Native Roots opens 11th marijuana dispensary in Dillon
Rhett Jordan spun a Native Roots sign around his body for a moment and flashed it at passing cars in Dillon on Sunday afternoon, trying to entice them to stop by Summit County’s newest marijuana dispensary.
The co-owner of the state’s largest cannabis chain quickly handed off sign duties to a friend and returned to talking with employees and clients at the grand opening celebration of the newest store.
Meanwhile, his mom, Rollie, picked wildflowers and placed them in green water bottles on the tables outside.
“He’s very, very fastidious,” she said, describing her son’s approach to the cannabis stores, which feature signature black-and-white wallpaper. “This is like the Starbucks of pot shops.”
Native Roots opened its 11th dispensary in Dillon on Wednesday, July 29, and the company held a grand opening party featuring live music, prize giveaways and free lobster rolls on Sunday, Aug. 9.
“Plans are to make Native Roots the go-to cannabis brand in Colorado,” said Jordan, who opened his first medical dispensary in 2009 on 16th Street in Denver with business partner Josh Ginsberg.
Kristen Le, the company’s marketing director, said Native Roots has no plans to slow down. The company will open a few more stores later this year in Colorado Springs and Littleton.
Jordan said part of the reason the company is growing so rapidly is because the Colorado towns that do allow dispensaries permit them in few locations, which cannabis businesses must act fast to secure.
In Dillon, Native Roots obtained a license, along with two other dispensaries, before the town quashed retail marijuana business applications in July with a moratorium.
The town will have no more than three dispensaries for at least the next year after the Dillon Town Council voted 6-1 to suspend retail marijuana license approvals through September 2016.
Alpenglow Premium Cannabis became the first dispensary in Dillon when the Breckenridge store opened its new location in February. Colorado Springs-based Altitude Organic Medicine will be the third dispensary to open later this year just up Little Beaver Trail from Native Roots.
Council members worried that Dillon would be negatively impacted as one of the last remaining Summit County towns with space for new stores. Without the moratorium, the town has about two-dozen lots where dispensaries could potentially open, as they are more than 300 feet away from a school, park or residential area.
The rest of Summit County is now also home to one dispensary nearby in Silverthorne, two in Frisco and four in Breckenridge.
Native Roots bought its building and 0.7-acre lot in March for $750,000 through Vail real estate attorney Jon Boord under the name 850 Little Beaver Trail Inc. The company is now the landlord for three other tenants in the three-story building, including two pet businesses and a hair salon.
Dispensaries have been noted for revitalizing some commercial areas in mountain communities, and one local business owner in Eagle-Vail recently called the strip a dying entity before the dispensaries arrived and businesses started moving in again.
Native Roots Dillon saw no public opposition from other local businesses or residents, and town representatives noted that throughout the several-month duration of discussion on the moratorium, no citizens weighed in with opinions either for or against.
The store’s move has gone publicly unchallenged by the three-story Super 8 hotel across the street. In contrast, a battle in Frisco this past winter between the Holiday Inn and Medical Marijuana of the Rockies shut down the county’s oldest marijuana dispensary in April.
Jordan said the Dillon council’s decision made sense and didn’t think the cannabis markets in Colorado’s small mountain towns could support more than a handful of dispensaries.
‘FOCUSED ON COLORADO’
The company has standardized its stores to have a cleaner, more upscale approach than other dispensaries, Jordan said, that all have the same products and the same energy from employees.
One of the budtenders, Christina Sullivan, said she previously worked at High Country Healing in Silverthorne and finds the two companies offer different products and different approaches.
For example, she said, High Country Healing measures out exact amounts of flower, while Native Roots offers customers pre-measured amounts in multiples of grams or eighths. Native Roots also carries some products other dispensaries don’t, like extracts made with coconut oil and a bud collaboration with electronic music producer Griz.
Jordan said Native Roots is focused on vertical integration. The company grows 100 percent of the cannabis it sells and makes all of its extracts, some edible products and a vape pen.
The company plans to open gas-and-grass stations in the Colorado Springs area in the coming months and will be the first company in the state to offer the combination service.
He expects prices to fall as the company grows. The recreational cannabis store sells bud starting at $60 an eighth and has not yet finalized its locals discount, but the store offered a 50-percent discount Sunday.
“We’ll always strive to be the most competitive in town,” Jordan said.
The town of Dillon prohibited the store from selling medical marijuana, but he said the store will honor prices for those with medical cards. Medical customers are exempt from the state’s 25-percent sales tax on recreational products, and those who seek the privacy of a divided facility can visit Native Roots’ larger store in Frisco.
Jordan would say little about the company’s future plans for expansion to other states, and said Native Roots is honing in before spreading out.
“We’re heavily focused on Colorado,” he said. “Colorado is where we feel comfortable right now.”
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