Location: Bellevue, Washington
BELLEVUE, Wash. — As one of the first marijuana retail stores to open in Washington, Green-Theory has had to be creative and flexible to remain among the state’s leaders.
“Everything was really good when we opened, but as time went on and new competitors opened up, we kept asking ourselves, ‘What more can we do?’” Green-Theory sales and marketing manager Rachel Emadi says.
That question has kept the Bellevue, Washington retail store constantly fine-tuning its relationships with both customers and vendors.
After two years of pushing to stay one step ahead of the competitors and bridge the gap between self-identifying stoners and business professionals, Green-Theory now plans to move its flagship location to another downtown Bellevue location and open a second location in the Factoria neighborhood.
At first, the store cultivated a boutique atmosphere that fit with the upscale shops in downtown Bellevue. The store has since dialed back the aesthetic to find a better equilibrium with a broad range of cannabis consumers.
Ever since Green Theory opened, Emadi says the company has been dealing with the stigma of being perceived as snobby because of its Bellevue location.
“Which has been very frustrating because, yes, it may be a really nice environment, but we are damn competitive in price,” Emadi says.
From this introspective process, Green-Theory devised strategies like price matching, loyalty programs and a number of other discounts for customers. The interior of the store retains small segments of its boutique past, subtly buried between the glass displays and steel shelves.
“We still want to cater to the soccer moms and professional crowd,” Emadi says. “But cannabis spans across every demographic.”
A similar change took place behind the counter at Green-Theory, as relationships with vendors have evolved into a multi-step process. The screening begins with private meetings and product applications, which Emadi admits, can be strenuous. But once a product makes it onto the sales floor, the team is committed to ensuring its success.
“If we bring the product on and it’s not working out, then maybe we’ll change the display a little bit and try bringing it to the forefront,” Emadi says. “If that’s not working, then maybe we can book you for a vendor day and get you in front of people’s faces. Or we can have you in for a vendor education session to get the team a little more focused on your product and how to sell it properly.”
The end goal is to protect both vendors and customers.
“We never want to close our doors to anybody, but at the same we really pride ourselves on having great relationships with our vendors so that we can pass savings down to our customers and have the constant product that they want, rather than jumping around from vendor to vendor,” she says. “We never want to burn bridges because we know that our relationships are everything.”