For the team at WAGNERS, hearing their products are popping off never gets old.
Just two years ago, the company faced tribulations we wouldn’t wish upon any cannabis brand; mismanagement that led to bankruptcy.
People were scared, out of work, and felt defeated. WAGNERS Marketing Manager Ross Hendry explained how the brand was broken “from a cultivation, processing, and financial standpoint.”
It took time for the brand to piece its commercial activities and branding back together.
But after hiring the right people, skilled cannabis professionals who adore their craft, WAGNERS has evolved into a leading Canadian brand that’s flying off dispensary shelves.
For WAGNERS CEO Howard Steinberg, it’s all about the “who” rather than the “how.” The Kitchener, Ontario-based brand needed the right team in place to make its vision a reality.
The engine that drives WAGNERS forward is the dedicated team who doesn’t care about the fall but cares about getting back up.
Its story is rooted in the surrounding Tri-Cities area, where the team took a hard look at themselves to rework its entire process from the ground up.
Post bankruptcy and mismanagement, WAGNERS is now a customer-focused, community-conscious, and consumer-obsessed company that doesn’t beat around the bushes.
The no-bullshit company believes in growing well-made weed, putting it in the right bag, and selling it at the right price. It’s that simple.
WAGNERS currently has two state-of-the-art facilities, Manitou and Trillium in Kitchener.
Between the two, the company employs over 200 people, some of which were around for the company’s fall.
Fast forward to today, WAGNERS’ indoor grow facilities use a hybrid of hydroponics and specialized substrate soil feeding systems, all thanks to the dedicated team behind the scenes.
The facilities have also adopted a 10-14 day cure process alongside hang-dries. These details may seem minor to you, but the passionate people at WAGNERS take immense pride in their effort to fix the brand from bottom to top and position itself as a leading player in the Canadian market.
Now, you can find WAGNERS products at just about every dispensary across Canada. That is if they’re not sold out.
After finding the right, passionate people for the job, WAGNERS began developing strains that Canadian consumers now cherish.
Take its Dark Helmet strain, for example. This Indica-dominant hybrid was the saving grace for WAGNERS, the strain that pushed the company forward on its path to success.
Another fan favorite that put WAGNERS on the map was Cherry Jam. It was a Black Cherry Punch so delightful that it deserved its own name.
Packed with terpenes and frosty, white trichomes, it’s no wonder why Canadians are grabbing this strain any chance they get.
And what exactly does WAGNERS mean by “well-made weed”? All of its strains are aeroponically and indoor-grown under HPS lighting, then machine-trimmed and hand-groomed.
The result is beautiful, hand-finished, evenly milled whole flower that’s waiting for a spark.
Stay up to date with WAGNERS on its Instagram page for more information about future drops, like its highly-anticipated infused pre-rolls and large format flower coming this summer and fall.
You can also visit its website at wagnersweed.com.
Leading the Canadian market after mismanagement and bankruptcy is quite an impressive feat. What are the main differences between your past management team and your current one? What’s changed from a management perspective?
Today, management understands that decisions are team-based and involve members from every department to ensure that the best decisions are made and that the team is accountable for execution. Diversity of opinions is key to making this work.
Regarding management, our goal was for the various departments to act as one under a unified culture and communication based on transparency, openness, and trust, which takes time to build.
When we started restructuring the business wasn’t profitable and was hemorrhaging cash. The major issues were its grow system, the types of strains being produced and the previous senior leadership team didn’t appreciate their position in the sector and the resources required to create a successful cannabis company.
We went under creditor protection and used the time to address the company’s operational issues and figure out how to turn the business around.
Approximately 18 months after exiting creditor protection, our products have become some of the best sellers in OCS and across the country. Our products are now distributed coast to coast and even made their way into the Israeli market, where they sold out in weeks. We are now one of the leading premium brands in Canada and all of that is due to a refocus on our processes and finding the right team for the job.
If a renowned cannabis enthusiast like Snoop Dogg came across WAGNERS, which strain would you recommend to him and why?
That’s the beauty of WAGNERS, there’s something for everyone. Cherry Jam if you are chasing that Hybrid effect or sweet citrusy flavors as we get on our Blue Lime Pie. Snoop though? We know Snoop blazes 24/7 and we’ve heard he’s a fan of heavy indicas so he’d probably love Golden Ghost OG or Pink Bubba.
Golden Ghost OG is really special because of its beautiful light color and heavy effects. This trichome-covered, emerald green bud, has slight tinges of orange hairs and purple hues. A flavorful indica strain that brings fruit and citrus notes to the nose, allowing for a delicious and sweet smoke. We know Snoop would appreciate it, that dude doesn’t stop hustling.
How is WAGNERS a “community-conscious” brand? What impact have you had in Kitchener and the surrounding Tri-Cities area?
WAGNERS is a brand that is built from the inside out. It started with our people and inserting them and their shared beliefs and values into the heart of the brand. We employ over 200 people in the Tri-Cities area and they are our driving force.
Part of that is the give-back initiatives we run on an ongoing basis across the entire organization. The causes we support are chosen by the people that work in our facility. They’re part of the local community and nobody is better placed to make that call than them.
We just wrapped up a fundraiser we were doing for Ukraine through Save The Children. Our team raised $4,200 to provide winter kits with warm clothing, assistance to purchase food, psychosocial support, water & sanitation programs, and access to primary healthcare and education.
We’re also just starting our summer project with a local organization Send’em Off Smiling, where our departments will be filling backpacks for low-income students in our region.
As a company it’s important that we’re authentic with who we support and what we promote, we fly under the radar and give back to causes that are important to our people.
What has been the most rewarding part about reworking and developing WAGNERS from the ground up?
Nothing beats the feeling of being in a shop (as a consumer) and hearing someone ask for a WAGNERS product or a budtender recommend a WAGNERS strain. We’ve been getting so much positive feedback on our product and it really never gets old. Being able to give people good weed at a good price is important to us and seeing the way that people have embraced that is awesome.
In the bigger picture, working with the WAGNERS team every day. The talent in our group is incredible and it is a privilege to be building and supporting this brand together.
If WAGNERS could collaborate or partner with any celebrity cannabis advocate, who would you have in mind?
Anyone who loves our weed! Our weed is for people who appreciate hard work and we feel that budtenders and cannabis advocates are some of the hardest working people in our industry.
We’re not really a ‘celebrity’ sort of brand. Ultimately, we would like to get to a point where collaboration with budtenders, industry influencers, advocates and media is easy and beneficial for everyone.
People who are genuinely into weed and WAGNERS will always be our best advocates. There are so many great creators on social media that are ready for big partnerships once they’re viable in the legal space.