Two Albuquerque guys hope they’ve found greener grass than real estate the same time they discovered Clovis as a place to work.
Earl Henson and Tom Schoneman prepare to launch Earl and Tom’s, a small business that will grow and sell marijuana, located on the site of a former gun shop at 106 S. Main St., Clovis. They even put their name on the main entrance.
Since becoming the second cannabis company to receive a commercial recreational cannabis license in New Mexico in Curry or Roosevelt County, they have been trying to accelerate the growth of 180 cannabis plants, which they have planted as seed as soon as they got their license Dec. 17. Schoneman said Friday.
The first licensee in Curry or Roosevelt counties was Vana, LLC, owned by Parin Kumar, another Albuquerque resident.
Schoneman said the plants should produce salable flowers, the product customers will buy the most, by April 1, the state’s target date for the start of retail sales.
Plants grow in “nutrient-rich water” instead of soil, Schoneman explained as he passed buckets of water from one tray of plants to another on Friday under indoor lights bright enough to require sunglasses for comfort.
Schoneman said the number of factories will double upon the arrival of equipment that will automate the process of delivering enriched water to factories.
“It will be super high tech,” Schoneman said, “state of the art.”
Henson and Schoneman are also hoping to obtain a retail license and have already registered lines on the floor where the retail space will be installed.
When the company acquires the retail license, Schoneman said, “We’ll probably have 10 to 15 employees.”
The customer experience “will be like table service in a restaurant,” Schoneman said.
Henson said Thursday that he, Schoneman and a third partner, Brian Stofac, of Albuquerque, hoped for a “vertical license” that would allow both producer and retail functions.
“We grow high quality plants,” Henson said.
Schoneman said they grow “boutique-grade” marijuana.
Stofac, the third partner, brings product knowledge gained at a successful cannabis business in Colorado, where recreational cannabis has been legal since 2012, Schoneman said.
Efforts to reach Stofac on Friday were unsuccessful.
Before Schoneman and Henson entered the legalized cannabis business, they had worked together in the residential real estate business for many years.
“Earl came to me with the idea” of getting into the recreational marijuana business, Schoneman said, and Schoneman went for it.
“I always wanted to participate in something downstairs,” he said. “I’ve never worked so hard in my life, but I love it.”
The prospects for a strong base of local customers and Texas businesses are excellent, Schoneman said.
“Texans are likely to come here en route to Taos” or other New Mexico destinations, he said.
Both are also drawn to Clovis after their many years in Albuquerque.
“We love Clovis,” Henson said Wednesday as he returned to Albuquerque, where he said he was making arrangements to move to Clovis. “Everyone has been great here.”
Schoneman also said Friday that he wanted to move to Clovis, and he, too, marveled at the cooperation the city has offered him and Henson.
“There’s more of a small-town feel here,” he said. “It’s great. I love it here.”