“I started selling caterpillars in grade school, then moved on to candy and soda in junior high, before they had vending machines,” recounts Curtis Devine, CEO and founder of Debbie’s Dispensary. “It’s in my blood to build businesses, to see an opportunity, take it, and run with it.”
Over the years, this entrepreneurial spirit motivated Curtis to pursue several successful business ventures, including furniture moving, landscaping, and construction. It wasn’t until dispensary licenses become available in Arizona that Curtis turned his business skills to the medical marijuana industry.
Inspired by his friend Ty and his sister Debbie, Curtis applied for his first license in 2012. Upon approval, he started growing in his garage with his cultivation manager, Wes. “When I first started working with Wes, we were producing 12 pounds every three months. Now, we’re producing 400 pounds a week.”
This explosive growth is due in no small part to Debbie herself, Curtis’ older sister. “Debbie is my rock,” says Curtis. “I’ve worked with her for the last 15 years on all my businesses. And she’s a medical marijuana advocate. It was a natural fit. Her compassion for our patients is what’s got us where we are today.”
Growing up in the tight-knit community of Mohave Valley and working with family and friends has given Curtis a unique perspective on business. “We’re a family operation. We are one of the largest employers in our hometown. We know everybody and everybody knows us. I have a passion for the people that work with me, and I try my best to lead by example, to be in touch with the lives of our employees and patients and to help them live better lives.” It’s this community and family atmosphere that Curtis hopes every Debbie’s Dispensary location embodies.
In addition to Debbie, Curtis’ mother has been a motivating factor all his life. “My drive to succeed came from my mom. She told me I could do whatever I wanted to do. She told me to be a fighter, to work hard. When I got knocked down, she reminded me to get back up, to never give up. I want to succeed in life because of her, to make her proud.”
And Debbie’s Dispensary has definitely succeeded. As his small retail dispensary in rural Arizona began to take off, Curtis found additional revenue supplying major metro-region dispensaries with wholesale product. While these profits have helped Debbie’s Dispensary expand into Peoria, Mesa, South Phoenix, and North Phoenix, Curtis makes sure to give back to the community, too.
Just last year, Debbie’s Dispensary rebuilt the local Mohave Valley Little League field — the same field Curtis and Debbie themselves used to play on. Youth organizations, youth education, youth sports, computer labs, veteran’s groups, military moms — Debbie’s Dispensary has given more than $300,000 back to the Mohave Valley community. “Community giving is a big part of what sets Debbie’s Dispensary apart from other dispensaries,” says Curtis. “We’re looking forward to finding ways to support other communities as we expand into the Phoenix-Metro area.”
Now, with XX locations across the state, Debbie’s Dispensary is the largest in Arizona, with plans to expand into other markets already in the works. “We may be big, but we’ll never be corporate,” Curtis promises. “We’re friendly, caring — we’ll always do the right thing. We’re focused on the patient, not on the latest trends.”