Cannabis cultivator makes mark in Kalamazoo

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The Woods began the remodel of a 30,000-square-foot grow facility at 822 Schuster Ave. in March 2020 and officially opened in August. Courtesy The Woods

The Woods Cultivation and Processing in Kalamazoo announced it recently wrapped up its fourth harvest.

The Woods began the remodel of a 30,000-square-foot grow facility at 822 Schuster Ave. in March 2020 and officially opened in August.

Co-founders Trent Friske and Raphael Thurin have been working together in the cannabis industry for nearly 10 years and are ready to bring their experience to the area.

“My journey with cannabis cultivation began when my mother was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer,” Friske said. “She was using cannabis medicinally to help alleviate the effects of cancer treatment and, ultimately, became my first patient.”

High-quality production and ethical growing practices were the main focus for Friske and Thurin as they planned their newly remodeled cannabis production facility. Design and construction details in the facility, including insulated metal wall paneling, automated fertilization and water-cooled HVAC systems specifically made for indoor growing, are key features of The Woods’ facility.

“During the design phase is the best time to consider product safety,” Thurin said. “Prioritizing compliance, product safety, product quality and long-term profitability while designing your facility is paramount.”

Friske and Thurin both got their start in the cannabis industry as caregivers and have grown their vision of producing high-quality cannabis products for medical marijuana patients to a fully licensed facility that employs over 25 local residents.

The Woods just began rolling out products to retailers this month and already is looking to the future. At capacity, The Woods facility will house over 10,000 plants and provide an array of cannabis flower cultivars and infused products. The facility is operating at less-than-full capacity but recently broke ground on adding 14,000 square feet of additional grow space with the hope of completion by the end of 2021.

The Woods facility currently holds licenses for both medical and adult-use cannabis production housing 3,500 plants. The owners plan to invest over $8 million in their facility and create more than 50 new jobs.

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