Nova Dispensary – Mesa, AZ
Nova Dispensary opened its doors in April of 2017 and was initially staffed by co-founders and Auburn University graduates Conor Counselman (president) and Alex Mixon (vice president). The two found themselves working 80-hour weeks for the first six to eight months. Since then, Nova Dispensary has grown into a 15-employee operation. After hiring a general manager with 13 years of experience at J. Jill, they’ve seen sales uptick as products went from languishing in drawers to more customer facing. “Patient-centered care, quality products and knowledgeable staff are the three pillars [we employ] at Nova. We have it on the wall, to remind everybody every day the level of service and competence they’re going to receive while visiting Nova,” shares Mixon.
The dispensary takes patient safety seriously, even if it compromises sales. “We absolutely require that all our vendors test, specifically with flower, but we do require initial potency testing on edibles and concentrates. We have internal butane, propane standards, based on other state [requirements]. [Everything has to test] under 500ppm for residual solvents,” says Counselman. Mixon says that Nova does allow as high as 1,000ppm for sauces and diamonds, but that’s the very top of the acceptable limit. “We’ve had people who’ve tried to deliver us batches at 14,000ppm before and we sent it straight back. A lot of our vendors know that safety, potency and testing are very important to us,” says Counselman.
“We built the store with the intention: if your grandmother found out tomorrow she had cancer, where would you send her?” says Counselman. Without outside investment, Nova is free to operate more like a pharmacy, instead of a heavily profit-focused business. “We understand that it’s a business, you still have to make money, but if a product works better than another product, we’re going to push you to the product that works better,” says Counselman. “It’s fantastic that we have the freedom as owners of the business to make a decision like that.”
“Patient-centered care, quality products and knowledgeable staff are the three pillars [we employ] at Nova. We have it on the wall, to remind everybody every day that’s the level of service and competence they’re going to receive.”
– Nova Dispensary Vice President Alex Mixon