Returning to their roots: How a Hatfield cannabis manufacturing company has branched out

  • Mike Mullen, right, Slater Clark and Riley Price, left, bottle and package cannabis tinctures at Treeworks in Hatfield on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Treeworks founding owners Milo Childs Campolo, left, Tim Kane and Mackae Freeland, right, in their Hatfield shop where they produce cannabis tinctures. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Treeworks production and inventory manager Alec Bates, left, Slater Clark and Mike Mullen bottle and package cannabis tinctures at the Hatfield business, Oct. 14. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Cannabis tinctures made by Treeworks in Hatfield. Photographed on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Treeworks founding owners Tim Kane, seated at left, Milo Childs Campolo, center, and Mackae Freeland enjoy ping pong in the front room of their Hatfield shop where they produce cannabis tinctures on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Mike Mullen bottles cannabis tinctures at Treeworks in Hatfield on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Cannabis tinctures made by Treeworks in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Treeworks founding owners Milo Childs Campolo, left, Mackae Freeland, right, and Tim Kane, seated center, enjoy ping pong in the front room of their Hatfield shop where they produce cannabis tinctures on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

For the Gazette
Published: 10/27/2021 5:03:14 PM

When childhood friends Milo Childs Campolo, Mackae Freeland and Tim Kane dreamed up the idea for their cannabis product manufacturing company over four years ago, they were making oils and cannabinoid-infused kombucha from their home kitchen.

Two years later, they secured a license to open their manufacturing company, Treeworks, at 3 West St. in Hatfield and began the process of working toward their goal of having their products in dispensaries across the state.

Today, their wide array of products is available in 40 dispensaries spanning every corner of Massachusetts and what had originally begun as a vision within the three of them has now expanded to include 15 of their employees.

A little over three years ago, a profile of Treeworks, when they were at the very early stages of establishing the startup, appeared in the Valley Advocate. Since acquiring the licensure and opening the doors to their manufacturing facility in April of 2020, the company has experienced significant growth, as is evident in needing to add more than a dozen employees to make the products that are sold at dispensaries statewide.

Campolo, Freeland and Kane conceptualized the idea for what would become Treeworks while skiing in Utah, shortly after graduating college. But having each grown up in western Mass., they wanted the startup to be located in this region. That chance came in 2017 when Massachusetts legalized recreational cannabis.

Once they had come up with the concept, the logical next step for the entrepreneurial trio was to come up with a name that would be both grabbing and distinctive to their customer base. Kane explains how it was also crucial that the name be multi-faceted and incorporate their shared passion of adventuring outdoors while avoiding directly referencing cannabis in the title.

“Part of it is that we are all very much nature-lovers and outdoorsy type of people, so we wanted to call to a nature sounding name as well as some of the colloquial cannabis references to trees,” says Kane.

Their slogan of “Breathe in, branch out,” further ties into how they wanted to market the company, Freeland elaborates, noting that “smoking trees” is one common reference to cannabis. And by all accounts this particular marketing strategy has served them well.

From the beginning, Campolo, Freeland and Kane have aspired to create a cannabis product for everyone — particularly those with the non-traditional consumer in mind. Freeland explains how cannabis can offer so many benefits to the human body, aside from the ability to get one high, and he and his partners recognized the considerable gap in the market for alternative usage of the product.

“We decided to open a product manufacturing company because we recognized an opportunity in the market to create healthy, organic, local, and niche cannabis product,” Freeland says.

The Product Line

Treeworks currently produces an array of tinctures: Maple Drops, Daily Drops, Dream Drops and Purist Drops, through using a full-spectrum cannabis oil. The Maple Drops are local maple extract infused with the cannabis oil. The Daily Drops are comprised of a Sativa blend and are infused with ginseng, which makes them ideal for everyday usage with edibles to give consumers a burst of energy when needed. The Dream Drops are made from an Indica blend and is infused with chamomile and valerian root for use before bed to ensure users a deep, rejuvenating sleep. The Purist Drops are a hybrid blend made from a pure cannabis extract and can be used topically to help soothe aching joints or mixed into a food or drink.

Freeland explains that because they use a full-spectrum cannabis oil in the drops, the drops provide more overall benefits to the body than just the psychoactive component commonly associated with cannabis.

“THC distillates typically have just the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis,” Freeland says. “The oil which is the active ingredient in our tinctures is called Rick Simpson Oil, otherwise known as R.S.O., has a rich cannabinoid profile so it’s more than just the psychoactive component of the plant. And in our products, we have all the cannabinoids [of the plant] working together to create an ‘entourage’ effect; because the general public’s expectation is that cannabis is used to just get high and we are trying to create products that solve deeper issues, in some cases.”

According to Kane, the onset effects of the drops can occur anywhere between 15 and 90 minutes depending on the consumer and, similarly, the effects of the drops can last from three and six hours.

“We’re just trying to create the highest quality cannabis products that we can for a variety of users and a variety of applications,” Kane says.

Ringing true to their mission of appealing to the non-traditional cannabis consumer, their current best-selling product is the Dream Drops. In addition to new cannabis users, a significant portion of their consumer demographic are individuals who tried cannabis in the 1970s and ’80s but got deterred by the potency and effects of it, only to return to it decades later in a more user-friendly form.

They are currently working toward creating a live-resin completely solventless extraction set up and hope to expand their menu to include edibles and ointments soon.

The Community Created

While much of their success is due to the product line, the heart of the company exists in the friendship between Campolo, Freeland and Kane. While they have come a long way from the house in Hatfield that they began manufacturing out of, they wanted to hold onto the homelike elements in their current manufacturing facility; which includes a ping-pong table and basketball court. More importantly, they also want to expand their bonds of close-knit friendship to encompass their employees.

“As young entrepreneurs, it was important for us to create a culture and atmosphere that is fun, based around positive reinforcement and providing people with well-paying jobs,” Freeland says.

As a result of incorporating these philosophies, they had little to no difficulty finding employees. Freeland attributes the fostered environment with helping to attract the right candidates.

Alec Bates, the production manager, was hired in November of 2020 and was the first hire outside of the founders. Upon graduating from Johns Hopkins with a degree in molecular biology, Bates had difficulty getting his foot in the door of his chosen industry and was working in the restaurant industry. He met Freeland and Kane while working with them at Paul & Elizabeth’s in Northampton. And when they shared with him their plans for their budding business, Bates was immediately interested in the prospect of joining the venture.

“When the opportunity arose to change careers, I jumped at the opportunity to leave that industry,” Bates says. “I have been a recreational cannabis user for a couple of years now and have always been fascinated with the science associated with it.”

Bates currently oversees seven employees in his role as product manager, where he is responsible for overseeing all packaging and product creation and making sure that these two things are up to Treeworks’ standards. This includes making their own final products for sale as well as the R.S.O. they use to infuse the products with cannabis.

“I enjoy the team environment, I enjoy being challenged and I enjoy the feeling of bounding off into the unknown of a new industry,” Bates says.


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