Co-founder of Johnstown’s APEKS Supercritical Kristen Joseph says her whole business has grown dramatically in the past year.
“Last year was one of APEKS’s biggest years, ever,” says Joseph during a tour of the recently-leased production space.
The family business is run by Joseph and her husband Andy, both engineers who never saw just how cannabis would change their lives.
“We started the company in a pool barn in our backyard, says Joseph. “Thanks to medical and recreational cannabis coming online in new states and new countries, we were able to sell into those as well and gain new customers as well as help our current customers expand operations.”
The manufacturing company provides carbon dioxide extraction equipment. It’s one of the ways that processors use to convert dry cannabis product into other products - such as tincture drops or vaporisation oils.
They build, test, support, and ship extraction machines to a growing list of global clients from their Licking county facility.
“We’re selling in Germany, we have systems in Switzerland, we have system in Israel, Macedonia, Colombia, we have multiple systems in Mexico,” says Joseph. “We are fortunate because when you google CO2 extraction, APEKS is what comes up on your list.”
In 2019, the company doubled their production space, added 20 employees and got acquired by a Cincinnati firm, RBI, for almost $13 million.
“We have access to capital that we never had before,” says Joseph. “Even though we never touched the plant banks still viewed us as an plant-touching entity so we couldn’t get loans like traditional businesses could.”
Joseph says the acquisition also allows the company to offer what they call “soil-to-oil” an initiative to provide end to end product sourcing solution for cannabis customers with their new parent company.
“We want to make sure our clients can come to us and say, ‘I wanna make a vape pen,’ and we can start them off and say, ‘here is what you need to buy,’” says Joseph. “ And they can talk to one person instead of calling 20 different people to get that answer.”
Joseph says for her family, and her community, the risk of cannabis has so far paid off.
“APEKS Supercritical has definitely gotten to where it’s at because of the cannabis industry, everything that the cannabis industry has done for us and everything that we have done for the cannabis industry with co2 extraction,” says Joseph.
And, as locals, Joseph says she’s proud to provide opportunities for jobs and careers, especially in skilled labor. They bring in apprentices and hire from local vocational schools.
“Giving them this opportunity to come from high school and use what they studied in high school, this vocational school and make a living, make a living right off the bat, is fantastic,” says Joseph.