Coda Signature’s mind-bogglingly beautiful edibles are truly something to behold, from the mirror-glazed icing on its truffles with modern art flair to its bark-like gourmet chocolate bars. The company’s offerings are not unlike what you’d find from fine chocolatiers in Europe or abroad.
Mark Grindeland, CEO of the company, describes Coda Signature as “a premium brand company that manufactures infused edibles, topicals and concentrates for adult-use and medical markets.”
Coda Signature, of course, is best known for its infused gourmet edibles. “Since our launch two years ago, we have received a great amount of market recognition,” Grindeland told CULTURE. “This includes six first place awards for our edibles from the industry, including High Times, Dope Magazine, THC Magazine/The Hemp Connoisseur, Westword and the Cannabis Business Awards.”
Over the last few years, Coda Signature has quickly become a favorite with dispensaries, growing to become the number two company as measured by market share for cannabis-infused chocolates. “Out of the top 20 best-selling chocolate products, Coda Signature has captured six spots,” Grindeland said. “This includes the number one selling chocolate bar, Coffee & Doughnuts. It is made with a unique combination of milk chocolate, coffee, toasted milk and cinnamon sugar. In fact, the quality and uniqueness of our products have helped us grow quickly.” Coda Signature’s products are currently being sold in more than 450 dispensaries across Colorado.
Consumers who buy infused products typically buy them to produce an effect they’re looking for, Grindeland explained. It could be for recreational enjoyment, pain relief or to treat a specific health issue.
“We believe the efficacy of the cannabinoids and terpenes used to infuse products should be ‘table stakes.’ To be successful, an infused products company must deliver a consistent and reliable effect,” Grindeland explained. “But we also believe that if the consumer isn’t ‘wowed’ by the taste of our edibles, or our concentrates, or the luxuriousness and effectiveness of our topicals, they won’t buy our products a second time.”
Grindeland is so mindful of his brand that he ensures a consistent customer experience for consumers when visiting any dispensary that chooses to sell Coda Signature products. The people at Coda Signature have thought through each touchpoint the company has with dispensaries, including everything from how orders are taken, fulfilled and delivered. They’ve designed an entire onboarding process for new dispensaries to ensure they are successfully equipped to expand their revenues by selling Coda Signature products. This includes, Grindeland said, making sure all budtenders are trained to tell the story about Coda Signature and its products to their customers. Finally, Grindeland makes sure dispensaries have collaterals and merchandising that beautifully illustrate their products.
The story behind Coda Signature’s beginning is interesting, to say the least. “I have a favorite saying, ‘We’re making plans, and God is laughing.’ I never imagined I would be the co-founder and CEO of a cannabis company.”
“Any evolving industry has its fair share of challenges, but our industry has some doozies! From banking restrictions, taxes, constantly changing regulations, different rules for each state, not to mention the fact that what we do is still federally illegal with threats of property forfeiture, jail or both. That said, companies that successfully navigate these challenges have an opportunity to build something great.”
Grindeland’s background includes many years as a management consultant. He’s worked in a number of public companies in executive roles, and he’s also co-founded five companies, with Coda Signature being the fifth. “I met my co-founder and our company president, Elizabeth Cooke, in the summer of 2014,” Grindeland said. “Elizabeth was one of the early cannabis pioneers in Colorado. She owned and operated a medical dispensary and grow. When adult-use was legalized and started to rollout in 2014, Elizabeth started looking for a way to parlay her early experience and take advantage of what she felt would be a huge opportunity. When we met, she was looking for assistance to analyze the market opportunity, develop a business plan, financial proformas and for a CEO to run the company.”
The two spent just under a year working together on the plan. Through that process, Grindeland agreed that it was a massive opportunity and decided to leave his senior role at a public company to jump back into another startup.
Grindeland finds that there are many challenges in this industry that create significant challenges for his company, which also affect every other licensed cannabis-related company. “Any evolving industry has its fair share of challenges, but our industry has some doozies!” he said. “From banking restrictions, taxes, constantly changing regulations, different rules for each state,
This industry is not for the faint-of-heart, he reminded us. It’s fiercely competitive, fast-moving, but it can also a lot of fun.
not to mention the fact that what we do is still federally illegal with threats of property forfeiture, jail or both. That said, companies that successfully navigate these challenges have an opportunity to build something great.”
“We have a big hairy audacious goal, which is to be the number one premium infused products company, globally,” he explained. “Our early success in Colorado is only the beginning. We are currently working on plans to launch in California and Canada.”
Grindeland believes that every business founder hopes to create something greater than themselves. He hopes to create a lasting legacy, creating something that will continue for many years.