Strategic Corporate Realignment Reduces Overhead Expenses By Over 15 Percent and Positions Vertically Integrated Cannabis Franchisor and Operator For Efficiency and Future Profitability
PHOENIX, Dec. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Item 9 Labs Corp. (OTCQX: INLB) ("the "Company")—a vertically integrated cannabis dispensary franchisor and operator that produces premium, award-winning products—announced today its efforts to streamline operations and consolidate employee duties. This has led to several strategic team appointments as the Company prepares to integrate with the approaching transformational acquisition of Sessions Cannabis ("Sessions"), one of Canada's largest cannabis retail franchisors.
In an effort to streamline operations in its path to profitability, Item 9 Labs Corp. has worked diligently to reduce operating expenses, while increasing gross margin on its Item 9 Labs branded products. With a goal of efficient profit creation and shareholder value, the Company has consolidated employee headcount by 20 percent, which reduces many redundancies and better positions the Company to become profitable while maintaining scalability. Further, in concert with the personnel shifts, the Company has implemented other cost-saving measures designed to reduce total overhead expenses by over 15 percent.
Last week, Item 9 Labs Corp. announced leadership changes with the appointment of its Chief Franchise Officer, Mike Weinberger, to Chief Executive Officer. His promotion and these key internal team shifts are expected to steward the Company's future rapid expansion as it prepares to enter an international market with its pending acquisition.
"We believe the Sessions acquisition has the potential to be a true game changer for Item 9 Labs Corp.," Weinberger said. "Not only does it significantly increase our retail footprint and bring us into a new country, but we will be able to continue rapidly growing our store count because we now have the right people in the right seats."
He continued, "Our team leads below are the reason we have reached where we are today. Most can count their years in cannabis and franchising on two hands, and several have been with our Item 9 Labs and Unity Rd. brands from the start. They have done a phenomenal job lifting others up and pushing us along our growth plan."
Company promotions include:
Mark Busch, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development: One of the first hires on the Unity Rd. brand, Busch joined in 2018, pre-dating Item 9 Labs Corp.'s acquisition of Unity Rd.'s franchisor, OCG Inc. in 2021. He is responsible for overseeing merger and acquisition strategy and activities. He has led the team through acquisitions of multiple dispensaries and most recently, has been spearheading the Company's approaching acquisition of Sessions.
Cory Carter, Senior Vice President of Cultivation: Carter joined OCG Inc. in 2019 and took over all Item 9 Labs Corp. cultivation operations upon acquisition close. He is lead on all production, manufacturing and packaging of the Company's award-winning Item 9 Labs cannabis products, including managing a team of 50-plus and aiding in the continued development of the Company's cultivation and lab site in Coolidge, Ariz.
Jayne Levy, Senior Vice President of Communications: Levy has been with Unity Rd. since the cannabis franchise's inception in 2018. She plays an integral role in the Company with a hand in all facets of communications – spearheading internal and corporate communications, investor relations, public relations and beyond.
Tracy Timko, Vice President of Franchise Operations: Timko ensures each Unity Rd. shop is set up for success throughout every operational step of the dispensary opening process and beyond. She joined the Company in 2021 and is one of the key links between the Unity Rd. dispensary franchise and its franchisees.
Haley Henley, Vice President of Human Resources: Henley has been with Item 9 Labs Corp. since 2018. She leads the hiring and recruiting efforts for all areas of the Company – including at the headquarter level, cultivation and for the corporate-owned Unity Rd. stores. In her role, Henley also oversees employee benefits, payroll, onboarding and offboarding, among other areas.
Jojo Frey, Vice President of Marketing: Frey joined Item 9 Labs Corp. in 2021 as Director of Digital Marketing and is an invaluable asset to the marketing team. In this new leadership role, she will oversee the team while leading the product and retail marketing efforts for the Company's Item 9 Labs and Unity Rd. brands. The marketing team additionally saw the promotion of Nico Buchanan to Brand Marketing Manager, supporting Frey by overseeing brand elements and leading creative development.
Eric Eisele, Lab Director: Eisele has been with the Company from the beginning, in 2017. He oversees the extraction processes, product development and quality control – ensuring the Item 9 Labs brand continues to consistently develop and provide consumers high-quality, trusted cannabis products.
Michael Willis, Director of Sales: Willis joined Item 9 Labs Corp. in 2018 and manages the direct sales, pricing and promotions for the Item 9 Labs brand. As he transitions to his new role, he will continue to analyze the brand's sales strategies, processes and data – all while creating valuable relationships with dispensary partners and leading the sales team.
For more information about Item 9 Labs Corp. and its brands, visit item9labscorp.com.
ABOUT ITEM 9 LABS CORP.
Item 9 Labs Corp. (OTCQX: INLB) is a vertically integrated cannabis operator and dispensary franchisor delivering premium products from its large-scale cultivation and production facilities in the United States. The award-winning Item 9 Labs brand specializes in best-in-class products and user experience across several cannabis categories. The company also offers a unique dispensary franchise model through the national Unity Rd. retail brand. Easing barriers to entry, the franchise provides an opportunity for both new and existing dispensary owners to leverage the knowledge, resources and ongoing support needed to thrive in their state compliantly and successfully. Item 9 Labs brings the best industry practices to markets nationwide through distinctive retail experience, cultivation capabilities and product innovation. The veteran management team combines a diverse skill set with deep experience in the cannabis sector, franchising and the capital markets to lead a new generation of public cannabis companies that provide transparency, consistency and well-being. Headquartered in Arizona, the company is currently expanding its operations space up to 640,000-plus square feet on its 50-acre site, one of the largest properties in Arizona zoned to grow and cultivate flower. For additional information, visit item9labscorp.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, risks and effects of legal and administrative proceedings and governmental regulation, especially in a foreign country, future financial and operational results, competition, general economic conditions, proposed transactions that are not legally binding obligations of the company and the ability to manage and continue growth. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual outcomes may vary materially from those indicated. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements we make in this news release include the introduction of new technology, market conditions and those set forth in reports or documents we file from time to time with the SEC. We undertake no obligation to revise or update such statements to reflect current events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
Item 9 Labs Corp.
Jayne Levy, SVP of Communications
Item 9 Labs Corp.
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