3 Key Takeaways From the GrowUp Conference and Expo

3 Key Takeaways From the GrowUp Conference and Expo

I knew this was an exciting time for our industry in Canada. But, I didn’t know how exciting it was until I stood in a room with so many likeminded cannabis businesses.

Earlier this fall, we were fortunate enough to take part in The GrowUp Conference and Expo in Niagara Falls and what a great experience it was! We got to talk shop all day and it really gave us a sense of where the industry is at right now, and where it is heading.

Here are the 3 key trends I noticed.

1. A Very Mature Crowd

Everybody and their dog seems to be rushing to cash in on the cannabis market. You’re seeing a lot of start-ups being led by someone who was doing something in a completely different industry 12 months ago.

But, I was pleased to see a much more mature crowd at this show. The crowd was mainly owners and facility managers looking to help solve problems and/or issues with their existing facilities.

Of course, there were some new people that are just getting into the business, looking for ideas for their upcoming facilities and it was great to speak with them.

It was a lot less, what you would consider, a retail environment for cannabis, and more of a business-to-business environment for cannabis.

2. A Big Focus on Building Materials

A lot of my conversations were centered around the quality of building materials and ease of maintenance of those building materials.

People wanted to know:

  • How easy is it to clean down a room after you’re done a crop or if you have an outbreak?
  • How easy is it to sanitize the room?
  • What are the ongoing energy costs for an HVAC system?

Those were my major touchpoints when talking to people, because most of them already had a facility and were looking to expand or add on.

So, I definitely had a lot of conversations centered around the quality of materials and the ease of cleaning, and how quickly you can turn around the room if needed.

3. The Pricing Race to the Bottom Continues

Unfortunately, Health Canada’s rules have most people not thinking about the long term ongoing costs of running a facility. They’re really, really interested in, “How much is this going to cost me to get this built ASAP? Because I have to get Health Canada to come and inspect it.” It’s a bit of tunnel vision.

So, right now, there’s a real big scramble to the bottom for pricing to get these facilities built and then licensed.

Outside of the event, I’ve had more than a couple of prospects ask me to give them my “Absolute bottom, bottom price.” Just the bare minimum to get the ticket from Health Canada. And then they say, “Oh yeah once we get the license, then we get the funding. Then, we retrofit it or we build it correctly at that point.”

That’s not how we do things.

We like to be in on the ground floor. We like to be able to help guide you through all the pitfalls and issues that Health Canada has with these types of facilities. And really hold your hand and help you get validated at the other side.

We’ve got 35+ years in the pharmaceutical space, building these facilities for pharmaceutical companies. We know the pitfalls that come with it. We know that the cannabis industry is being pushed closer and closer to the pharmaceutical industry by Health Canada, so we already know what the inspectors are looking for.

So, a lot of the conversations we had at the event were like the ones we have every day. We like to help people look to the future, instead of just getting built and certified today.

Want to Know More?

Grow Optimum, one of our mottos is, “Know your grow.” We know the grow. We can build you the facility so you can know your own grow.
We’re backed by a team with over 35 years of building this stuff, designing and building everything from cannabis facilities to pharmaceutical-grade laboratories.

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