We discuss Phase-II at Planet 13 along with his recent Santa Ana expansion
As the founder of Las Vegas Color Graphics, the largest privately-owned commercial printing company in Nevada, Planet 13 Holdings Co-Founder and Co-CEO Larry Scheffler knows that it takes to scale and expand. His political and real estate expertise has also helped contribute to Planet 13’s success. Having served as a commissioner on 6 major commissions in Southern Nevada government, as well as a councilman for the city of Henderson, Mr. Scheffler has proven himself a staple in the Las Vegas region for 48 years.
We sat down with Mr. Scheffler to discuss the recent Phase-II expansion at their flagship store in Las Vegas, as well as their new superstore location set to open later this year in Santa Ana California.
MRR: Larry, wonderful to be able to talk to you today. You and your partner, Robert Groesbeck, are in phase-two now at your flagship location in Las Vegas. Can you talk a little bit about the expansion and what the process was for designing out all of the new space?
Larry Scheffler: Of course! Well to start designed and created an entertainment complex for Las Vegas. We had 112,000 square-foot building and we needed to utilize all of it. We can’t put it all in a dispensary. The more of a destination we create, the more enthusiasm and the draw it is for the tourist. That is what’s bringing them to our dispensary. and that’s the ultimate goal. That’s why we did a thirty square foot customer facing experience with our production facility where you can watch chocolates and gummy squares as well as our drinks being made. Behind that there’s another 12,000 square-feet or so of production facility where we do the extraction behind the scenes. Everything we do is to create a destination to bring as many of the 55 million tourists coming to town, into Planet 13. We’ve even got robotic arms that are helping load the machine that do our drinks. Once an hour they will pull swords and get into a sword fight with each other. The loser cracks a bottle of beer and pours the winner a drink. Everything is done to create a video moment where they can put it on Facebook, Twitter and all social media. They literally advertise for us since all cannabis is a little bit crippled in the advertising market right now and it seems to be working very, very well for us that way.
MRR: Planet M is the high-end CBD retail experience within the Planet 13 superstore in Las Vegas. Considering that CBD is now federally legal, are you considering possibly rolling that out as a stand alone concept?
Larry Scheffler: No, not as a stand alone. It’ll always be the superstore that we’re going to build out. It will always be half merchandise and half CBD because we’ve got all the merchandise that says Planet 13 Las Vegas. As you know, all tourists, as long as you have the word Las Vegas, will bring home a souvenir from where they were. It always plays a big part into our advertising and carrying our name throughout the world because of all the tourists coming to town.
MRR: Your pizza bistro, Rickety Cricket Cafe, is originally a chain based out of Arizona. What was the courting process like for trying to find the right pizza partner for Planet 13.
Larry Scheffler: We went through about five different groups. Once we saw Rickety Cricket, and we really got lucky on Rickety Cricket…. When we were looking to do our drinks, our processes, he actually had the same machine and they sent us down there to see him. Once we met him, and tasted his food, we were just sold immediately. The good part about him is that he’s a specialist in that food. He’s taken second place in the world competition for pizza in Vegas two years in a row. A couple of months ago he went to Atlanta for the pasta competition for the world. He took second place in the world for pasta. He’s a savant in his own right in the dough category.
MRR: Pivoting to your coffee side, Purc Coffee Shop, that is your own brand correct?
Larry Scheffler: That is correct. We tried to create something different even with our coffee shop. With the two greenhouse ceilings within the big cavity, the ceiling looks like you’re looking through a greenhouse with the sunlight coming in. Everything we do, we try to go over the top. We wanted it really different than any place you’ve been before. We’re very, very happy with the way it came out and the theme we’ve got with it. We’re going to try to replicate things like that in all the different cities we go to. We’ll never be in seventy locations like some people that have two thousand square feet in seventy different locations. We’ll be in ten to fifteen locations in the largest cities throughout the United States and we’ll build a superstore in every location.
MRR: I know one part of the expansion you were looking forward to was the social use lounge aspect of Planet 13. AB 533 prevented Las Vegas from doing the licensing for at least two years. With Las Vegas is so tourist prevalent are you still hopeful for licensing on social use as soon as that is available in 2021?
Larry Scheffler: Yes. We’ve got about a year and a half left before the two year study period is up. We’ve literally reserved twenty thousand square feet, for about five thousand square feet of consumption, with a fifteen thousand square foot club rivaling the ones on the strip. That will stay reserved until we get through the year and a half waiting period. I literally think Santa Ana will beat Las Vegas for allowing a consumption lounge. We’ve met with the city already. They’re pro consumption lounge. We’re moving forward right now on trying to get those rules and regulations in place. We’ll probably have a consumption lounge in Santa Ana before we have one in Las Vegas, but we’re full steam ahead to have one in Las Vegas and it will rival anything in town when we get done.
MRR: Tell us a little bit about the Santa Ana project.
Larry Scheffler: There are about fifty million visitors coming to Southern California, and so our hope is to create a destination superstore there. In the San Diego basin alone there’s nineteen million. Also, Santa Ana is in the middle of Orange County. Thirty four cities in Orange County and only one allows dispensaries. There’s four million people around Orange County and there’s only 30 licenses and i’m happy to say we have one of those. We’ll replicate the experiential destination concept that we did in Las Vegas, but we’ll want to blend into the fabric of the community of Santa Ana, incorporate the beach community, the LA scene and so on. By really encapsulating what the culture of Southern California is, the shop will be a must see for both the tourists and the locals alike. Everything from the largest dispensary in California, to another cafe or bistro, a production area, and a consumption lounge. The existing building, freestanding, the one we’re taking over, is forty thousand square feet. It’s a U-shaped building. We can add fifteen thousand square feet for an atrium. It will be about thirty feet in height and we can have palm trees and living plants. That will give us a total of fifty-five thousand square feet with one hundred twenty-five parking spaces. Crazy part? We found out it’s kinda hard to get parking. We looked at a hundred sites and it was so hard to find something that works. Fifty-five parking spaces will be just for employees. The location is on a six lane road that is four miles from South Coast Plaza, six and a half miles from Disneyland, and three and a half miles from the most famous beaches in California. We’re just so happy with the site.
MRR: When we last talked you mentioned Planet 13 expanding beyond your Las Vegas location with destinations from Boston to California. With the first location going to Santa Ana is there a possibility of an East Coast expansion in in 2020 or 2021?
Larry Scheffler: We think there is. We’re looking at about four different sites in four different states. They’re all recreational. and they’re all exciting. Some we’re putting in applications for ourselves. Other ones we’re looking at doing joint ventures with a person that already has a license. Each one we want to be the largest in that state and we still want it to be an experience. Each of them, oddly enough, are fantastic locations. It depends on whether we get the license that we’re applying for and how it works with joint ventures with the other two. It all looks very positive. We’re working hard on getting them done and I think we’ll have another one here by 2021 besides Santa Ana and, if I can make it happen, 5 states within five years and all of them destination superstores.
To read our interview with Co-CEO and Co-Founder Robert Groesbeck, please CLICK HERE.