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Built to grow: Superior Selections becomes IM’s first licensed marijuana business

Progress 2020

Superior Selections staff — from left, Corey Formolo, Eric Ellis, Anton Goal, Tyler Calvi and Justin Havinga — stand in one of the company’s grow rooms at a renovated warehouse on Iron Mountain’s north side. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photos)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Locally owned and staffed, Superior Selections promises to be the first marijuana cultivation center in Dickinson County, launching the venture with an initial $1 million investment.

The company has plans to expand and play a civic role as well.

“Iron Mountain was the perfect place to have it go back into the community,” said Corey Formolo, a co-owner and director of operations.

Formolo, who formerly worked as head cultivator for Verts in Fort Collins, Colorado, returned to his home town after Michigan’s 2018 vote to legalize recreational marijuana. He joined Dr. Dan Kreider and Janis Cortez in developing a plan to transform a vacant warehouse on East Smith Street into a thriving cannabis business.

After securing growing and processing licenses from the city last year, the goal is within reach.

Superior Selections is now permitted by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to grow medical marijuana — up to 1,500 plants — with long-range plans to gain adult-use licensing to grow and process as many as 6,000 plants.

“It’s about building a brand that’s consumer reliable,” Formolo said. “We use no pesticides, no chemical sprays.”

The company plans to market its wholesale products to provisioning centers across the state, likely including the Rize UP dispensary opening soon on North Stephenson Avenue. “We have a good working friendship with Rize,” Formolo said.

Currently, Rize has one of the two dispensary licenses available in Iron Mountain, with the other going to Lume Cannabis/Attitude Wellness. Both are owned by downstate interests.

Superior Selections, formerly known as Green Spectrum Labs, qualified under the city’s application system for one of five growing and processing permits but fell short in the dispensary competition.

Undaunted, the local owners are first out of the gate in getting state licensing, using 10,000 square feet of a building once occupied by Prime Supply Co. on Iron Mountain’s north side. The structure, owned by Les Cove Inc. since the 1950s, has another 48,000 square feet available, and Superior Selections has every intention of filling it.

“We’ve used all local people in every stage,” Formolo said, including electrical, plumbing and roofing contractors. As a business citizen, the company plans to help coordinate youth recreation activities, such as mountain biking.

Its finished facility reflects the commercial era of cannabis — computer controls, artificial lighting, engineered benches, restricted access, and cameras throughout. The irrigation system allows 65% of the water to be recycled across eight growing units. There are separate rooms for drying and trimming.

Soils will be imported from California. Detailed histories are kept on seeds, genetics and strains. Growing rooms will see a constant temperature of 78 degrees and 62% humidity. There also is a vault for finished products that will be subject to state-supervised testing and transportation.

The only testing labs are downstate, and there are no licensed secured transporters in the Upper Peninsula — extra wrinkles that may not be solved soon. Under state rules, testing and transportation must be independent of growing and sales operations.

The company is hiring, inviting applications at www.superiorselectionsmi.com.

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