First statewide marijuana dispensary chain comes to Summit County |

First statewide marijuana dispensary chain comes to Summit County

Native Roots owner Rhett Jordan walks through the branded front hallway of his newest dispensary in Frisco. The location joins four additional stores across the state, including the chain's first mountain dispensary in EagleVail.
Phil Lindeman / |

It was only a matter of time before an abandoned fast-food restaurant became a marijuana dispensary.

Early next week, the Denver-based dispensary Native Roots opens its fifth location, at the old A&W on Summit Boulevard in Frisco. Gone are the fryers and flattops, replaced by glass cases, sleek wall coverings and, once everything with the town government is squared away, marijuana from the dispensary’s list of nearly 100 strains, not to mention a signature vape pen and dozens of infused products. And yes, that includes edibles — just not the deep-fried kind.

Munchies aside, owner Rhett Jordan wants his second alpine dispensary to become a sort of “Native Roots supercenter” for the Interstate 70 corridor. It builds off the success of the wildly popular EagleVail location, which became the second retail dispensary in Eagle County when it opened for business in early August. It also joins two long-running Frisco dispensaries, Medical Marijuana of the Rockies and Herbal Bliss, both of which have been in business since the advent of medical marijuana in 2009.

“Frisco will be one of our largest, nicest stores we’ve built to date,” said Jordan, who opened his first medical dispensary in 2009 with his business partner, Josh Ginsberg. “I don’t know that it stands out from other Native Roots, but we built it to perfection from the lessons we’ve learned from the other stores. As time goes on, we keep getting better and better.”

Like the EagleVail location, the Frisco Native Roots will carry just about everything found in Front Range stores, like the popular indica Snoop Dogg OG. It’s part of Jordan’s plan for his fast-growing chain: Quality and selection need to be the same from dispensary to dispensary, town to town.

Coincidentally, that’s a mentality shared by the restaurant industry — including the now-defunct A&W, at least in concept. Jordan said he hopes Native Roots can help revitalize the strip of Highway 9 where the new store sits, much as the Eagle County location breathed life into the struggling EagleVail business district.

“I know that the building has been an eyesore for the past few years, so we put a lot of effort into making it feel upscale and classy,” Jordan said. “It has the Native Roots touch, that branded seal we go for.”

And the branding will be hard to miss. Once the dispensary opens for business, Jordan will strip sheets of brown butcher paper from the windows to reveal the chain’s signature black-and-white wallpaper, a chic, urbane touch that’s lured musical icons like Afroman and Korn to the flagship 16th Street dispensary in downtown Denver.

As the retail marijuana industry continues to evolve, Native Roots has earned a reputation as the sleek, modern alternative to Deadhead-style pot shops. Still, Jordan continues serving medical patients, and the Frisco dispensary will be one of the few in the mountains with two separate rooms, one for retail users and one for red-card holders. This opens the dispensary to legal users as young as 18 years old.

Pricing isn’t final, but again, Jordan said he expects it to be in line with other Native Roots stores across the state. In EagleVail, an 8-ounce starts at $60, with discounts of up to $20 for locals.

Native Roots Frisco is just the start.

Come 2015, once retail marijuana has been legal for a full year, Jordan has plans to open two additional Denver locations and a third mountain location in downtown Aspen. “It is always a challenge to make sure you’re doing what’s best for the community, and everyone wants it differently depending on where you live,” Jordan said. “But that’s what Native Roots is all about. We’re in this to work together with the communities to make sure we respect them and respect the clients and patients.”

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