When owner Evan Kajander first opened Apogee Gardens in 2017, the cannabis industry looked very different than it does today.
While working with Exxon in the oil industry, Kajander came to Montana for a large project. While there, he realized that he wanted to get into a business that he believed in. “Part of that also was getting into something that has decent margins going into the future,” Cody Hall with Apogee Gardens said.
Back then, the name of the game for cannabis in Montana was medical. This fits well with Kajander’s firm belief that cannabis is a medicine, but when recreational use was legalized in 2022, things ramped up for Apogee Gardens.
“We definitely saw a decline in our medical sales, and I think part of that is because people had to have a medical license to be able to buy cannabis at the time, but now they don’t,” Hall said.
With demand for its high-quality products skyrocketing, Apogee had to increase production without breaking the bank on labor costs. These factors would influence Kajander’s decision to introduce STM Canna machines into the company’s one tray workflow for pre-rolls.
Before purchasing an Atomic Closer and Mini-RocketBox in Dec. 2022, Apogee was either hand-packing cones purchased through STM Canna or using “styrofoam counter pounders.”
Apogee Gardens – Production Numbers
With these methods, Apogee Garden’s team produced roughly 300-700 closed joints per day. This wasn’t good enough in the new recreational cannabis environment.
“The margins for joints are good for anybody, but specifically for us here in Montana,” Hall said. “Having those sort of ‘lower-priced, higher-volume items is always a good push. We ran out of joints at each of our locations, hundreds at a time, and they would run out in a couple of days. We’re just now at the point where we have a little bit of backstock.”
With the connection to STM already established through cone sales and seeing the Atomic Closer in action at MJBizCon in Las Vegas, Kajander knew STM was the right choice to revolutionize the company’s pre-roll automation process.
Utilizing the patented one-tray workflow, Hall said output has now risen to roughly 4,500 closed joints in a day, with the record being 7,200 in one day.
“That’s the benefit of having these machines,” he said. “It’s helping us keep up with demand.”
With a manufacturing hub in Bozeman and dispensaries in Victor, Butte, Livingston, and Bozeman, Apogee Gardens has had plenty of time to get familiar with the STM equipment and work with its responsive customer service department.
Amazing Support from STM Canna Reps
“We had Kenn come out from the STM team – awesome guy,” Hall said. “He gave us all the support we needed, he was easy to get a hold of, and he gets back to us right away if he’s not immediately available. He’s given such in-depth training. The guys running those machines now know everything about them.”
Not only does the Apogee Gardens team have great things to say about the STM machines, but its patrons have also been pleased with the quality of the joints they are purchasing.
“We have great feedback from the customers, too,” Hall said. “It’s rare that they get a joint that’s not completely correct.”
Overall, Hall and Apogee Gardens have been exceptionally pleased with the decision to work with STM and rave about their equipment any chance they can. The STM Canna Reps have been a great help to Apogee Gardens. They provided the team with all the resources and training they needed to ensure their customers always received high-quality joints. The reps are easy to reach and respond to when contacted, ensuring that problems or issues are solved promptly. Thanks to this fantastic support from the STM team, Apogee Gardens has received nothing but positive feedback from its patrons about the quality of its products.
“I love recommending STM Canna stuff to others in the industry.”