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What it Takes to Run a Multi-Location Business: Advice from the Founder of CBD Kratom

What it Takes to Run a Multi-Location Business: Advice from the Founder of CBD Kratom

There are over a million retail businesses in the United States. Most of them are small businesses, with one location or an ecommerce store. But the really successful ones have their sights set higher: locations across the country and a booming ecommerce arm to match.

“Running a business with that many stores, it’s really different from running a business with just a few stores,” says David Palatnik, Founder and President of CBD Kratom. At 62 stores and in business since 2016, CBD Kratom is one of the world’s oldest CBD stores. 

The initial idea came from a gap in the market. While there was interest in CBD across demographics, only a few groups were being served by existing stores. Interested in CBD for your aches and pains? You’d have to try to find safe sources online or go to a head shop, where the employees were focused on a different kind of clientele. 

“People just don’t like to buy medicine for their back next to a pipe or bong,” says David.

The first CBD Kratom opened in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood with a focus on creating that educational wellness space that was previously hard to find. People were hungry to know about CBD, how it worked, how it could be consumed and how to choose the right product. David and the team had their knowledge, a welcoming space and proprietary products to feed the demand. The first store was quickly followed by more.

“In today’s world, if you don’t expand, you risk being pushed out of the market. You have to expand your business and grow in order to reach its full potential,” advises David. And that means continuing to expand when the time is right. 

Today, the team can boast 62 stores in 6 cities, a booming ecommerce arm and sponsorship deals with the likes of the Texas Rangers.

CBD Kratom innovates across 62 locations with Lightspeed

Lightspeed’s retail POS platform powers CBD Kratom as it grows.

CBD Kratom innovates across 62 locations with Lightspeed

David Palatnik’s success isn’t a fluke. It’s a result of sharp business intelligence, a keen eye for innovation and knowing when to delegate. Here’s his advice to businesses who want to grow like CBD Kratom. 

Have a vision that informs your goals

“When you have one, two, three stores, even five stores, especially if it’s all in one city, it’s very different because you can be there all the time. You can talk to people directly. Your vision can get implemented,” says David. 

But one person can’t be everywhere at once. As you grow, you need that clearly defined vision—your company mission—to make sure everyone is in sync.

“Always keep your eyes on the goals,” says David. “Those goals can be how many stores I want to have, how much revenue I want to have, how much bottom line, how many customers I want to serve. Set those goals and keep checking in every week.” 

Growth goals should consider unique market conditions, customer demographics and regulatory environments of each area, allowing for tailored strategies that maximize local strengths and opportunities. 

“The real vision of the company may change a little bit, but that’s a good thing. If you have good people in the company, they can change it for the better. They can make it better than you could make it alone.”

Simplify your systems

“When I’m walking around the mall, there are so many companies that have 50, 60, 100 stores, and a lot of them are using custom POS systems because throughout the years they were forced to do that. That was the only solution,” says David. 

He knows this struggle well. CBD Kratom used a custom POS for years, after all.

But adding that much complexity to your operation means dividing your attention and budget. Switching to a commerce platform backed by a team dedicated to innovation means you can rely on a partner to do what they do best while you do what you do best.

Take a look at the systems your company uses—the point of sale, ecommerce platform, HR platform, project management, purchase management and payroll management—and see where you can delegate, upgrade and simplify. 

Be adaptable with data

CBD Kratom’s sales reporting helps them keep on top of shifting customer preferences that will ultimately impact their revenue and their progress toward their goals. “Products that are top sellers in the last year or two are not the top sellers anymore,” says David. If the team wasn’t watching that data, they’d risk falling behind competitors who are. 

Plus, once you’re tracking that kind of data closely, it becomes easier to track other factors affecting performance. Consider how switching to Lightspeed meant CBD Kratom could dive into some of those nuances: 

“Now the reporting also shows me how much money that every item brings. And that’s a big difference because if I’m going to put a promotion on my top 20 items, I should put the promotion on the top 20 generating income items, not on the top 20 sold items.”

Relying on gut instinct and infrequent reviews means you’re bound to miss things.

“If you check it every week, you won’t have a big surprise,” advises David. “If you track every week, you know where you are. And you can change much quicker, and identify any issues much quicker.”

Learn from failures and iterate on success 

You want to succeed, of course. But failures, missteps and the unexpected are sometimes a part of doing business, especially if you’re trying something totally new. “It usually doesn’t work on the first try,” says David.

Instead of being discouraged, use these moments as catalysts for change. 

“You always need to go back and hold yourself accountable and hold your company accountable. Are we on track? If not, should we change what we do, and what do we change if it doesn’t work out?” 

62 stores and counting

Scaling from a single location to a multi-location empire, as CBD Kratom has, requires focus, adaptability and strategic partnerships. 

David’s experience growing CBD Kratom has important lessons for ambitious retailers: be focused on your vision, choose a technology partner that aligns with your business needs and understand when to decentralize control to maintain cohesion across widespread operations. 

Click here to learn what you could do with Lightspeed.

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