Women to Watch 2021 – Kim Rivers

Kim Rivers Trulieve CEO

As CEO of one of the largest cannabis companies in the country, Kim Rivers could measure the success of Trulieve by any number of metrics: more than 90 retail stores open, second-most among U.S. multi-state operators; more than $400 million in total revenue for the first six months of 2021; a market cap of roughly $5 billion; more than 7,000 employees; and net income of $40.9 million for Q2 of 2021, among other impressive statistics.

But Rivers chooses to look at the company’s customer loyalty metric of 75% as the most important milestone as Trulieve continues to strengthen its dominance in the Florida market, while expanding its presence nationally.

“Our goal is to create long-lasting and authentic relationships with our customers,” she says. “And so that’s certainly something that we’re extremely focused on, and we’re extremely proud of because that shows it’s not just about having a single transaction, it’s really developing that relationship.”

Trulieve took a vastly different approach to growth compared to most other multi-state operators, focusing almost exclusively on the Florida market in its early stages before venturing into other states.

As of August 12, Trulieve had 88 dispensaries open in Florida, more than the next two companies combined. Trulieve also dominates the flower market, accounting for 50% of all smokable marijuana sold to patients in the state, roughly 38,000 ounces a week.

And for several reasons, Florida was an ideal market to prove the concept and launch a national brand. Not only is Florida the third-largest state, with 21 million residents, but it’s often used as a test market for franchises in other industries, Rivers says, because of its diverse cultural and socioeconomic demographics.

“If we can create true connectivity and a true brand in a state like Florida, we felt like we had a fairly good shot of understanding those differences from a customer preference perspective and then be able to take those lessons and apply those to other markets.”

The approach appears to be working exactly as planned. In addition to Florida, Trulieve now has operations in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and is one of just six companies to receive a medical marijuana production license in Georgia. And the company’s national presence is expected to take another leap forward in the coming months, with its much-anticipated acquisition of Arizona-based Harvest Health & Recreation. Trulieve announced the $2.1 billion acquisition in May and has already cleared several hurdles toward finalizing the blockbuster deal, which will give Trulieve a footprint in 11 U.S. states.

Harvest was a particularly attractive target because it is a market leader in Arizona, while also having a substantial presence in Pennsylvania and Florida.

“I’m one that definitely subscribes to the philosophy that you prepare and you plan and you prepare and you plan, and then you execute lightning fast,” Rivers says of her company’s rapid expansion into new markets. “And we’re at that pivot point right now, which is a really exciting time for Trulieve.”

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