How do you take the fragmented cannabis retail supply business and consolidate it to provide both commercial and home-growers with everything they want under one roof?
Here to help us answer that is Michael Salaman, president and co-founder of GrowGeneration.
Learn more at https://growgeneration.com
[00:50] An inside look at GrowGeneration, the nation’s largest chain of specialty hydroponic and organic garden centers
[1:33] Michael’s background and how he got into the cannabis space
[6:48] How GrowGeneration decides which states and cities to place their grow stores
[15:10] The difference in purchasing patterns between average customers and MSOs (multi-state operators)
[20:13] How GrowGeneration has created a resilient supply chain that can withstand market disruptions
[26:26] The fastest-evolving product categories at GrowGeneration and why Michael believes they’re gaining traction
[32:24] How former Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli has helped GrowGeneration as a strategic advisor
[34:48] What cannabis banking could mean for the industry over the next few years
Matthew Kind: Hi, I'm Matt Kind. Every Monday, I look for a fresh new episode where I'll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at cannainsider.com. That's C-A-N-N-A insider dot com. Now, here's your program. How do you take the fragmented cannabis retail supply business and consolidate it to provide both commercial and home growers with everything they want under one roof?
Michael Salaman, co-founder of GrowGeneration is going to help us answer that question today. Michael, welcome to CannaInsider.
Michael Salaman: Thank you, Matt. Glad to be here.
Matt: Give us a sense of geography, where are you sitting today?
Michael: Actually in my home office in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania.
Matt: What is GrowGeneration on a high level?
Michael: GrowGeneration at a high level is the largest chain of hydroponic garden centers in the United States. Founded in 2014 with a vision to really professionalize and aggregate the existing fragmentation of the hydroponic retail operations that have existed for many, many years. Professionalize and create a national chain, a national brand, a national supply chain to take advantage of what is occurring today, which is the cannabis legalization and the GreenWave that we're seeing here state by state.
Matt: Michael, can you share a little bit about your background and journey and how you got into the cannabis space and co-founded GrowGeneration?
Michael: I'm a serial entrepreneur. I've been in multiple startups with a brand marketing background and a retail background, product development, venture capital, and really saw back in 2014 the fragmentation of the hydroponic space. Everything was hydro this, hydro that. There was no national chain, no national supply chain that we saw, and no national brand. We believed back, my partner Darren Lampert, and I felt that we could professionalize, organize, and design and develop a national chain that didn't exist.
There was several local and regional change that were out there, but nothing on a national scale. We believe very early on in legalization, we saw what was happening in Colorado. We started the business in Colorado with a four-store chain that we acquired the summer of 2014. They were doing a million dollars of business that year, and we've been growing ever since.
We learned the business, really immersing ourselves in the stores, meeting customers, meeting the product owners, and really getting to a deep understanding of how this marketplace was structured, and where we can bring value, and where we could start to nationalize it. That's what we've done. You fast forward today, we have 50 locations in 11 states, well over $200 million of business trailing in 2020 with tremendous trajectory in 2021, and more states coming on, more acquisitions that the company is executing on. We're just really excited about where we're going.
Matt: Do you remember the exact moment of ignition? You mentioned your co-founder Darren, where you said, "Okay, we've been talking about it, now, we're actually doing it." Do you remember that exact catalyst, what you were doing, where you were?
Michael: Great question. [chuckles] First, we said, "You know what, cannabis is going to legalize, how do we participate?" Darren's an NCC attorney, I've been involved in multiple public companies. We always wanted to do it in a public format, and we realized very early on that we couldn't touch the plant. That led us down the path of the picks and the shovels.
Doing some research, we landed on some articles and some information online about the hydroponic retail space. What we really figured out very early on back in 2013, 2014, is that it's completely fragmented, but there's thousands of these stores in every state that are servicing different types of growers. We felt at that moment in time that we could raise some capital, and really prove out the concept. The concept was, from day one to build the largest chain of hydroponic garden centers in the country. We stayed true to that mission from the minute that we made our first acquisition, which we found in Pueblo, Colorado was a four-store chain that we bought in that summer of 2014.
From there, we said, "How do we get into a multichain environment?" We had to go to another state, so we did our next transactions some more in Colorado, but then we went to California, and we extended into Washington and Nevada, and the rest of the states that we're in today. We're very focused on the ancillary side of the marketplace related to what we saw as the emerging cannabis marketplace. That's how we set our mind, we came up with the name GrowGeneration from the old Pepsi generation commercials, where we believed that a society that we're in today, we're going to be a bunch of growers.
Whether you're growing cannabis at home or you're growing tomatoes, or you're growing, commercially hydroponically vertical farming, environmental control, growing indoors.
We realized very early on in the development of GrowGeneration that there was a paradigm shift. There was this green wave at a very core cultural level within the United States. We felt that we could take advantage of that, and we named the company GrowGeneration because we saw this generation of growers that have been really weaned on whole foods and eating organic.
Certainly now, being part of the cannabis paradigm legalization process, that we felt that we could build a great company and leverage the emerging growth across all these different types of vertical markets that were all geared around growing. That's what we did.
Matt: I'm really fascinated in the process of where to locate the stores. I remember years back, someone educated me on how McDonald's picks its locations of where to put their restaurants and then Burger King doesn't do any of the research and just says, "We're locating near McDonald's." Then Whole Foods does research, and then Trader Joe's just says, "We're going to locate in your Whole Foods."
I was like, "I don't know which strategy is more genius, those both are pretty clever." You know that there's a lot of research, there's data you try to absorb, but at the end of the day, where you pick, there's some luck to it, how do you go about that process? Because arguably after you decided you want to be in this business, that might be what, the second or third biggest decision you make.
Michael: Yes, there's a couple of things that we look at and you got to remember, GrowGeneration is growing through an M&A strategy and a greenfield strategy. A big part of the growth is coming from existing stores, the best of breed. These are locations that have been servicing cultivators for many, many years in great locations, where the growers are with longstanding relationships, and we're buying and aggregating and rolling those companies up.
You see, we just made an acquisition of the longest standing four-store chain in Southern California, San Diego Hydroponics, which we acquired a couple of weeks ago. We're looking at those types of opportunities where there's an established base of business and a customer base. In addition, we do greenfield and we did that in the emerging markets like Michigan and Oklahoma.
We're certainly looking at other States that have just legalized, New Jersey, in particular, Mississippi, and Montana, ultimately, New York, Pennsylvania, where we are waiting to see how the license process is being deployed and where those licenses are going to be position on a County by County basis. Our strategy is really to invest in the local communities to be where the growers are, and whether it's a large MSO or in a lot of cases, we're seeing these new laws, which are going to be focused on social equality and craft licensing and micro-businesses, which is great for GrowGenerations business, we want to be where they are.
We want to be just in time and we want to invest locally, not just from a staffing perspective, but in terms of knowledge and education and demonstration and new products and technologies, and all the things that we do as a corporation, as a company, we want to bring that to the local community. We just got involved with Whole Foods. We want to give back. Whole Foods has a wonderful charity called Whole Cities which is a foundation just about opening up urban gardens in local markets. We just helped to finance something in Newark New Jersey, we're doing that on a nationwide basis.
We're always looking at ways where we're not just coming in and we're not just a selling organization. We want to be a knowledge base, a creative local, immersed where the communities of growers are and really provide value to them where they can come in and can learn from our cultivators that have many many years of experience. Growing plants is not that easy, particularly at a commercial level when you start talking about thousands of plants, vertical gardens, indoor environments, return on investment. A lot of these, certainly, these are commercial operations.
There's a lot at stake and GrowGen is the company to turn to provide end-to-end solutions, cost-efficient models, LED lighting, a big part of the movement in the marketplace today. Everyone is looking for ways to create automation, energy-efficient ways to grow and GrowGen certainly is studying and bringing those kinds of products and investing in those products to bring to our customer base.
Matt: Give us a sense of what the stores are like and how big they are, can you just take one in your mind and say, "Hey, if you walked in, this is what you'd see and this is how big it would feel."
Michael: Yes. The ideal store right now, they've gotten bigger. We've found that the best footprint for us is between 20,000 to 30,000 square feet. High ceilings because we triple palate stack our products. We have a front counter which is our will call cash counter for customers that are transacting coming into the stores and then we have a warehouse for pick pack and shipping and fulfillment and delivery. That acts more of a pro service, a business to business operation. We're able to really leverage a 30,000 square foot facility, open it up to the public whether you're a hobbyist or a commercial grower, you're coming in. You're able to shop and buy from multiple millions of dollars of product.
All departmentalized. Your lighting, your nutrients, your environmental controls, your additives, your medium, your soils, all of that is stocked within the four walls. Also, a lot of commercial customers want us to dropship. We have an online business that's very robust. We have a commercial division that's more of a white-glove customer service division that allows us to drop ship and manage the multistate operators, the single state operators at a little bit more of a higher level, more customer service, credit. We offer financing for those types of customers and that's a pick pack and ship.
We're able to build a [unintelligible 00:13:04] logistics and fulfillment model where we can take a location, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Grand Rapids, we're building out Miami right now, we're building out LA, we're building out in Phoenix where you're going to see these sturdy 50,000 in some cases size super hydroponic garden centers that act in these multifunctional manners that creates tremendous efficiencies for the company. That's the new model, it's a buy online pick up model. It's a pick pack and ship model, it's a direct to the cultivator enterprise model.
It's also a model that opens up the four walls so that there's education and training and products that anyone who wants to come in can see and talk to a Growpro, a professional. GrowGeneration is now made up of over 500 employees of which 450 of the 500 are really agronomous and professional growers that have tremendous knowledge and expertise. We see that as the specialization. What separates us from everybody else is the fact that we understand how the plant grows. You have an integrated pest management issue, you have a canopy issue, you have a lighting issue.
You're not getting the yields that you want, you can come to a GrowGeneration location and we will have answers and solutions for you. We will give you the right formulation to fix any problem that you have and to give you a solution whether you're growing 100 plants or 1,000 plants or 10,000 plants, we can service any size and give you exactly the type of product for that particular environment. We're very customizable and we personalize these solutions for these growers and that's why customers are coming to us and coming back to us time over time.
Matt: MSOs or multistate operators are customers viewers and you also have your typical customer, actually I say typical but kind of like a hobbyist or a home grower. How do their purchasing behaviors differ? I imagine just the cart size is very different but apart from that, how do they consume differently?
Michael: The sizes are much different, it's much more of a sophisticated sale. It's two-fold, you have their buildouts. We're helping the large MSOs build out their facilities as they get license, they're building out CapEx, benching, lighting, irrigation, [unintelligible [00:15:53]. We help provide environmental control systems designed. GrowGen is providing all of those products and services in addition to the consumable side which is what the client is consuming on a recurring basis, which is about 60%, 65% of the overall business comes from the consumables.
It's really a combination of size, scale, and also the kinds of automation, environmental control products that are really geared more towards the commercial grower. They're not buying quartz in gallons, they're buying 55 gallons. It's a different type of sale, they're also looking for a business-to-business relationship. They want credit, we'll do some financing, particularly for the large MSOs, we'll finance their CapEx. It's a different kind of relationship than a typical hobbyist or a smaller crop grower that's coming in and buying product for a smaller grow.
We've created and we really have a lot of pride in the way that we handled the MSOs. We realized very early on that the MSOs have to be treated differently, they're not a retailer, they're not a small operation. They need to be treated with a dedicated team approach. Dedicated account managers, dedicated customer service reps, dedicated quotas, where we're quoting our product, consolidated financial statements. These multistate operators have multiple locations.
They want to know at the end of the month, how much did I buy from Grow 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. We can do that from an accounting department, we consolidate that bill, we drop ship. We provide, we think we're a very integral part to their overall supply chain that becomes very important to them. We provide all of those value add services. We're constantly looking at product, ways to improve their grows at a commercial level. How do we further their return on investment? How do we create efficiencies? Everyone is moving now to LED lights so there's a big transformation because they're just more efficient.
That means the design of the facilities are going to go more vertical versus horizontal, more vertical farming versus horizontal farming which is creating tremendous demand for benching and airflow and environmental control systems, data. We're looking at a company right now that's one of the foremost experts in the collection of data. We're getting much more intelligent. Artificial intelligence, we're learning through this technology platform and we're looking at it from a potential acquisition where when this gets installed into a grow, there's sensors at every level.
Humidity, the nutrient uptakes, the pH levels, the lights, how everything is being operated and that system is getting intelligence every minute. That intelligence is going into a central repository that has an AI and an advanced learning capability. That's the kind of technology, that's the kind of creativeness that GrowGen wants to provide to these large commercial growers. You're seeing much more standardization and also cost controls, inefficiencies. We believe we have solutions that are unique and proprietary to what we have designed.
One of the unique parts of GrowGen, we're in 11 states, we see it all. We see what's happening in California, in Michigan and in Nevada and Colorado, and Washington. We see what's happening across thousands of commercial growth. We have tremendous insight to what's working, what's not working. We certainly, see it from the product side and we pass that knowledge on to our customers.
Matt: Most listeners have heard of the supply chains, they know what that means vaguely, but with COVID-19, a lot of supply chains were disrupted. I know I tried to purchase a car at three different times during COVID-19, the order got canceled. Eventually, it got through, but I just never experienced anything like that before. When you think about creating a resilient supply chain, one that can handle shocks, how do you think about that?
Michael: Well, the way you have to think about it's control. What GrowGen has built is 50 locations that are fulfillment centers. They're open to the public, we get 30,000 people a week, but they're fulfillment centers. I can drop inventory into any one of those locations. Those locations are where the growers are. In addition, we're building out these super hydroponic hubs that are, 30, 50, 60,000 square feet, that allows us to land our private label containers.
We have the resources and the capital to get ahead of, and we did that in 2020 with COVID. We got ahead of the curve, we saw the issues that were coming. We see it with the ports and the lock jam, we get ahead of it. We're predictable. We understand our inventory, we understand our customers, what they're buying. We're able to get ahead of that, because of the fact that we're well-capitalized, we have close to $160, $170 million of cash in the bank with no debt.
We can really manage a national supply chain, a just-in-time supply chain, that allows us the control to never be out of stock. [coughs] That's really the secret. The secret is, getting ahead, having the right inventory, having enough of the right inventory. Look, we're not perfect, we certainly are working through some supply chain issues, but really, we've been really good at getting ahead of soil and lighting and things that are coming from overseas and being fully stocked and having the ability to control the customer.
One of the things, we're not a wholesaler. When you really dissect GrowGen, we're an acquire of customers and a curator of the relationship with those customers that allows us to really have a deep-rooted relationship with that customer. We know exactly what they are buying, we know exactly what they're rebuying, the recurring nutrients and additive side of their business. We get involved as I mentioned in their expansion plans. We have the ability to really stock what our customers need and be just in time with the 50 locations. Ultimately, we'll have seven distribution hubs, the super hydroponic operations across the country, geographically that really creates a national supply chain. In our opinion, is the best, because of the way that we build it. Where the growers are in the local markets that are tied to our spokes, which is our sales and marketing. Building that out on a national level, then tying together our marketing and our bio line and our pickup and our Instagram to constantly drive more traffic into the store, onto our online business, and through our commercial division. I think that's why you're seeing such growth and such success coming to GrowGen.
Matt: What about white label brands? You mentioned you're an acquire of customers. Do you see that as a way to acquire more customers? Can you talk about white label there?
Michael: Brands, brands, brands, very, very important. Brands, but not brands for brand's sake, brands that are disruptive, brands that are what the growers are looking for. We just picked up a company called PowerSi. It's a mono-silicic acid product that the growers want. One of the great parts about GrowGen, we see what is being bought at the cultivation level. We have a little bit of a competitive advantage to everyone else's, we see what the growers are buying.
We see the trends, we see the products that are being bought, and those are products that we want to bring under the umbrella of GrowGen. We're looking at disruptive, proven technology and products that we can acquire and put them under a private label or GrowGeneration, owned and operated portfolio brands, as well as developing product internally. We just recently brought in ION light to be competitive in the LED lighting business. That's a light that's very cost-efficient.
We're seeing just tremendous uptake to that particular brand. We're able to source product from really everywhere around the world and because we have all these brands. Actually, in 2019, we bought a portfolio of trademarks from a company called BWGS, and we're now populating those trademarks with product, bulbs and soils and nutrients and water pumps and all kinds of different, fans. All those kinds of really accessory type products that there's really no brand allegiance that we can pick up margin.
More importantly, control the supply chain, control the inventory and make sure that we're always in stock, make sure that our customers, when they come to a GrowGen location, they have all the products that they need complete and all the time.
Matt: Now, I'm sure there's a lot of different product categories you keep abreast of, but is there any in particular that you're just shocked by how much it's changing or evolving on a monthly or quarterly basis?
Michael: From a product perspective?
Michael: It's interesting, the LEDs I tell you, you think about LED lighting from a couple of years ago, it was a very nascent small market. We did some real business in the first two months and we're bringing in plenty more and we saw all the leading brands, Gavita, and Fluence. All the leading LED products that are out there, we saw them all. We're seeing tremendous uptake. What it's telling me is that you have a regulatory environment that is really defining on a state-by-state basis, and you also have a return on investment.
If you can save, 20%, 30% in your energy costs, think about that over time, what does that really mean to a cultivator? The cost of the LED lights have come down dramatically. Think of it like the big-screen TVs, you were paying $5,000 for a big-screen TV several years ago. Today you can buy a big screen TV for $500. Same thing is happening in the LED lights, two years ago, you're paying 1500, today, we're in the market right now with our LED lights, in the $700, $800 range. The pricing has come down, making it much more assessable, the return on investment, the energy savings.
All the utility companies are giving rebates to incentify the cultivators that to go into LED lights because it's just energy efficient. I would say that's probably one of the really big categories that have emerged in 2021. You're seeing, a movement to vertical farming. I think that's probably the other big one, where you're seeing more cubic square feet versus square feet in terms of the way the growth. I think that's the way that all future grows. Then lastly, the environmental controls, having the intelligence, having the data is where all these MSOs are going.
They want to control all the inputs that control all the outputs so that they have a predictable yield and that's getting very sophisticated. GrowGen is absolutely participating in all these areas, whether it's through partnerships or through acquisitions that we're looking at, we have solutions for all those different categories that I just mentioned.
Matt: Michael, you have no debt on your balance sheet, do you think a little bit of debt might be a good thing to see if interest rates are so low like they are right now? They’re rising a little bit, but they're still pretty low historically.
Michael: My partner and I, and I think the board of directors, we like the fact that we have no debt. We raised capital at $30 a share recently, stocks trading much higher. We've institutionalized the business with some of the largest institutional investors that now have bought, I think we have 50- 60% institutional ownership, which is tremendous. A year ago, we had 5%. We have a tremendous following at the institutional level. Again, for us, debt is certainly available to us. I wouldn't say that we would never do a debt deal but we've been very creative relative to these private placement deals that we've been able to do with our banking relationships and doing them at tremendous appreciation from the previous round.
We've kind of been moving the ball. As we continue to execute and take the capital, we raised over $200 million last year, that capital is being deployed. The one thing I can tell you about GrowGen, we don't sit on capital. We're a transactional company, we're very focused on utilization and return on capital and putting that capital to use. Our investors gave us the capital to put it to use, and we're buying the best of breed hydroponic operators. We're buying the best-of-breed product companies that are out there and we're growing. We see just tremendous growth as we've demonstrated year over year, we're fiscally very disciplined, quarter over quarter year over year, head down, we have a mission.
That mission we're still in the early innings, we're only in 11, states. There's plenty more states to go. We're only in 500 locations. There's plenty of locations that this company will open, and acquire. We feel that we're so early in this development of this new market. Our development even though we've been at it this is going to be really our seventh full year, it's still very early in what's happening in this economy, that's going to be bigger than beer, wine. Certainly, we feel that we're going to be the leader on the supply side chain.
Matt: I see that Bob Nardelli, former Home Depot CEO is a strategic advisor to GrowGeneration. Can you tell us a bit about how his retail experience has helped you?
Michael: Bob is such a wonderful addition to the board of advisors. We met Bob a couple of years ago and we spoke to Bob. Darren and I had a lunch. We were telling him about things that we're doing earpiece systems, opening stores, and how do we work together omnichannel, and all the things that Bob did, when he grew Home Depot. Certainly his career at GE and Chrysler, and now one of the top CEO voices, regular on CNBC and Fox Business. He's been a tremendous sounding board, a guy with his experience, it's hard to replicate and our access to him and the ability to just bounce ideas.
Darren and I talked to him on a regular basis, just to get his thoughts, just to get his advisement has been just a tremendous help. I think what he got attracted to, is that he saw some similarities with Home Depot. When he was running it, and growing it at a rate similar to what GrowGen. We're growing 100%, 150% year over year. He was a little faster in terms of he was opening up a store every day at Home Depot. We're opening up probably 20 or so 25 a year, but we're on a similar trajectory and a similar path, in the way that we're operating the business with a retail business, a specialty, a pro service part of the business with their pro servicing, and certainly combining it with the online.
I think Bob saw a lot of synergies, and he felt that with his experience, the years that he spent at Home Depot, that he could bring value to GrowGen. He jumped all in and it's been just a great sounding board for us to really have access to him, and he's just a wonderful human being as well.
Matt: Well, since you're in the picks and shovels, business, as you mentioned, you can have a bank account and accept credit cards and so forth but there's a lot of your customers that can't still. Do you think when we get some federal legislation passed that will allow for banking of cannabis cultivators, for them to accept credit cards and that type of thing? How much do you think that will pick up just the velocity of transactions in the cannabis ecosystem?
Michael: Oh, I just think it's going to be tremendous the access when the banks figure it out, and the government figures it out, you have say Banking Act, and you have federal legalization at some point. The amount of capital that's going to come into this industry is going to be unprecedented. That's just going to get the MSOs, and the single state operators, the cultivators, the vertically integrated companies just access the capital. It's going to make it easier for them to transact getting rid of [unintelligible 00:35:47] makes no sense can't operate a business that way.
All these things are really upon us. It's going to make it easier for GrowGen to interface with these guys. It's going to be more business-to-business. I think it's really coming within the next year, maybe even sooner under the Biden administration, who certainly has vocally been very pro-Cannabis, and moving forward, these initiatives to just make business easier, paying taxes. The governments of the states where are they going to pay for the COVID bill? They have to legalize. That's the only area that I can see where they can generate revenue.
That's why you're going to see more and more of these states come on board. That has to be interrelated with a federal policy that allows for tax dollars to be banked at a basic level. Banks need to be uncapped so that they can start getting deposits, and operate without the overhang of the federal roles so that this business can continue to grow. Look, they've done a pretty good job working on a state-by-state basis, dealing with credit unions, but it's certainly not efficient. I think that is going to change in the very near future.
Matt: Michael, I'd like to move to a few personal development questions now. Is there a book that's had a big impact on your life or way of thinking that you'd like to share?
Michael: I read a lot of the industry publications. A lot of times I read any real books, but I read a tremendous amount of industry-related magazines and newsletters. My consumption of content really is coming primarily from our industry and studying where the industry is going. I read some of the books related to Salesforce came out. He came out with an interesting book never compromise in the middle. There's some interesting business-to-business folks that have been out there. Things that are motivational books that we share with the staff, particularly my commercial division they're pretty active in self-improvement.
Certainly, we cultivate a culture of self-improvement. We cultivate a culture of self-empowerment. You're running your store, you're running your gardens, you are the president, you are an owner of GrowGeneration and that's a respect. You need to bring your own personal work ethic. I think our team works harder than anybody else in this industry. The dedication, that they have had during COVID is second to none. We reward our staff with very competitive salaries and 401k plans and stock options, and ownership in a publicly held company,.
That's the culture that we want to pontificate that we want to encourage as we continue to build. I believe the largest moat against competition is the staff. We have 500 people. We'll have 1000 over the next several years, of which the majority of them come from the cannabis space. They've been growers. They've been in a homegrown market. They've been migrated and they have moved up the chain to a license market. They're in a professional environment with GrowGen. Those are the kind of people that you can't find on LinkedIn.
They have a passion for the cannabis plant and growing in general. We've been able to bring together not only the best to breed companies, but the best to breed people that have had years of experience in the hydroponic space. Bringing them together with one voice, one vision, one team, that's why GrowGen is winning. We're going to keep doing it. We're going to continue building through this best-of-breed strategy. You're going to see a thousand growers under the umbrella of GrowGen that's very hard to duplicate.
Matt: Here's a Peter Thiel question for you. What's one thought you have that most people would disagree with you on?
Michael: [laughs] That's a good question. That is an interesting question. What would they-
Matt: Let's look at it this way? You're at a dinner table with 10 of your friends and you're like, "I really believe in what I'm going to say, but I know six or seven of the people are going to disagree with me fervently.
Michael: They don't believe in growth. I can tell you guys are shocked. Sitting at the dinner table or sitting at dinner, no one ever anticipated and I pitched myself too. We have a multi-billion dollar company, our sales are growing over 100% year over year. We did almost 200 million this year, last year. No one would have ever have guessed that this company could be of that size and it's just starting. I think what I see is that the market has underestimated GrowGen's ability to integrate, GrowGen's ability to acquire from a transactional perspective, and also the size.
When we look at what's happening whether it was driven by COVID or just the fact that there's more dispensaries, more consumption, I think these markets are maturing and opening up. I think the markets are growing at a much greater rate than people ever anticipated. That's a wonderful utter and facilitator of the picks and shovels side of the business, which is fueling GrowGeneration of business. I think no one would have guessed or believed that this company could be on a path to a billion dollars. If I talked to them a year ago, "What are you crazy?" We're on a path and we're going to be there in the next couple of years. No one really would have anticipated that.
Matt: Michael, as we close, can you tell listeners how they can find GrowGeneration's stock ticker, or actually what the stock ticker is and how to find GrowGeneration online to find out where the stores are, et cetera.
Michael: The stores firstname.lastname@example.org. We list all of the addresses, phone numbers, store hours. We also have e-commerce sites so you can actually transact and see the products on that site. We also have all of our investor relations information located in all of our press releases, stock quotes. The stock symbol is G-R-W-G. We trade on the NASDAQ stock exchange, which was a wonderful experience back in December of 2019. We were up-listed to that stock exchange and one of the few ancillary companies to actually achieve that goal of being a NASDAQ listed company.
That was a milestone because it fueled the institutions to come in, the capital to come in and that certainly gave the company the ability to continue to execute its plan. Being listed on NASDAQ was a milestone event for the company. Those are the two areas growgeneration.com, the stock is traded under the symbol GRWG.
Matt: Well Michael, thanks so much for coming on the show, we really appreciate it. Congratulations on the success so far, I am really anxious to see how far you can hit this ball out of the park. How big you can grow this thing.
Michael: Well Matt, I think we're unstoppable. It's all about focus, staying in your lane, doing what we do, and continue to execute. I think you're going to see just tremendous results quarter over quarter, year over year. I thank you for the kind words, and I appreciate the time you spent with us today.
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