While many cannabis businesses have suffered layoffs and decreases in business as a result of the pandemic, Shango Cannabis has held steady on employment and is adding staff at its flagship dispensary in Las Vegas.
Since Nevada’s indoor shopping restrictions were lifted, the vertically-integrated grower, manufacturer, dispensary owner and delivery service has maintained or shown solid growth in hiring during these difficult times.
Operating in Nevada, Michigan, Oregon, California, Arizona and soon in Missouri, Shango has demonstrated stability throughout the marketplace. Its employee turnover rate remains under three percent, which represents extremely high retention for a fledgling industry.
“We have become a formidable cannabis industry employer and will continue adding more employees at our various locations, regardless of what the rest of the country is able to accomplish,” said Shango Founder and CEO Brandon Rexroad.
Shango now holds 26 cannabis-related licenses and employs 150 people across four states. Additional hires are expected with the opening of Shango’s California distribution hub and its expansions in Michigan in 2020, and Missouri in 2021.
Shango Las Vegas, one of the biggest cannabis operators in the state, includes a dispensary, an extraction and edibles division, and one of the largest cultivation facilities in Nevada.
“Our employees were eager to get back to work when others took advantage of being on unemployment,” Shango Controller Julie Dubocq said. “After we reopened, we brought back existing staff that were furloughed and even had to hire additional employees throughout the Las Vegas facility in July. ”
Dubocq is pleased with the loyalty and longevity of Shango employees throughout the organization.
“We have an exceptionally low turnover rate,” Dubocq said. “Although we had to scale back for six weeks, we never had anybody who didn’t want to come back to work,” Dubocq said.
Due to the statewide shutdown, Shango Las Vegas had to close its retail space to in-store shoppers for more than six weeks and had to lay off a handful of employees while only deliveries and curbside pickups were allowed. Now that the dispensary is fully operational at 50 percent occupancy, all employees who had been laid off have been rehired, and even more employees have been added to the payroll.
Cannabis is considered an essential business in all of Shango’s operating state markets, supplying medical patients and recreational users with the appropriate strains clients need in these challenging times. All Shango retail stores continue to operate with indoor shopping, in-store pickup, delivery and curbside pickup. They have been recognized for conducting business safely.
Despite the challenges faced by other dispensaries, Shango has kept pace with product demand from its own dispensary, as well as from the numerus other Nevada dispensaries and manufacturers Shango supplies.
In Arizona, Shango operates a new cultivation facility in partnership with True Harvest Co. The employees at the site are considered True Harvest employees as part of a joint operating agreement.
In Michigan, Shango recently opened a medical marijuana provisioning center in Lapeer and will be opening a full recreational provisioning center in Bay City next month. That facility will add 15 to 20 full-time and part-time jobs to Shango’s employment rolls.
Bay City Manager Matt Kowalski says the impact of Shango on the community will be significant.
“Opening our provisioning center will mean a lot for jobs that have longevity in the area,” Kowalski says. “The people in this community wanted to be part of the cannabis industry when others opted out. I didn’t realize everyone would get so excited. Our largest employer here has less than 1,000 people, so we could eventually become one of the top ten employers in Bay City. We already are the largest licensed grower in the state with seven 1,500-plant licenses.”
Since March 2020, Shango’s premier location in Moreno Valley, California, has kept its doors open, welcoming more than 350 customers each day during the pandemic. It continues to follow all safety protocols while adding new staff.
“Moreno Valley is doing exceptionally well,” Dubocq said. “We have seen a steady increase since our opening in March.”
Shango also provides delivery service in the Inland Empire area.
“Delivery in California has tremendous potential for Shango,” Rexroad said. “It’s proving to be a safe and very popular option.”
In Oregon, the Shango Portland dispensary, located near the heart of the city, is small, but business is very strong thanks to an extremely loyal customer base.
“Some of our Portland employees have been there since we opened six years ago,” Dubocq said.
Next up for Shango is a major expansion into the new Missouri market, as well as adding a large cultivation and recreational provisioning center in Hazel Park, Michigan. The facility borders the city of Detroit where there are no provisioning centers.
“Our goal is to add more licenses in numerous states and generate steady growth,” Rexroad said. “Despite the challenges our economy faces, Shango will only continue to grow in the years to come.”