Another major event has come and gone and as predicted, the eclipse was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A huge influx of people came to the Bend area for what was a breathtaking two minutes many will never see again.
My team was flooded with news reports predicting traffic gridlock that could make a 20-minute commute last up to eight hours. There was even talk among the staff that sleeping at the shop the night before the eclipse might be the only way to ensure they’d be on hand to open.But in the end, there was one day of gridlock on one highway out of town for travelers headed to a local festival. The traffic in town during the week leading up to the eclipse, and the day of, was normal to almost non-existent in some cases. Social media posts were popping up showing empty streets with no cars as locals started to mock, “Where is all the traffic?”
As a retail store owner, I have seen this time and time again: An event or date gets hyped beyond the point of realism. Prior to the event, I had to remind the staff the hype is good to prepare for, but to heed only half of what you hear. Like the Y2K scare, the excitement of a major event can lead to overstocking and overstaffing that doesn’t match reality.
Coming from the bar/restaurant world, I know the hardest thing is to not overreact to events or holidays. You have to prepare for your worst-case scenario. My worst-case scenario is running out of product with no resources to replenish. To prepare, my management team did an excellent job of increasing inventory and nailing down farms that were committed to delivering product. In the end, we had the inventory we needed and deliveries were not a problem. Yes, we were very busy, but our cash isn’t tied up with excess inventory.
Best of all, my employees didn’t have to sleep at work. It was a great effort on their part for preparing for our assessment of a worst-case scenario and keeping a little faith in my predictions.
During the eclipse hype, my family took a trip to Poland for some needed time off before school started again. On this trip, I found a retail store that was selling CBD products, cannabis literature, accessories and hemp clothing in a small town called Zakopane in southwest Poland. It is a destination town for skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer. I highly recommend the area for anyone who loves the outdoors. The shop was clean and well put together.
My brother and I introduced ourselves and after breaking the language barrier, we were able to talk about our two businesses. We traded stickers and had a great conversation about the new laws that were coming to Poland in October. They were excited for the change because like most shops prior to recreational sales, the shop revenue is not particularly high. For us, we enjoyed hearing their stories and concerns. Much of what we heard was the same for us three years ago. We assured them their hard work will pay off.
But it was great to see firsthand the positive movement for cannabis was not just in our country but around the world.