Danny Sloat builds his business on trust and perseverance
Danny Sloat is banking on the theory that bigger isn’t always better.
As the owner and head grower of AlpinStash, a recreational cannabis producer in Louisville, Colorado, Sloat makes the most out of a small team and a small indoor production facility. By taking an artisanal, craft approach to cannabis, the company is able to focus on quality and consistency, without worrying about the highest yields.
The 34-year-old entrepreneur has developed the business on a simple motto: “Never give up and never stop trying to improve.”
With just four full-time employees, AlpinStash is the epitome of a family business. Sloat, his sister Emily, his fiancé Murr, and family friend Sylvia Anchondo manage the entire 3,000-square-foot grow operation.
“My mom also works with us from time to time when we need an extra hand,” Sloat says. “It’s great to see her interact with some of the young trimmers. She’s a very cool lady and it’s a blast to see her trim.”
Running a business that’s so intertwined with family members can be tricky at times, but Sloat says he feels blessed to be surrounded by loved ones and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It can be a challenge to separate business life from personal life,” he admits. “Patience and communication are crucial in any work environment, but even more important when it comes to family. As the boss, I have learned that the key is to know your employee (and) know how to give constructive criticism and praise to an individual in a way that’s most effective for them.”
AlpinStash recently celebrated the two-year anniversary of receiving its marijuana business license. Like so many entrepreneurs in the early stages of cannabis legalization, Sloat’s story began with a debilitating illness.
Over the course of a six-year stretch, Sloat battled multiple chronic pain syndromes, including a non-cancerous brain tumor. The Boulder native had grown up enjoying the outdoors, but several surgeries and extended hospital stays led to an ever-growing regimen of prescription medications. He was taking large doses of opioids, followed by medications to quell the side effects of the painkillers, followed by even more medications to stave off the side effects of those drugs — a dangerous spiral of 19 medications.
“I was stuck in a medical and pharmacological funk to say the least,” Sloat says.
By 2009, he was caught firmly in the clutches of depression. He disengaged from family and friends, became overweight and spent most of his time anchored in front of a television.
“I was in a really bad spot before I found cannabis,” he says. “After six years of opiate use and more medical issues and procedures than I care to remember, I needed psychological and spiritual healing as much as physical healing.”
Cannabis provided both.
“Ingesting cannabis helped to relieve my pain, which allowed me to get off of opiates as well as do the things I enjoyed previously, such as climbing and hiking,” he says. “Growing cannabis was a way for me to be physical again and reactivated my brain.”
Sloat’s medical journey is one of the reasons he’s fanatical about holding AlpinStash to a high standard of quality. With 3,000 square feet of cultivation space, Sloat and his team can afford to give every plant “the individual care and love they deserve,” he says. But they’ve also embraced methods and equipment to operate in an ecologically friendly manner.
AlpinStash uses an energy-efficient cooling system and low-wattage, energy-efficient lighting.
“On average, we use 70% less electricity per light to achieve the industry standard in terms of yield per light fixture,” Sloat says.
The company also avoids using salt-based fertilizers and pays close attention to where it sources nutrient inputs.
“Everything we do is geared towards growing the best flower we can,” Sloat says. “We are always striving for perfection. This includes specific protocols like changing into clean work clothes and shoes in our clean room, using only the finest natural inputs to keep our plants happy and healthy, spending as much time with each plant as they need so the get exactly what they want and employing well-researched and thoroughly thought-out growing practices.”