The leadership scholar and author John Gardner once said that the future is not shaped by wide-eyed optimism; it’s determined by tough-minded people with original ideas, deep convictions and resilience in the face of change. If true, then John and Amy Andrle’s cautious 2009 start of L’Eagle Services may result in much more than a successful cannabis business; it could fuel the fire for building a more environmentally sustainable industry, and for promoting and certifying ‘organic’ cannabis.
John Andrle began with one room for cannabis cultivation, built with funds drawn from a small personal loan. Amy kept her full-time job to sustain the couple through the start-up phase, giving them time to gain traction and see how government would treat Colorado’s nascent cannabis industry.
Every time L’Eagle earned a profit, they plowed it back into the business, funding growth mostly on the pay-as-you-go plan. Room by room, they evolved into a 10,000-square-foot cannabis cultivation facility and a dispensary. By 2013—the same year the couple had their first baby—the business had grown so much that Amy quit her job and went to