By Patrick Wagner
TACOMA, Wash. — Adam Schmidt worked at a dispensary for three weeks before realizing that’s what he wanted to do. A former artist for hire, Schmidt worked with steel to create signs for businesses and would contract to do more personalized artwork for people’s homes. Like many, Schmidt found himself working with marijuana because it was a healing agent prescribed to a loved one.
Schmidt now owns and operates Clear Choice Cannabis, Tacoma’s most profitable recreational store.
“My main reason for getting into the medical side was that I had a brother who was addicted to prescription medication and he passed away about six months before we opened our collective,” Schmidt said. “That made me have a little more motivation to help people get off of prescription medication with cannabis.”
Schmidt opened his first medical dispensary with the help of Shawn Sortland back in January of 2013. After operating the location for a couple years he capitalized on the opportunity to transform his dispensary into one of the first recreational storefronts to open in Washington.
The success behind Clear Choice can be partly attributed to its location between two noteworthy retail landmarks visible from Interstate 5, the Bass Pro Shop and Hustler Hollywood. It’s the same location where Schmidt operated his dispensary.
Staying in compliance is Schmidt’s primary focus for the business, but in terms of day-to-day operations, he believes customer service is vital to engage repeat customers.
“Customer service is absolutely number one,” he said. “Provide people with a good experience and they’ll come back for sure.”
Schmidt transformed his former dispensary into a recreational store by repurposing his old grow room into the main sales windows for customers. By doing so he created display areas out of the former sales counters for visitors to explore product and glass options without bottlenecking the shoppers that just want to pop in and out for a quick purchase.
Leaning on his background in art, Schmidt created a lot of the store’s visual elements throughout the floor plan, including the impressive steel work in the lobby and interior that was done with a plasma cutter. But he didn’t take all of the limelight for himself as visitors are immediately wowed by a wall of intricate glasswork displays along both sides of his sales floor, the centerpiece of which is a massive, glass-blown, assault rifle by Robert Nicholson.
“That actually cost $25,000 dollars. It’s a pretty rare piece. He only made one of them,” Schmidt said. “We mainly had it for our customers because there is not many places you can go and actually see something like that. We have had people drive up here from California just to look at it.”
But before purchasing anymore artisan weapons of war, Schmidt is looking forward to expanding outside of the Tacoma market.
“We are definitely looking for other license opportunities,” Schmidt said. “We definitely want to expand into the major markets, like Seattle, I want to be there.”