Rarely do I get the chance to read through all my emails every morning, but one morning I happened to read an email regarding a raid the previous day on a cannabis retailer in Corvallis, Oregon. The DEA and Oregon Liquor Control Commission closed the shop because of alleged fraud and shipping cannabis across state lines.
The shop is in the Willamette Valley, on the west side of the Cascade Mountains. It is roughly a three-hour drive from our location in Bend. For some vendors, the mountain pass through the Cascades can be very difficult to cross during the winter months. So, dispensaries on the east side of the Cascade Mountains may never carry products you see on the shelves in the valley. It can become a disconnect for those traveling for vacation to Bend, looking for the same brands they use back home.
So there I am, staring at the picture of DEA agents in front of the cannabis shop and it was at that moment I realized this was an opportunity. I knew the location but had no idea who owned the building or whom to contact. There was one more problem: the OLCC was closing application submittal on June 15. Any application submitted after June 15 would be placed on hold with no timeline to process the application. I was on a time crunch of huge proportions, with less than 48 hours to complete everything.
Thanks to Google, I was able to track down the company that owned the building, then an article on the owner of the company, and finally a court document with the owner’s phone number. I made the cold call and introduced myself to the owner of the building. He had no idea what had happened, so I explained what was going on with his building/tenant. I then let him know I was interested if he needed a tenant. He was appreciative of the information and put me in touch with the management company overseeing the building. From there, I was able to strike a new lease, draft building plans and complete and submit all forms by the June 15 deadline.
It was a crazy two days, but we did it. We knew our next location had to be on the west side of the Cascade Mountains. Establishing a statewide brand identity is our goal. We see vacationers every day at the shop and we ask how they heard about us. The most common responses are “We saw you on social media” and “We were driving by on our way to the mountain.”
Reviews and our location are key points for vacationers finding us, but most travelers add, “We wish you guys were closer to us.”
Don’t worry, we are working on it.
The miracle is in the greens.