Colorado Harvest Company, a cannabis business with three dispensaries, has hired Laurie Bosch as director of retail sales, the company said in a press release on Friday. Bosch has 25 years of experience in retail management, much of it in specialty apparel.
Most recently, Bosch was district director for 16 Eddie Bauer stores in Colorado and New Mexico, where she led 60 managers and more than 200 employees. She was also previously the Denver district manager for Williams-Sonoma, and she has held several management positions with J. Crew.
Bosch is tasked with "creating exciting and differentiated shopping experiences for cannabis enthusiasts in Colorado," according to a company press release. She has already hired several managers and budtenders, and she has rearranged the traffic flow of stores to include a welcoming entry of organized product displays that highlight a "super clean presentation" of products, according to the release.
Cannabis retail in Colorado is burgeoning. As of Dec. 1, the state has 505 licensed retail marijuana stores, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue. Through October this year, the state has collected more than $205 million in marijuana tax revenue, up from $67 million in 2014; tax revenues have steadily increased each year, the department said.
Colorado Harvest Company obtained two of Denver’s original 12 licenses to sell cannabis for recreational use, and was the first to commission an independent economic impact study of its business, the company also said.
As the cannabis market grows, retail and store management expertise is becoming increasingly important. Companies like Colorado Harvest Company are beginning to turn to traditional retailers to seek talent. "We handle upwards of 200,000 sales annually, so we’re at the point we need an executive of Laurie’s caliber to continue this momentum," Tim Cullen, CEO of Colorado Harvest Company, said in a statement. "Dispensaries like ours must invest in executives who can drive marketing and operations to remain competitive. Hiring Ms. Bosch is not just a step, but a major stride forward, in our plans for growth."
Most of Bosch’s retail experience is in apparel and home goods, but all of it has been focused on stores. The company hopes her efforts to improve the company’s store operations will bolster double-digit growth in Colorado’s "quickly maturing and highly competitive cannabis industry," Cullen also said.
Bosch will hire and train employees in customer service, product knowledge and legal compliance, with the goal of creating a more rewarding work environment for employees, and, in turn, better shopping experiences for customers — something top of mind for all retailers these days.