Before COVID-19 struck the U.S. in 2020, Napa Valley Fumé, a Lake County, Calif., outdoor cannabis cultivator and wholesale distributor with a growing portfolio of brands, hosted events such as an annual harvest-time, fully catered “garden party” for the company’s employees and their family members.
Fumé co-founder and CEO Eric Sklar recalls receiving kind words from employees’ family members at the second garden party in 2019. “I can’t count the number of people who came up to me who don’t work for us but who said, ‘My’—fill in the blank—‘brother,’ ‘son,’ ‘husband’—‘has never worked in a place as great as this, in terms of the culture and the way everybody treats each other,’” Sklar says.
The company’s get-togethers illustrate its leadership’s commitment to providing a familial atmosphere of its own. Pre-COVID-19, Fumé opened tabs and held open mics at a local bar, where Chief Operating Officer Elissa Hambrecht once sang The Beatles’ “Rocky Raccoon.”
“I think everybody got a kick that I’m not a great singer, but I got up there and did it after a little bit of liquid courage,” says Hambrecht, who oversees human resources in her role. “Our driver for our distribution company—he is a professional musician—he plays covers, he plays jazz, he plays rock-and-roll—he absolutely was my accompaniment on ‘Rocky Raccoon.’”
The camaraderie on display at these events exemplifies Fumé leadership’s close relationship with its employees, an extension of the care the company provides in daily operations. The top-ranking company on Cannabis Business Times’ 2021 list of Best Cannabis Companies to Work For – Cultivation offers several perquisites, including healthcare benefits after 90 days, job postings that are circulated within the company before they’re advertised externally, and ensuring employees maintain a healthy work-life balance.
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