Product and facility photos by Jenn Bakos
Food photos courtesy of Pot and Pan Kitchen
Pot and Pan is located in an upcoming area of Portland, Maine, which seems to be expanding and changing every time we visit! The staff at Pot and Pan are artisan bakers and makers bringing lots of creativity and talent to the table. We don’t know a lot of people doing what they do, and we wanted them to share their story and business with us.
First off, tell us about your business?
Pot & Pan Kitchen is both a THC and Hemp CBD product manufacturer located in Portland, Maine. We service the Maine Medical Marijuana Program(MMMP) caregiver and patient community by turning their cannabis into edibles for them at a wholesale rate, and in early 2018 we began sourcing local hemp CBD and manufacturing hemp CBD products.
What is the story behind your business? How did it all come to be?
Pot & Pan Kitchen began in 2013 when the three owners, all Mainers and MMMP caregivers, noticed the lack of quality, properly dosed edibles in Maine compared to other states with medical programs (CA). Through a lot of trial and error, we introduced our flagship product, Medicubez, later that year. In the beginning we were only able to provide edibles, legally, to our patients. As word spread that we were creating a desired product – as well as a commercial kitchen space – caregivers in our network began asking us if we could create edibles for them using their own cannabis concentrates, returning it to them in edible form and paying us for our materials, time, etc – we quickly realized we had a business and our umbrella company, Pot & Pan Kitchen, was born (2015).
Lack of legislation for the cannabis processing community prior to 2018 created a lot of hurdles for our business, and while we had a lot of “downtime” this year, we began sourcing local hemp CBD oil to create our own CBD product line. The CBD manufacturing of Pot & Pan Kitchen has really taken off, and our products are both respected and becoming a household name as more and more people have begun using CBD and search for a local source.
What is your background, how did you meet your business partner(s), did you always want to be doing this?
The three owners have been friends for about a decade – sharing a common love for live music - and all us always cannabis enthusiasts. Brought to the table in our partnership are degrees in business, botany, and bioengineering – successful businesses prior to Pot & Pan Kitchen – and the common goal of being a respected, trusted, and desired cannabis business. I believe we always wanted to be doing this (cannabis), but didn’t realize our generation would be the one to have the opportunity.
What is behind your business name?
The name came to one of the owners on a whim (and she quickly scooped up every social media platform even before the need for the “umbrella” company). I think we all love the name because it is so quickly dismissed as not a cannabis company, but once the pun is realized it’s great. We get a lot of compliments.
Favorite things to create?
Everything. Our processing services are completely customizable to each client. We pride ourselves on being able to create (almost) everything that a client might be looking to add to their offerings for their patients of store front. We LOVE special events: catering, edible spreads, wedding favors, birthday cakes, etc.
We work with all dietary and allergy restrictions needs, dosing preferences, etc – and I believe this makes us desirable because each patient and caregiver typically has very specific needs.
What are your sources of inspiration and creativity?
Local ingredients and seasonal offerings – people know during the fall we have “dirty chai” or apple cider caramel bonbons, and for the holidays we’ll be offering eggnog and pistachio-cranberry. It’s fun to keep searching for new flavor or product ideas – you can put cannabis/CBD in anything though, ha – so we try to stay focused.
What do you do when you feel you are in a rut?
The cannabis industry has a lot of ups and downs due to changing state laws and federal illegality – so I think we’re always just happy to be a part of it in general. Deadlines can be chaotic, but in reality we’re always just happy to be doing what we love.
What has been the most challenging part about having your business? What has been the most rewarding or fun?
Cannabis laws have definitely been the most challenging aspect of what we do – most businesses create a 5 year plan for growth, our business growth has been at the mercy of legislature and ever changing laws.
Regardless of what happens with the MMMP, recreational cannabis, or our CBD product line – we all wholeheartedly agree that cannabis is medicine. To play any part in someone’s wellness, whether it be appetite stimulation while going through chemotherapy, or helping someone get a good night’s sleep – the people that personally reach out to us and thank us are 100% what makes it all worth it. And a lot of people do. This industry is a necessary part of a lot of people’s daily lives – and being a trusted brand that they choose to use, is definitely the most rewarding.
Are you originally from New England? How has the New England community played a roll in your business?
All of us are from Maine – and we absolutely love our state. We love that this region truly appreciates, supports, and seeks out craft and local brands. We also love the tourism that comes to Maine. Our hope is that when they come to Maine and ask a local where to get the best lobster roll, the local also tells them to check us out.
What are your favorite things about New England?
Seasons. The sense of community. The importance of supporting local.
What do you think is unique about your business or craft?
I believe we are unique because of the scope of our business (customizable manufacturing services, catering/special events, and local hemp CBD products), professionalism, and our desire to always be putting out the best artisanal products. When we create something, we want to do it to the best of our ability – and aren’t satisfied until it’s perfect.
What other local businesses do you love that we should know about?
We are all Portland “townies” so the list could go on and on – we pride ourselves on being a Portland based business because the caliber of restaurants and shops are hard to beat and nationally renowned. A few favs: Baharat, The Portland Zoo, Oxbow Brewery, The Blazin’ Ace, J’s Oyster, Little Woodford’s Coffee Shop, Howie’s Pub, The Highroller Lobster Co, Kind & Co., and sooo many more it’s ridiculous – every spot definitely has a place in this city and we have the MOST lovely community – Portlanders are extremely spoiled. Never taken for granted.
What does the future look like for your small business? Any grand plans?
For our THC line we hope to obtain recreational licensing for Maine’s adult-use market and expand our manufacturing facility – as well as obtain a recreational store front license. We would love to be a destination for tourists and locals, continuing to offer fun and desired products.
For CBD we have realized the enormous potential of our products – being able to sell them to anyone is also a plus. We are currently working tirelessly to launch our online store in early December (2018) and expand wholesale clients in our area – all happening due to word of mouth from those who have tried our products. We are contacted daily via email, phone, and social media from those who have tried our products, or people that have been referred to them through a friend.
Where can we find you or your product in the future?
Until the adult-use market sales begin in estimated 2020, unfortunately our THC products are hard to obtain. We are excited that one day anyone (21+) will be able to purchase our products, tourists and locals alike.
Our hemp CBD line is currently wholesaled throughout Maine, and we will be launching potandpancbd.com sales in December 2018. We have found that even though CBD is becoming more widely known, there are still many questions by those who are interested in trying CBD for alternative, natural relief – so as well as selling CBD online we are creating educational content to answer those questions – which can also be found through our site.
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