LivWell, one of America’s largest marijuana businesses, just got a lot bigger.
On Tuesday, LivWell Enlightened Health opened a brand new pot shop in Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood — making it the fourth LivWell store opening in as many weeks.
In the last month, LivWell opened the new Stapleton shop and debuted three newly rebranded shops as LivWell locations — two former iVita Wellness stores at 1660 Pearl St. and 3980 Franklin St. in Denver and Peaceful Herbs’ former storefront at 124 Santa Fe Trail in southern Colorado hamlet Trinidad.
iVita’s Highlands location at 2209 W. 32nd Ave. was not affected by LivWell’s acquisition of the group’s two other stores.
LivWell owner John Lord credited much of his company’s expansion to his staff.
“I believe that if you’re not going forward, you’re going backwards,” Lord told The Cannabist. “So the company’s in good heart. We have a really, really good core of senior staff who are committed to grow the company. It’s great to be able to harness that energy in further acquisition.
“It’s in keeping with LivWell’s plans to spread itself around the state as opposed to concentrating here in Denver. We’re trying to push out and get pretty evenly distributed around the state. We had been, up until fairly recently, concentrated here (in Denver). We have further acquisitions in the pipe that will show a bigger spread around Colorado.”
LivWell is taking on around 100 employees from the former iVita shops and their 22,000-square-foot cultivation and 11 former Peaceful Herbs employees. They’ll all have access to LivWell’s standard 401(k) with employer contribution, paid vacation and full-paid healthcare, benefits Lord said weren’t offered by their previous employers.
LivWell now has 562 employees, and press materials for the company’s new Stapleton store say LivWell “is currently hiring up to 90 new employees for positions across its retail and production operations, as well as corporate positions.”
“What I believe we’ll continue to see here is further consolidation in the industry, and it will not be driven by competition — it will be driven by compliance,” said Lord. “What we’re seeing in the acquisition market currently are exhausted owners. You’ve got mom-and-pop shop-type set-ups trying to run the gamut of compliance, and there’s simply not the bandwidth within the company to do that. So further consolidation in the industry is compliance-driven and not necessarily competition-driven.”
LivWell isn’t stopping at Colorado’s border, either.
“We recently formed LivWell Oregon,” Lord said, “and we have one store under contract in Oregon at the moment, with hopefully more to follow. We’ll make an announcement in the next month or so. We are looking.”