Exclusive Interview with Grön Chocolate Founder and CEO Christine Smith
Grön Chocolate was launched in Oregon by former architect Christine Smith. Since its inception, the company has grown to be a leading edibles brand in the state. Grön CEO Smith spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about her company’s position in Oregon, its ambitions to be a national player and product innovation and branding. The audio of the entire conversation is available at the end of this written summary
The Team at Grön
Smith spent nearly two decades of her career working as an architect. When legalization began to move forward in the state around 2014, she saw a gap in the market. She didn’t necessarily intend for cannabis to be a long-term path, but Grön has found success in the Oregon market.
Smith and Grön COO Jenna Rice
As CEO, Smith has leaned into the creative side of the business, using her skills to focus on branding. The Grön team includes other important members like CMO and Vice President of Brand Nick Wichman, Vice President of Sales and Chief Strategy/Sales Officer Samuel Soong, COO Jenna Rice and Chief Expansion Officer Draper Bender.
The company currently has about 100 team members, 70 of which are located in Oregon. Smith expects the team to grow to at least 150 team members by the end of next year, possibly reaching 200 members by that time.
Success in Oregon
Oregon has approximately 550 retailers, and Grön self-distributes to more than 400 of those locations, according to Smith. The company has two manufacturing facilities in the state: one focused on its THC products and a second focused on CBD. The CBD facility also houses Grön’s headquarters, warehouse space and