It’s not often a chief executive tells investors their company’s stock is vastly overvalued. But that’s just what Bruce Bedrick of West Hollywood’s MedBox Inc. did after a week that saw the company’s stock rise more than 4,000 percent.

Shares of MedBox, which makes ATM-like devices that dispense medical marijuana and other pharmaceuticals, opened at $4.75 on Nov. 12 and traded as high as $215 during that week. Shares later cooled, closing the week at $20 on Nov. 16. While those prices are based on trading of just a few thousand shares, the activity prompted Bedrick to advise investors that they should proceed with caution.

“Our fundamentals and market potential are improving … but we temper investor expectations at present price points,” he said in a statement.

He attributed the stock’s meteoric rise to an article on the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch website that mentioned MedBox as one of a few marijuana-related stocks that could do well in the wake of newly relaxed laws in Massachusetts, Washington state and Colorado.

That notion might have driven the stock’s run-up, but MedBox executives see much of the company’s potential growth coming from products not designed for dispensing marijuana.

Last month, the company announced it would create a new division, MedBox RX, to focus on new products used in pharmacies and doctors’ offices rather than marijuana dispensaries, such as a locker system that could be installed at pharmacies to allow customers to pick up prescriptions after business hours.

The company also unveiled a locker system designed to let online shoppers have packages delivered to a secure location instead of having packages left on a front porch. Lockers would be placed at grocery or convenience stores and would allow customers to pick up a package by typing in a security code or scanning their fingerprint.

Executives believe the locker system, called Safe Access Storage, and MedBox RX products will match or outpace sales of the company’s core MedBox marijuana dispensing system over the next few years.

“I think we always had an idea we were going to venture out,” said MedBox founder Vincent Mehdizadeh.

Blown Out

GIB LLC, the North Hollywood company behind the popular Brazilian Blowout brand of hair-straightening treatments, plans to move production of its product from Brazil to a local plant.

The company announced the move earlier this month, though it did not provide the name or location of the company that will manufacture Brazilian Blowout products.

Maya Pogoda, a spokeswoman for GIB, said the company has wanted to move production to the United States for some time.

“They want greater control over production,” she said. “It will make it that much easier to ensure the quality of the product.”

The company’s marquee product is Brazilian Blowout Açai Professional Smoothing Solution, a tonic that, in tandem with a hot iron, makes frizzy hair straight in about 90 minutes. But the heating process releases formaldehyde, and the product is banned in Canada and Europe.

GIB earlier this year settled lawsuits brought by the state Attorney General’s Office and by hair stylists. It had to pay more than $5 million and removed “formaldehyde free” claims from product packaging, but did not have to reformulate the product to prevent release of formaldehyde fumes.

In a statement, Michael Brady, chief executive of GIB, said the company will retain its formula when it begins production here.

“The only difference stylists will notice is a new sticker on the bottle which proudly reads ‘Made in the U.S.A.,’” he said.

Café Supremo

A few years after breaking into the specialty coffee market with its Don Francisco’s Family Reserve coffees, Vernon’s F. Gaviña & Sons Inc. is marketing an even more deluxe offering.

Called Artissimo, it’s a medium-dark roast coffee with beans only from Costa Rica’s central valley. The coffee went on sale last week in Albertsons stores in California and Bashas’ stores in Arizona.

Unlike the Family Reserve product line, Artissimo likely won’t be distributed nationally. Michael Gaviña, the family-owned company’s purchasing manager, said Artissimo uses only the best beans from a single region and that there isn’t enough for national distribution.

“This isn’t necessarily scalable,” he said. “When we’re buying this product from our supplier, it’s very limited.”

Even with limited distribution, Gaviña said Artissimo is a good bet for the company because coffee drinkers are increasingly interested in knowing where their beans come from.

“Our customers are more knowledgeable and they want more food traceability,” he said. “We see demand for it.”

Artissimo coffees are sold in 9-ounce bags for $5.99. That’s a smaller package, but the same price per ounce, as the company’s Family Reserve line, which comes in 12-ounce packages for $7.99

Staff reporter James Rufus Koren can be reached at jrkoren@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 225.

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