EcoGen Laboratories, a large hemp growing and processing company based in Grand Junction, has been bought by Kadenwood, LLC, a California based consumer packaged goods company focused on CBD.
The sale comes just months after EcoGen announced it was laying off more than 100 employees. Kadenwood has appointed its Chief Commercial Officer, Garrett Bain, and VP and General Manager, Jason Waggoner, to EcoGen’s executive team and they have relocated to Grand Junction. Founders Joseph Nunez and Alexis Korybut will not remain with the company.
“It was a great opportunity for both companies I think,” Bain said. “We’ve seen a lot of consolidation in the industry and it’s a stronger-together scenario.”
The hemp industry has faced strong economic headwinds in 2020 from the economic downturn following the coronavirus pandemic and a market correction following over-production in 2019. Bain said Kadenwood and EcoGen, which will be renamed EcoGen Biosciences, is positioned to grow as the industry rebounds. He said they don’t have plans for additional layoffs.
“They had to right-size the business for the current market,” Bain said. “I think the economy more broadly has had issues through the last several months, but I think we’re poised for success.”
Earlier this year EcoGen received a Payroll Protection Plan loan of between $2 million and $5 million. Bain said he could not comment yet on the status of that loan and whether it would need to be repaid.
“The PPP loan is certainly something on our radar and we just need to learn more and understand how to handle that going forward,” Bain said.
EcoGen has operated facilities across Mesa County including a farm in Mack and a greenhouse operation in Palisade. Last year it relocated its offices to the former Grand Junction Steel building. Bain said they are looking at all their facilities, but have not decided to close any yet.
“We certainly plan to invest,” Bain said. “We need to, through this transition, assess the operations and consolidate where needed. We’ve made no plans to close any facilities at this time. We do intend to continue farming.”
Kadenwood, which rolled out its first branded CBD product in 2019 had been focused on the consumer-packaged goods side of the industry. Bain said EcoGen gives them access to the entire supply chain for their CBD products. CBD is a non-intoxicating chemical derived from the hemp plant. He said a major focus of the company has been on fostering trust and transparency in its products.
“We’re committed to improving not just our brand, but the perception of our industry overall, and that starts with ensuring consumers have access to quality CBD products they can trust,” Erick Dickens, CEO and Co-Founder of Kadenwood, LLC, said in a statement. “EcoGen has maintained a commitment to producing sustainable and consistent CBD and we’re happy to bring them under the Kadenwood brand as we expand our offering of exceptionally pure CBD products that continue to set the industry’s standard of quality.”
For Bain, he said he is excited to be in Grand Junction and to work on the EcoGen team. He said the two companies combining their expertise will make for a first of its kind business in the CBD and hemp industry.
“I think Kadenwood’s world class executive team paired with EcoGen’s quality and scale and capacity is something that is going to be very formidable,” Bain said. “I don’t think the industry has seen anything like it yet.”