very fortunate that Green Roads is on a path to do just that.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Sorry, there’s just too many to count to have a good answer for this one. We’ve encountered so many fascinating people doing great work because that’s what happens when you sail into uncharted waters.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
We needed to make a new company for our distribution and sales work. Our name is Green Roads World, so we thought to make Green Roads World Distributors. We planned to name it GRW Distributors, but late at night, I mistyped it to read GWR on the business application. I showed it to Arby, and he pointed out it read GWR. I couldn’t believe I did it, so we kept coming up with things like Green Roads World Retail, or anything to make it work. Everyone was laughing and giving me a hard time, but we are GWR Distributors to this day. Mistakes happen! And the lesson was, learn, fix it and move on.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Too many to count! We’ve simplified and expanded our CBD oil line in an exciting way. Now it comes in three delicious flavors, and three simple strengths, mild, medium and mighty. More positive evolutions are happening and coming.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I was working as a secretary right after high school for the mother of a friend from high school. One day, my boss asked me when I was starting college. Believe it or not, I had no plans to do so at the time. She asked why not, and told me I had an automatic scholarship to Miami Dade College, based on my grades! I didn’t believe her at first, but I called, learned she was correct, and registered that same day. It was even the very last day of admissions!
She gave me the secretary job when I had a baby, and she’s the reason I went to college. She helped me out in enormous ways — twice!
This industry is young, dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
I think of our strategy as more common sense than ‘clever’. We get out as much educational material as we can about hemp and CBD. The truth is, they’re both misunderstood in many ways even as acceptance continues to grow. Legacy companies aren’t in the same boat by virtue of being understood and familiar.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
Most excited about the countless number of people Green Roads CBD products’ have helped. We get emails, phone calls, cards, letters, and shout outs on social media about how these products have changed so many lives.
Learning everyday new discoveries about what the benefits of CBD are.
People in general are beginning to understand CBD as a wellness product not a recreational drug to get high on the weekend.
I just have one concern:
There are a number of deceptive, bad-faith actors in this industry. They’re not putting the end user’s best interests first. All of us in this industry should be held to the same high standards so that consumers can be confident in the quality and safety of the products they’re purchasing.
Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.
You will not be able to bank like a normal business! We have had our accounts closed with 14-28 days notice on several occasions. The worst part is you just get a standard letter in the mail. Not certified or signature required. So, if you don’t open every piece of mail you would never know until it’s too late. They give no explanation and no leeway. And all of your banking records are no longer accessible on line.
Some people will attend meetings “high” from THC products. I never expected to be surrounded by intoxicated people during business meetings. It was something I had to deal with in the early years. You learn real quick who you can and cannot do business with.
Always have an NDA signed when presenting new ideas to outsiders!
Be ready to move quickly, this industry is constantly evolving.
Start each day with a deep breath, put on your roller skates and go!
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
At Green Roads we have always tried to maintain a family like culture. It has been challenging with the growth to even keep everybody’s name straight, but I try to learn a little bit about each employee and always have an open door policy.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
The truth is, we sell CBD because we’ve seen its power to support and help people. We would love to see more people find the healthiest version of themselves through the power of plants.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you only continued success!