PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. — Greg Brotherton estimates there might only be 600 residents within 10 miles of the marijuana retail store he manages in Port Townsend, Washington. But over the past two years, Sea Change Cannabis has served about 200 customers on a daily basis.
Company: Sea Change Cannabis
Owners: Greg Brotherton, investors
Location: Port Townsend, Washington
Not only was Sea Change one of the first rec stores in the state, but at just 150 square feet, it’s quite possibly the smallest marijuana retailer in the country.
“It’s a bustling little shop,” Brotherton says. “On the first day, we had lines longer than stores twice our size, because … well, you know … people couldn’t fit inside.”
The location had seen several small drive-through businesses move in and out before a friend suggested that Brotherton should open an organic grocery store on the property.
“When I saw the little log cabin (next to the grocery store), I said ‘Yeah, I’ll help you open a grocery store here, if I can put in for the retail lottery with this little log cabin,” Brotherton says.
Thanks to the small population of the area and “a little bit of serendipity,” Brotherton won the retail lottery for Jefferson County and opened the store on July 27, 2014.
Brotherton had already operated a successful grocery store in Seattle, so he found the transition to selling cannabis an “easy move to make.” He originally planned to use the building’s drive-through potential and roadside location to quickly serve customers. However, to Brotherton’s chagrin, state rules prohibited the drive-through model.
Despite its size, Sea Change Cannabis always has at least two employees onsite during business hours.
The company relies on vertical displays from the floor to the ceiling to make room for as many customers as possible.
“You know, the fire marshal never gave us a capacity,” Brotherton says as he mentally tallies the number of customers that can fit inside the store. It turns out that six customers and four employees are about the most the space can accommodate.
Brotherton and his associates have also continued to develop the small shopping complex nearby, opening Disco Bay Detour, a tavern with live music and a recording studio, in July.
By contributing positively to the community in the wake of legalization, Brotherton hopes the pro-cannabis movement will spread to the federal level.
“That’s why we’re ‘Sea Change,’” he says. “I think this is the beginning of a cultural shift.”