Char Coir Grows with Evans

Michael Leone founded Char Coir seven years ago after developing a unique substrate soil through processing coconut husks in India. The specialized processing of coconut husks alters the chemical properties, creating an ideal environment for plant growth.

Leone took his invention one step further by designing compressed soil products in a variety of sizes as an added convenience to gardeners. The specialized soil combined with unique sizes took off in the cannabis world, leading the company to seek out a Detroit-based 3PL, a market where cannabis products are legalized.

“I started the company focusing on the products and I realized I didn’t want to rely on a distributor,” Leone said. “I ended up creating my own distribution company by outsourcing most of the services.”

The Challenge

Leone started to import the soil product from India to different ports around the country. He quickly discovered that international shipping, especially in today’s climate, is challenging. “I couldn’t get my containers out of the ports on time,” he said. “It was a nightmare getting through customs and arranging for drivers to pick up the containers, and I was hit with demurrage fees.” He needed a 3PL partner with the knowledge and expertise to help him navigate through supply chain obstacles.

The Solution

Leone first contacted Evans in desperation. “I had containers coming into Detroit and I needed warehousing,” he said. Evans was able to accommodate their needs and take them on as a customer quickly. Over time, the partnership between Evans and Chair Coir began to blossom.

“Evans took me on at a certain level and they continue to provide more and more space during a critical time of growth for my business,” Leone says. This flexibility was key to building the Char Coir brand and vendor partnerships.

He also benefited from working with a capable 3PL. Evans was organized and had the systems in place from an operational and inventory management standpoint. “To have real-time visibility of my product was a breath of fresh air,” said Leone. 

Leone utilized Evans Logistics Inc., an in-house brokerage solution, to handle the inbound drayage from the ports. Evans moved 400 containers which helped Char Coir avoid late fees and control costs with consistent rates.

The Outcome

Char Coir works with other 3PLs across the country, but Evans Distribution Systems stands out as a leader. “We’ve shifted a lot of our business to Evans because of the quality of service that they provide,” said Leone. The flexibility to scale in the warehouse and the ability to control transportation costs have made it worthwhile for Char Coir to direct more product to Detroit.

(GrowGeneration is the parent company after acquiring Char Coir.)