Arizona transplant helps lead growing Oregon retail chain
One of the defining moments of Caleb Tice’s life was when he mustered up the courage to leave his home state of Arizona in January 2016 for the business opportunities presented by Oregon’s rapidly developing cannabis industry.
“Phoenix had been my home forever,” Tice says. “I took a risk in changing my environment and selling everything of mine that couldn’t fit in my four-door Chevy Cruze. I grew up in the desert and it was just time for a change.”
Tice, 33, is the director of operations for Foster Buds, a state-licensed marijuana retailer with two locations in Portland. He oversees day-to-day operations of the retail chain, including employee training and management, handling regulatory compliance, managing inventory and working with vendors.
Because he’s familiar with every aspect of the company from entry-level positions to management, he spends a lot of time coaching his workers and keeping the operation ready for inspections and audits.
Foster Buds finance manager Robert Guarneri describes Tice as a diligent, responsible manager.
“He gets everybody excited about being busy, even when it’s not very busy in the store,” Guarneri says. “He is compassionate because he puts himself in employees’ shoes, but he is not a pushover. He expects feedback from tasks managers are assigned. Caleb is at the top (of the company), but his personality trickles down to the floor employees.”
Tice says he’s a predictable kind of guy. His daily routine consists of waking up early with coffee and meditation at about 6 a.m., followed by checking his calendar and reading over his to-do list.
“I motivate myself by knowing what I’m capable of and not slacking,” Tice says.
Tice credits his father as being his biggest inspiration in life and helping him develop into the leader he is today.
“My dad had four kids by the age of 33 and worked full-time,” Tice says. “Just knowing his work ethic inspired me.”
Tice earned a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. He gained his first experience managing dispensaries in 2011, after an investment group that included him and his father won the lottery for one of Arizona’s early medical marijuana licenses. Together, they founded SWC Tempe and later helped start SWC Prescott.
Those dispensaries have since been sold, but the extensive, two-year process would have been wasted if their application wasn’t selected. He and his father applied for licenses in both Tempe and Flagstaff, where the winning applicants were selected by the random draw of a ping-pong ball. They’d already missed out on the two opportunities in Flagstaff by the time the Tempe drawing occurred.
“It was fate,” Tice says of the SWC Tempe entry being the only entry selected out of about 10 other applicants.
“The entire experience was surreal,” Tice says. “We were very fortunate in every step of the process, not just the lottery.”