From The Earth’s Tyler Diltz is making medical marijuana patients feel at home
“Some of these things are life-changing.”
When you talk about medical marijuana most people, and especially patients, think of dispensaries. Dispensaries are the link between industry and patient, knowledge and education, and in the best cases, between business and community.
From The Earth is a well-known brand outside of Missouri, and is fast becoming one of the flagship franchises inside the state’s borders.
Designed to blend culture with a medical feel, From The Earth’s Missouri locations succeed on both fronts. The word “Welcoming,” is a top priority for staff and leadership. Greenway recently spoke to Region General Manager, Tyler Diltz.
Diltz comes from a hospitality background and his approach to staffing and engagement has made an impression with customers and the community. Convenient and diverse locations made FTE a strong contender early on, with locations in Kansas City located at Westside, Downtown, and Brookside, as well as a location in Independence and one in Raytown. The Brookside location features a drive-thru, which has been hugely successful and helped patients avoid the cold during the winter.
Diltz’s passion for cannabis patients has helped to shape the care and attention that patients rave about on social media. Diltz says the key has been staff buying into the company ethos, creating a welcoming environment and interacting with patients in a genuine way. “We want our employees to feel like a family and we want our patients to feel at home, and comfortable.”
Diltz and From the Earth have taken that welcoming attitude beyond their doors, with a heavy focus on community engagement, education, and involvement. It’s the culmination of projects both large and small that create a dynamic and intense affection for FTE from the communities they serve.
While the Westside location is actively working with the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation, other locations may do community outreach differently, from community clean-up projects for Earth Day, to working with The Last Prisoner Project, to creating “Happy Kits” (bags of arts and crafts supplies) delivered to patients at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
From The Earth even launched a raffle promotion to help create a reentry fund for Donte Westmoreland. Westmoreland had no prior convictions when he was found guilty of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute in May 2017 in Riley County, Kansas. Sentenced to 92 months in prison, Westmoreland served 4 years before his conviction was overturned. From The Earth says 100% of the proceeds of the raffle will go toward Westmoreland ‘s re-entry fund.
“While we make donations, it’s important to us that people in the community see us participate,” Diltz explained.
Part of that, Diltz says, is in having employees who have ties to neighborhoods work out of locations nearby, tying FTE back to the communities they serve, preserving that sense of family, and helping to find more opportunities to interact.
“We see familiar faces, patients know the budtenders by name and interact as part of the community. In a new market, a lot of people come in and are uneasy, it’s really really important to be welcoming and making everyone comfortable.”
Diltz says that the family and community sentiments aren’t a substitute for professional and knowledgeable service.
“When we have someone come in and they look a little scared, sometimes you can see they look overwhelmed, we make sure to take the time. That’s why we want our staff to be welcoming and to engage them. It starts by making them feel comfortable, allowing them to ask questions. If someone is new to this we have journals that we give out so they can track what they’re using and can talk to their budtender the next time they come in and say, ‘I liked this, I didn’t like that, this didn’t work like I expected.’ We provide a lot of education about differentiation in strain and testing results. Some of it is trial and error, and we want patients to be honest about their experiences so we can point them in the right direction. We want to make sure that they are getting the best experience they can by coming here.”
The passion for patients and education is part of what has pushed FTE to utilize cannabis and service assessments for their employees. “We want our staff to be confident in their answers and seek answers when applicable. So we schedule some of our more knowledgeable staff with some who are still learning.”
“Because it’s an interesting space and we are all learning together, some of the budtenders have an amazing amount of knowledge, but some of our staff are learning things from each other and our patients. It’s about creating relationships.”
“For some of these patients, some of these things are life-changing, and that’s what all the hard work, education, everything we put into this, was for.”
From the Earth is a sister company to Illicit Gardens, sharing ownership but operating primarily independently, according to Diltz. And that relationship does have benefits. FTE maintained a steady supply of flower and avoided supply issues that plagued many dispensaries early on. It also helps that Illicit has become one of the state’s premier brands and is vastly sought after, with creative marketing, great art and promotional materials, and a stellar reputation for quality.
While FTE’s success is benefited by Illicit, what Diltz and the staff at From The Earth have built stands on its own. From The Earth’s welcoming, family-oriented approach has earned them acclaim from patients and customers, and their altruistic endeavors have endeared them to their community, much of which directly contributes to their success to this point.