Peggy Moore led a double life during the tail-end of her 33 years at United Health Group. Moore spent her days taking conference calls on a headset, while racing around a downtown Denver kitchen, infusing brownies and chocolate chip cookies with canna-butter.
“I was fortunate, certainly, in that I was able to work virtually,” the Love’s Oven founder says. “At the insurance company, I was never really straight up with them about my involvement with marijuana.”
For years, Moore baked marijuana-infused cookies and brownies for Colorado’s medical market, while handling her duties as senior director of mergers and acquisitions for the insurance company. When she traveled on business for UnitedHealth, a family member would step in to cover the bakery’s day-to-day needs — often without pay — until she returned.
It wasn’t until May 2014, well after the bakery had transitioned to one of Colorado’s first recreational edibles manufacturers, that she decided to retire from her career in insurance.
“They knew I was involved in something else, but since then, I have gotten some good reactions from my former co-workers,” she says. “For the most part, they were really surprised; I guess they viewed me as a really conservative person.”
If Love’s Oven hadn’t been so successful, Moore may still have a foot planted in both worlds. The opportunity to expand beyond medical was “a calculated risk,” but her facility had been built to food service standards, making it worthwhile to invest in a recreational license.
“What I didn’t expect, or at least didn’t have the knowledge of, was that we would be just one of three infused products manufacturers up and running for the recreational market on Jan. 1, 2014,” Moore says.
Prior to going recreational, Love’s Oven grossed $50,000 a year. Once the adult-use market opened, the company began grossing more than that on a monthly basis.
“Our sales went up 1,200% overnight,” Moore says. “It’s a really good problem to have and it would have been easy to fall on our faces while we were there. But I surrounded myself with people that I could really trust and we just quickly ramped up to meet the demand.”
The exponential growth slowed, but the market continued to expand steadily. Eventually Moore asked her sisters and two sons to become co-owners of the company.
“We’re entirely family owned,” she says. “Sometimes when I would be traveling, my family would come in, and they’d work for free during some of those early, lean years. This is a big reason why they are part owners.”
Today Love’s Oven employs several professionally trained chefs who contribute new recipes to the company’s catalogue, and the Moore family is looking to expand beyond Colorado.
“We’ll definitely be in at least one or two of the other existing recreational states this year — we’re targeting Oregon and Washington for that — and we’ll start working side by side with folks in the new states so we can be there in 2018,” Moore says.[contextly_auto_sidebar]