Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017


I wanted to take this opportunity to post a very personal message in one of the last posts of the year. Building something as ambitious as G FarmaBrands from scratch has been the most testing endeavor of my life. I have been in business for myself since I can remember, the only “boss” I’ve ever had was my father. He was a butcher and two years after arriving in America, he opened up a small butcher shop/mini-market. My childhood consisted of waking up, going to school, going to that mini-market until 10pm, which was the time he closed and then finally go home. That was my life Monday thru Friday and all day on Saturday as my mom also worked the business with my father. Sunday was the only day they always took off to spend it together. It was the day that mom cooked at home, we made that a staple in our family until the day my father died.

After owning the mini-market, my father bought a restaurant and that remained his career for twenty plus years. Nothing changed for me when he became a restauranteur other than I spent my time at the restaurants rather than at a mini-market. As you can imagine, starting any business is risky, testing and always a difficult undertaking. I saw this to be normal ever since I can remember, that’s all I ever saw my dad do. By age five, I had been taught to work the cash register at the mini-market and give back exact change to the customers.

This was also around the time where my father would buy me items, like a big box of little cars or a box of toys. They were not to play with but rather, to educate me on the basic principals of an entrepreneur. My father would sit with me and explain our cost into the full box of whatever it was that he bought for me to sell, the cost of each individual item and how much I would have to sell it for to make a profit. I would stand outside the mini-market and sell out in no time. It was mostly people finding it cute or adorable that I was out there selling something. I would take the money and pay my father back and reinvest my profits back to buying more things to sell.

At the time all I would do with the cash I earned was buy full boxes of baseball cards, some I collected, others I learned to bet against other kids that would hang out in the same shopping center. I never had proper training in business other than the basics that were taught to me by my father but what I did have was a lifetime of experience watching him build his businesses. When I came of age and started my first business, how can I explain it, it was easy to implement business building strategies. Hope that made sense. It’s like one who learns their A,B,C’s, you just recite them without much thought. I would say that’s how easy the basics of building a business is to me.

The other thing that I learned through a lifetime of experience was that without a Team, nothing was possible. I saw my father build his teams from scratch, some seemed to always be around, those I would call the constants. For example his attorneys, accountants and contractors. Then I saw him build his operation Teams and unfortunately in a restaurant environment the turn over rate for employees is pretty high so till this day I recall hundreds of faces and names that worked for him. But his goal was always to establish a solid operations Team,there was always the constants in that Team also. It took more time to shed the ones that didn’t match his culture or style of operating but he always ended up finding the right managers that helped him run operations.

His restaurant’s were very mom and pops and maybe some of my description above, make it sound corporate but my father was far from corporate! He didn’t make it passed 3rd grade, his father died and he went to push a vegetable cart around his town to bring money back home to his mother to pitch in for the survival of his mother and his nine brothers and sisters. Maybe that’s why he taught me those simple lessons. I can tell you that arming me with those lessons and allowing me to grow up in his business, he gave me more than if I was sent to the best business school in the world. I have definitively had to continue my business education by always being thirsty for corporate ways of doing things.

Understanding that systems are the main difference between my dad having restaurant’s and a Cheesecake Factory is the best way I can compare mom and pops versus corporate. The taste of the food changing every time a new cook started is mom and pops. A system in place at Cheesecake factory that created a plug and play course to train anybody to cook for the restaurant and the food always tastes the same is very corporate. My hunger for taking what I experienced all my life and making it a more professional system that focused more on consistency, has been a mission of mines since I began my first business. It naturally was the progression that my mind went toward. I now understand exactly what I was searching for, it’s just a corporate style of doing things with real people who I can trust.

When we embarked into the cannabis industry back in 2009, it was a crazy industry which was not structured at all. The line between being a criminal and a businessman were almost blurred to the point that you didn’t know if they would label you the American version of Chapo Guzman or Warren Buffet. Even though I grew up in the Miami 80’s where I witnessed Kings crowned and then dethroned, I definitively wasn’t looking to reconstruct those days from the West coast in the new millennium.

An angel, I have never said I had been, but I was not looking to become a criminal by entering the marijuana industry. I always did everything according to the only protection we had at the time, state law! Problem was that others did too and were still being indicted. So I prayed to God that as long as he protected us from anything like that happening to us, we would focus on pushing this to become a real industry. That’s exactly what the goal was and we began implementing all the lessons that I knew, it didn’t matter if restaurant’s or marijuana, business is business is business.

Team building began as we undertook so many tasks that we had no more time to do it all, we hired one and took on more until we couldn’t anymore and then we hired another to take over some of the tasks we were doing and again and again. Till this day we continue taking on more and more work until we don’t have enough time to do it all and we keep hiring someone to take work off our plate. I wrote all that to get to the meat of the message of this editorial.

G FarmaBrands would not exist without the amazing Team that makes the magic happen everyday. I had to take the time to write this for all of you in cultivation, processing, manufacturing, marketing and operations throughout the G FarmaLabs territories. Every single person that is part of the Team is so damn important to the success of everything that has been in process of being built since 2009. In reality the strategies and knowledge and business path that we as a company take versus others is unique, it has been in the making all my life and I can take that back even further. I can trace the strategies that were at the founding level of the brand to my father, a 3rd grade drop out that began understanding that hard work, dedication and perseverance were the basics of a business.

My father taught me and instilled most of the founding strategies that led to the creation of a business, G FarmaBrands, that offers job opportunities to so many. Eventually I will announce when we reach 1,000 employees, it takes time but the opportunity to grow Into needing that many workers and many more is not a distant reality. I call my business creation strategies, because today I am hiring more and more people who bring a different and abstract corporate business experience with them. I listen a lot to these very intelligent individuals. Some of the strategies they offer or ideas they have might make it to a decision of mines that I recommend done. These new and refreshing outlooks on corporate America will help us grow further in 2017 and beyond. Our executive Team is composed of All Stars, in my humble opinion. Most of them have been around me or my wife for 20 & 30 years plus…

I cannot thank each and everyone of you enough. I choose not to mention any names because I wouldn’t want to miss anyone and insult that person. Everyone knows their job description and I simply want you guys and gals to know that you mean the world to Nicole and I. I also wanted to say thank you to my father and my mother which taught me everything I knew when I started my first business. I sit here and think of not ever having held a job, I don’t know if to look at it as a huge handicap or a tremendous accomplishment.

A handicap because I have never experienced any other system than what I saw my parents do and that was very primitive. I think those who have worked in corporate America have seen things I never have. A tremendous accomplishment because I have always used my own money to win or loose so I have become extremely successful at allocating capital into tremendous ROI’s. I see opportunities and strike and capture them fairly easy. I have always had that ability, it’s just more developed and matured these days.

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017… Cheers to all of you hardworking hustlas who understand, live, breathe and eat the G Farma corporate culture! No ego involved but I must say, you guys are thee best team ever assembled in the Cannabis industry. Forget degrees and titles, I’m talking about real, real people who are humble, work toward one goal, hustle two and three times the average pace, have tremendous heart and no matter how hard its gotten, we are all still G FarmaFamily for life! We don’t accept traders, opportunists or fakes around here. You will always see us stay together like glue. Because we believe in the person beside us, in front of us and behind us, we all believe in each other and we make it happen every time. Happy New Year!


Ata Gonzalez 

Founder, G FarmaBrand