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Interview, Part 1: Larry Scheffler, Co-CEO Of Cannabis Superstore Planet 13

December 7, 2021

Known for its cannabis superstore concept, Las Vegas-based Planet 13 is a vertically integrated cannabis company with an established presence and high growth ambitions in multiple markets.

In addition to its existing superstores in Las Vegas and Orange County, California, the company has licenses in Illinois and Florida and is planning stores in both states. Planet 13’s sales increased 45% year-on-year to $33 million in the three months through September, with adjusted EBITDA registering $3.6 million. SND Cannabis Edition executive editor Daniel Marsteller recently spoke with co-CEO Larry Scheffler to hear more about the rapidly expanding business.

SND: How are business conditions at Planet 13’s retail locations currently? How has in-store traffic been trending?

Scheffler: We’ve been increasing every month. In August we had 100,000 people through the Las Vegas store. We jumped up to 126,000 in September, and in October we surpassed 130,000. They keep saying Vegas is holding back at about 75% of normal. I think it’s been increasing over the last couple weeks, finally getting up to more full potential. Conventions are still down, but that will increase after Christmas, which will increase our traffic even more.

SND: Planet 13 has made a splash with its superstore concept. What made that the right approach for your company?

Scheffler: In Las Vegas, everybody wants to be entertained. It’s our job to figure out how to entertain them. We provide what we think will be entertaining and a pleasant atmosphere with a lot to do, a lot to see, and stimulate all their senses. There are a lot of interactive elements. People see that we encourage video and pictures, and they’re advertising for us, showing the success of our model and getting the word out as they travel to Las Vegas. In addition to the superstores, we’ll also have neighborhood stores in certain cities that are more like 2,500-3,000 square feet, but still a very high-end shopping arena.

SND: What product categories are the main drivers at Planet 13 currently? Are any specific brands emerging as consumer favorites?

Scheffler: Flower is about 65% of sales. It used to be more 50/50 between consumables and flower, because earlier on people used more edibles to be discreet on the Strip. But now flower seems to be going up more, maybe because they’re being a little more lenient and understanding on the Strip than when recreational first got started out here. Drinks are doing a lot more than they were previously. We started out with sparkling water. It sold okay, but many felt that it left too much of an aftertaste. So about a month ago we started selling infused drinks in soft drink flavors like cola, root beer, lemon-lime, and so on. They’re delicious and we’re selling them at a rate of 10 to one versus the sparkling water.

SND: How much of Planet 13’s sales are its own products, and how much is other brands?

Scheffler: Right now we can only do about 25% of our own product. For the rest we have about 50 vendors—the max we’ll ever do as we keep increasing our grow capacity down here. We’re adding on another 25,000 square feet of grow space starting in January, which take us to about 75,000 square feet of cultivation. We’ll never go over 50% of our own product on the floor. The floor of course is so big, and people want variation and different choices. I also think that a lot of the vendors we deal with are learning how much it helps to promote their products through our stores.

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