Joe: On this episode of the "CBD University Podcast," you've heard Seeing is Believing from our team. Now, hear from those who have gotten a first-hand look at our 100,000 square feet of manufacturing and distribution space. They've met the team behind the premium hemp-derived CBD products from Hemp Bombs, Nature's Script and Pure Paws Hemp. This is the "CBD University Podcast" and it starts right now.
I'm Joe Agostinelli, the host of the "CBD University Podcast." And if you are a returning listener, I thank you once again for tuning in and if you are a new listener, we are glad you found us on your favorite podcast platform of choice. If you have not yet done so, we invite you to subscribe on your favorite podcast app and you'll get notifications when new episodes are published each week. Well, back in October we announced our Seeing Is Believing Campaign, which gives wholesalers, distributors, and retailers the opportunity to come visit our Tampa, Florida-based manufacturing and distribution facilities and get a first-hand look at the processes, people and products here at Global Widget that we offer. And my guests on this episode had been a part of the first two graduating classes, if you will, of our CBD University Seeing Is Believing seminars. And first up, is the Merchandising and Procurement Manager for Yesway, Alan Adato. First, Alan, thanks for coming out to our Tampa. It's a little bit of a journey for you.
Alan: It has been, but it's been a great journey being here. Thank you, Joe, for having me. I appreciate it.
Joe: Yeah. And thanks for taking time out of your busy day to join me on this episode. And first, for those folks who may not be familiar, a little bit about Yesway, the background about the company, locations, where you guys are?
Alan: Yeah. So, we are Yesway Convenience Stores and it is a convenience store chain that consists of 421 stores. And so, we are growing by leaps and bounds. We actually recently announced an acquisition of Allsup's Convenience Stores which are based in Clovis, New Mexico. And so, we have stores from South Dakota all the way down to Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
Joe: Oh, that's great. Nice, good reaching. And is it all under the Yesway name or are there different names at the stores you're under, or how are people familiar with the name?
Alan: Yes. So, currently, we are under two names, Yesway as well as Allsup's. And we just recently closed on the Allsup's acquisition. So, in time, we'll have to decide as to where the name goes but for right now, we have both Yesway and Allsup's.
Joe: Great. Great to hear. Congratulations on the acquisition.
Alan: Thank you.
Joe: The journey into CBD, what led, you know, the company to carry in CBD products and how do you identify whether it's CBD or another product? How do you identify different products to carry in your stores? And does it vary from state to state with all of locations you guys have?
Alan: Yeah. Great question. Well, as you can imagine with all the states that we are located in we have to be very strategic as to where we merchandise CBD. So, some of the factors that go into decisions is what's going out there, what's happening in the C-store Environment today? What are some of the examples that are taking place with other retailers in this particular category? And we noticed that it's becoming an evolving category. So, we wanted to take the opportunity and to begin merchandising products where we felt it made sense. We wanted to make sure that we were merchandising CBD products in states that were friendly to CBD. And currently, we have four states in which we merchandise CBD product Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas. So, roughly 40 stores in our portfolio currently merchandise CBD.
Joe: And what have you learned about CBD products from offering them in your stores?
Alan: Yeah. Well, I tell you, it's been a great learning experience. I think since we started this venture roughly two months ago, when we first introduced CBD products into those stores, we weren't quite sure what to expect. And in time over the past two months or so, we've been very excited about the results in what we're seeing, the results of our associates as well as our customers. They'd been very excited in seeing this product enter some of our stores. And so, we've been just really excited about the results that we've been seeing thus far.
Joe: And the feedback from customers so far in those states where you offer the products?
Alan: Yeah. The feedback has been very good. Of the states that we do currently stock the product in they've been very responsive and I think these past several years there's been a lot of misperceptions about CBD and over the years with the help of the internet and understanding what the product is about, people are doing more research on it. We as a company, we're also educating ourselves about the product from the scientific level all the way to the best way to merchandise it. So, it's been a learning experience for all of us involved.
Joe: And talking about learning and education, those are the things behind our Seeing Is Believing seminars which you were a part of back in December. As part of that seminar, your thoughts on what you saw during your visit to Global Widget?
Alan: Yeah. Well, I would say within 24 hours I learned a great deal and a lot of the discussion this morning in the panel discussion. There were four individuals each, in my mind, I saw them as four different pillars of the CBD category, one being compliance, one being legal, one being scientific, and one being marketing. So, really from start to finish, we were able to really understand and discuss, you know, these are the different things we need to understand when getting into a category such as CBD.
Joe: And the final question here, and I know you are taking some time here in Tampa for the weekend before heading back to Des Moines. But what advice would you share for others who maybe have not yet ventured into that CBD journey yet, but are thinking of?
Alan: Yeah. I would say first and foremost, educate yourself. Understand what CBD is all about, not just about the scientific aspect, molecule to molecule, but also the different types of products that are available to, let's say the retailer. We have worked with a vendor, our CBD vendor partner, Betterment Retail Solutions to help us kind of walk us through this maze of information helping us understand what are the different products, what is available, the quality of the product, the authenticity of each product, all of those different things, we just took the time to really understand all the different aspects of CBD. And with that, we came up with a merchandising plan and so far we've been really happy with those results. So, I would just say first and foremost, learn and educate. Attend the CBD University if you're able, really ask as many questions as you can and I think with those types of resources you'll be able to really, you know, make it a very successful category.
Joe: Well, Alan, I wanna thank you for your time here today and safe travels back.
Alan: Thank you, Joe.
Joe: We've had a great time catching up with you and hopefully get to do it again sometime soon.
Alan: Likewise. Good to speaking with you.
Joe: Once again, that was Alan Adato of Yesway. He is, as I mentioned earlier, part of the team there, the Merchandising and Procurement Manager. I thank Alan for taking his time on this episode of the "CBD University Podcast." This is Matt Caudill of Beach Oil, who is...if you can hear the background noise, we are doing this during our recent CBD University seminars that we had here on-site at Global Widget. So, that's the background noise. And man, I appreciate you taking time before your flight back to Nashville, I understand, to joining us for this podcast episode.
Matt: No problem. Thanks for having me.
Joe: So, talk a little bit about Beach Oil, where you guys are located, locations, all that good stuff.
Matt: So, we're a family-owned business located in Clarksville, Tennessee about 40 miles Northwest of Nashville. We have 18 convenience stores between Tennessee and Kentucky. And we've been around for actually 100 years this year. This is the 100th year.
Joe: Oh, congratulations on the 100th anniversary. You guys doing anything big to celebrate this year?
Matt: Not really anything out of the ordinary.
Joe: Awesome. A hundred years, well, congratulations and send our congrats to everybody back at Beach Oil on that. What led you to partner with us to offer premium hemp-derived CBD products?
Matt: A number of factors. I guess when we decided to get into that market, we looked at a number of providers. Ease of distribution was probably the first aspect we looked at and we were already receiving some products from a distributor that is carrying the products. And then being able to partner with someone in a price point that we felt was comfortable for the convenience market.
Joe: And when incorporating, you know, new products into your inventory, I mean, there's so many products out there on the market today. What do you look for in new products and how was Global Widget able to fill those requirements?
Matt: So, the first thing we look at is can we make money selling it? The second thing is do the customers that come into our stores want those products? So, we have to turn. So, there's volume targets that we look at. And then the third was for us was the branding or packaging that kind of matched our approach.
Joe: How do the brands of CBD that you carry fit into your image?
Matt: So, the packaging that we looked at and chose was Nature's Script and the clean branding and packaging just fits what we're trying to do and it matches our stores and our approach and all those things.
Joe: That's great. And so, you were a part of the CBD University seminar where we're welcoming our distribution and retail partners on-site. What did you think?
Matt: So, the morning was spent around education and discussion and I thought it was outstanding. I had a pretty good understanding and knowledge about CBD, but it did take that to the next level and then opening up and being honest and providing feedback both ways. What could you all do for us, and what can we do to help that whole process. So, it was an incredibly great way to spend the day.
Joe: Well, I wanna thank you for taking time out of your busy day and I know you got a flight to catch, so thank you for taking time to appear on our podcast and hopefully we'll get to catch up again sometime.
Matt: Great. Thanks for having me.
Joe: And I want to thank both Matt Caudill of Beach Oil and Alan Adato, who you heard earlier in the episode, he is from Yesway. I want to thank them both for taking their time to appear in this episode of the "CBD University Podcast." If you are a distributor, retailer in the wholesale space and would like more information about our CBD University Seeing Is Believing seminars and to sign-up for a future one in 2020, I invite you to visit our website at www.globalwidget.com and you'll see the Visit our Facility banner right there in the middle. And I do invite you, if you have not done so already, to subscribe to our podcast, the "CBD University Podcast" on your favorite podcast app of choice. We are on a number of them, including the Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, and look for more podcast platforms coming soon, including iHeartRadio in January of 2020. For now, I am Joe Agostinelli, the host of the "CBD University Podcast." Thanks for listening.