Located in Tacoma’s busy Sixth Avenue District, Mary Mart has been a staple of the city’s cannabis scene — and its nightlife — since the business opened in September 2014.
The bright and spacious store has a wide selection of cannabis products that rotates through more than 100 vendors, covering every segment of the industry and keeping regulars interested in seeing new additions to the shelves. Mary Mart showcases its entire inventory along 10 blackboards that canvas the interior walls.
“We ensure that as soon as you enter you feel welcomed and prepared,” says Misha Jones, Mary Mart’s head of PR and marketing. “The store layout is like a grocery store: You can hop in any line and be thoroughly helped by one of our amazing and knowledgeable budtenders.”
Many customers find Mary Mart to be convenient because it’s one of the few businesses in the dense neighborhood to have allocated parking spaces, making it an easy destination for customers commuting by foot or by car.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the store’s spacious interior and eight registers — including one dedicated to online orders — help maintain compliance with social distancing requirements and ensure customers have a low-stress, comfortable shopping experience. But in less strenuous times, the sales floor doubled as a small venue for musicians during Mary Mart’s monthly “Musician Hour,” where customers could hear sets from DJs, acoustic performers and hip-hop artists. The monthly event also hosted live art demonstrations, free massages, stand-up comedy and spoken-word performances. The space fits well with the surrounding business district that includes numerous cafés and restaurants and has become a central hub for the entire city of Tacoma.
“This district has developed into a thriving, bright and close-knit area,” Jones says.
The entertainment at Mary Mart is just one part of the company’s overall objectives: engage with the local community, provide excellent customer service and educate people about cannabis.
Having opened in September 2014 during the state’s first wave of cannabis retailers, Mary Mart recently celebrated its sixth birthday, marking the store as one of Washington’s oldest recreational cannabis retailers.
Mary Mart was initially located in a storefront across the street from where the retailer now operates, but when Washington regulators put an end to unlicensed medical dispensaries, the prior tenants, OG Tacoma Co-Op, had no choice but to vacate the building. Mary Mart’s owners were quick to take over the property.
Mary Mart has spent years pushing its education efforts both in store and online. Prior to COVID, the store hosted an onsite education hour where customers could get a free lesson in Cannabis 101. To date, the business has published 30 educational articles covering everything from how parents can discuss cannabis with their children to marijuana’s long history with the LGBTQIA+ community.
In an effort to help give some much-needed relief during 2020, Mary Mart hosted a food drive for Nourish Pierce County, a nonprofit that operates 23 local food banks and provides food to children, seniors and people living below the poverty line.
Mary Mart’s Musicians’ Hour was initially titled “Mary Mart’s Got Talent.” Much like the popular reality show “America’s Got Talent,” the reoccurring event was indeed a talent show where local performers would showcase their skills, though unlike the television show, the contestants were simply there to perform without the promise of any reward.
“What sets us apart from many other shops is our customer service and heavy emphasis on cannabis education, inclusivity and community service,” Jones says. “We are deeply connected to the Tacoma community and work closely with our partners to ensure best business practices and offerings. We really do treat our staff and customers like family as our team greatly understands the value of synergy.”