Even behind the face mask, you can tell that Chad Hallmark is smiling. As the General Manager of Sol Flower’s Tempe location, Chad makes it his daily mission to ensure everyone – from employees to vendors and especially patients – is happy. Pulling that off requires a lot of patience and passion, and Chad has both to spare. That’s the result of nearly 30 years of experience with cannabis and an unrelenting drive to be part of the growing industry in Arizona.
We recently dished with Chad on everything from cannabis startups, letting your nose be your guide, and what it’s like to metaphorically jump ship. If you haven’t had the fortune of meeting Chad in person yet, this conversation is the perfect introduction.
What’s the magic behind getting your employees to work at peak capacity while also making sure they enjoy the day to day?
We try to create a really interactive environment that encourages people to be here and be at their best. On a personal level, my job is to make sure I’m there for my advocates as a peer who they can relate to, and who cares about their lives outside the workspace. It’s about the little things like asking them how their days off were or knowing their interests that keeps people happy and engaged.
What are the most important qualities you look for when bringing in new patient advocates?
It’s their personality and their outlook toward the industry. Knowledge is part of it, but that can always grow along the way. We’ve hired advocates with zero cannabis experience who were just more driven and passionate, and they’re now some of our top performers. So really it’s about bringing in people who are high energy, eager, and see an opportunity for themselves within the industry. Those are the best people to work with and they improve the experience for our patients through their attitude alone.
Speaking of passion, when did you realize you were interested in the cannabis industry?
Well let’s just say I’ve been in the so-called “industry” going on 30 years now. Not always in the same manner we’re able to do business today…but I’ve been passionate for a long time. It started when my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer years ago, and I realized I needed to legitimize my passion and do something well in this industry to help her out.
How did you start your journey in the Arizona cannabis industry?
I was in construction for most of my working career. When the legal market came about and more dispensaries opened up, I knew that’s where my calling was. Back then it was definitely more about who you knew than what you knew, and unfortunately I didn’t know many people. But I had that drive, and I was knocking on doors every day for two years. I said I’d clean toilets and mop floors if I had to. Thankfully I got my first budtender gig in 2014, and 6 months later I was an Assistant General Manager.
How did you land at Sol Flower?
My first experience with a cannabis startup was with what’s now called Curaleaf. I hired the team, built the structure and outlined the procedures there, then left and did the same thing again. Small startup life was good, but as I looked around the state of the industry I realized I was on a life raft in the middle of a huge ocean, and there were cruise ships passing by making lots of waves. I could either stay on and capsize or I could get on one of those ocean liners and have smooth sailing. And that was Copperstate and Sol Flower. Seven months later, here I am as General Manager in Tempe.
I’m a connoisseur of high end flower. To me, flower just has the most benefits and gives me the flavors I want, effects I desire, and the best overall brand experience.
Favorite way to consume?
Depends on what I need. For a quick snap of THC, I have my water bong lying around. If I’m having a casual and social night with my wife, then rolling up a joint and mellowing out is the way to go.
Favorite terp profiles?
I like to let my nose decide on a day to day basis. Some days it will be caryophyllene, other days I’m drawn to a more fruity profile. I’m really across the board.