Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My co-founder Larry Scheffler and I have always been serial entrepreneurs, but in this case, it was by chance that we learned about the burgeoning Nevada cannabis industry at a public hearing I was attending. At the time, I didn’t realize Nevada voters had approved cannabis in the year 2000 and took 13 years for things to get rolling in our state. When I heard this being discussed at a public hearing I spoke with Larry and we decided this was a once in a lifetime opportunity – on the scale of the end of prohibition for alcohol or legalized gambling in Nevada. We decided that we would give it a go, and we would go big and stand out. With that conversation the idea for Planet 13, the world’s largest cannabis SuperStore and entertainment complex, was born.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
In the early days while Planet 13 was under construction the CEO of another cannabis company, a great guy who I respect, toured through our facility. After the tour he said: Bob thanks for your tour but you’ve got more guts than brains, I just don’t get your vision of trying to tie tourism to cannabis, but good luck to you. He has since congratulated us on our success and told me that was a bad call.
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?
You definitely learn a lot of tough lessons in this industry. What I learnt, and my advice for those who are considering this business is you need to make a 100% absolute commitment to have any chance of success. A few years ago, a lot of people were getting involved in the cannabis industry thinking that money would just fall from the sky. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This business is so complex and difficult that it needs an all-in commitment.
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?
My fantastic co-founding business partner Larry Scheffler. He is exceptionally talented in many areas – we would not be here now without him. We have worked together for 25 years in various ventures and we have played off each other’s strengths to make Planet 13 a success. We are just getting started. We are very excited about expanding our SuperStore model into California and beyond in the future.
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?
For us it has always been about doing things bigger and better than anyone could imagine. As my co-founding partner Larry likes to say “we are going to out-Vegas Vegas”. By that he means go-big and bring in one-of-a-kind entertainment features that have never been seen in this type of business. Planet 13 has really become a must-see destination for visitors to Las Vegas. Our local customers are big fans of the Planet 13 experience and service as well.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
We have just announced the start of construction on our first California dispensary. Our Orange County Cannabis SuperStore Entertainment Complex, located at 3400 Warner Ave. in Santa Ana, is expected to be completed by the middle of this year. It is our first expansion outside of Nevada. The combination of our exhaustive design process, attention to detail, and deep focus on customer experience will make it a truly exceptional experiential space for California’s discerning cannabis consumers. Along with our construction commencement announcement we have released renderings of our California-inspired interior & exterior design that includes waves, surfboards and even a giant Kraken/Octopus.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
We are excited for meaningful reform at the federal level: banking legislation, decriminalization, and we look forward to a day when we can do interstate business.
Can you share your “3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Empower your employees. As a big company that keeps growing it is impossible for me to do everything. So a valuable lesson I learnt is to not try to micro-manage, it’s not possible to do everything. We put a premium on talent and we educate and empower our employees to take ownership and take leadership roles in their specialty areas.
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 Cannabis business is a great industry and it provides employees an opportunity to grow and succeed. We are most gratified when we have a hand in helping our young team members find their passion and build a successful career. We are also focused on being contributing members of our community. We have many programs to give back to local residents in need. From food and toy drives, to cooking and providing meals for those in our community who can use a hand-up during difficult times. We will continue to make this a priority.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!