Entrepreneurs seek to redefine the Oregon retail experience
By Patrick Wagner
PORTLAND, Ore. — Pat DeCastro and Steve Hall didn’t know much about Oregon before pulling up stakes and heading out west to open the Terpene Station.
“We saw that Oregon was obviously one of the next couple states that was going to go recreational,” said DeCastro, the company’s president. “Seeing the opportunity in the business, we decided to come to Oregon and get the experience here for when Ohio and Kentucky finally go medical and recreational.”
Company: Terpene Station
Owner: Pat DeCastro and Steve Hall
Location: Eugene and Portland, Oregon
Opened: Oct. 1 2015
DeCastro acquired two dispensaries, one in Portland and another in Eugene, that were struggling to stay afloat in the crowded Oregon market.
“I wish I would have followed my gut a little bit sooner and bought the shops maybe 60 to 90 days earlier,” he said.
He said he’s noticed that the vertically integrated stores seem to have an advantage.
“I think that we’ve seen that in every state that allows vertical integration,” he said. “But it still seems that the price point for top-shelf cannabis is pretty even around the city – whether you’re vertically integrated or not.”
“We go with what we know, and that’s on the retail side,” Hall added.
The Terpene Station shops are set up to let the customers engage with the product — “the flavor, the smells, how it looks to you,” DeCastro said. The look of both the Portland and Eugene stores were intended to be easily recognizable as part of the same chain. The design leans toward traditional high-end retail, including a wide-open space with hardwood floors and circular tables holding samples.
Although Terpene Station regularly uses design cues that evoke turn-of-the-century train stations for its advertising and marketing, DeCastro said he doesn’t want the stores to become themed dispensaries. He wants the shops to evolve over time.
DeCastro plans to have four or five more Terpene Stations open throughout Oregon by the end of 2016. Within the next few years, he hopes to be able to apply what he’s learned in Oregon to “follow the recreational dominoes as they fall” back east to Kentucky.