For this Grower Spotlight, we’re excited to feature Nick Graham, Director of Cultivation at NOBO, a leading cannabis cultivation company based in Michigan. Nick shares insights into the company’s history, mission, and unique cultivation methods. He also discusses the challenges of scaling up in the rapidly changing cannabis industry and how NOBO is staying ahead of the curve.
NOBO’s History and Mission
NOBO’s story began in Colorado, where a group of cannabis enthusiasts came together with a single purpose in mind: to grow the best possible cannabis for the people. Their commitment to excellence, combined with a strong sense of community, laid the foundation for the company’s culture and values.
As NOBO started gaining momentum in Colorado, the founders realized the potential of expanding their mission to new territories. Despite its name originating from North Boulder, the majority of NOBO’s operations are now based in Michigan. The company’s journey from a small-scale operation in Colorado to a thriving business in Michigan is a testament to their unwavering dedication to quality, community, and growth.
Nick’s Background and NOBO’s Cultivation Methods
Nick Graham’s journey into the world of cannabis cultivation began over a decade ago as a personal hobby in his basement. His fascination with the plants and the joy of creating something from nothing fueled his passion, which eventually led him to scale up his operation. Fast forward to today, Nick is now the Director of Cultivation at NOBO, overseeing the growth of thousands of plants on a commercial level.
Under Nick’s guidance, NOBO employs innovative and unique cultivation methods that set them apart from the competition. They grow hydroponically, utilizing Coco Coir as the substrate, which provides a well-balanced environment for the plants to thrive.
Their state-of-the-art Rhythm fertigation system automates feeding and the team monitors environmental factors to ensure optimal growing conditions for every strain they cultivate. NOBO uses Athena Pro Line nutrients and have developed their own brand of LED lights, called GrowRay, which they’ve patented and manufactured for use in their facilities.
Everybody on the team’s very open-minded. None of us try to let our egos get in the way. We’re all about data and research and development. We’re always trying to do new things. See what’s new on the market. See what new techniques there are. All of us know that no one knows everything.Nick Graham
Tackling Industry Challenges and Nick’s Future Plans
The cannabis industry is no stranger to challenges, with constantly changing regulations, decreasing prices, and an ever-increasing competitive landscape. Nick and the team at NOBO are fully aware of these challenges and have developed strategies to adapt and thrive in such an environment.
To counter increased competition, NOBO did direct research into the offerings in the market, and introduced new SKUs to address gaps they found.
They have leveraged their vertical integration and experience in the Michigan cannabis market to ensure they remain a step ahead of their competitors. By keeping a keen eye on market trends and being agile in their response, NOBO is able to maintain its strong position in the industry.
We’ve been seeing what other dispensaries don’t have and we’ve been trying to produce that product, to fill that hole, produce new SKUs that nobody else will have.Nick Graham
Nick plans to continue refining and expanding NOBO’s cultivation methods, exploring new genetics, and investing in the latest technology to optimize their growing processes. Committed to maintaining NOBO’s high standards of quality, Nick and team seek opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce the company’s environmental footprint. This includes exploring automation possibilities, like the loading of rooms after harvest, but would never automate cutting down plants, as this delicate process directly affects the flower’s quality.
Strains at the Forefront
With a vast array of 51 different genetics in their arsenal, NOBO continues to push the boundaries of their offering.
Nick’s current favorite strains include Dirty Sprite and Mom’s Spaghetti, both developed in-house and unique to NOBO. Dirty Sprite has sweet hints of sprite and gas, while Mom’s Spaghetti smells like homemade garlic pasta.
We do have a couple of the growers here we put on the breeding projects and we have outside rooms that we do that in. Basically it’s what’s new and hot on the market, what’s a heavy producer or heavy yielder. We’ll go look in the lineage see if it matches up with another genetic and well cross it from there.Nick Graham
Essential Garden Tool
Nick considers the Teros 12 moisture content and EC sensor his most important tool, ensuring proper dryback and healthy feeding for each plant. Nick plans to outfit the rest of their cultivation facility with these sensors so they can begin really digging into crop steering and data collection.
Trym’s Impact on NOBO’s Operations
When it comes to optimizing their cultivation process and enhancing efficiency, NOBO has greatly benefited from implementing Trym. Specifically, Trym’s Touchless Harvesting system has had a significant impact on their operations, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Prior to Trym, NOBO was using Stashstock which was a lot of manual data entry. It typically took them 2-3 days to harvest a room. Now, instead of weighing each plant, typing in the weights, and ensuring the correct Metrc tag is being entered, NOBO harvests in 5 hours. Trym automates the process, eliminates inconsistencies in the data, and cuts out all those tedious tasks.
This has led to substantial labor savings for NOBO: they’re saving 125 hours each month, equating to $2500/mo in labor. In addition, by shaving a full day off the plants’ life cycle, the NOBO team is able to go in the other rooms and stay caught up on all their other tasks for the week so they don’t fall behind.
Thank you Nick for taking the time to share your journey and NOBO’s successes!