Last week we stopped in at Greenbuds, located on Sandy Blvd and 109th St, to get an inside perspective into the up and coming cannabis dispensary that at only 10 weeks old is already seeing regularly returning OMMP patients and recreational consumers. In addition to having a down-to-earth environment, we found that they offer some of the best and most exclusive top shelf strains in the city. Greenbuds is just starting to make their imprint in the Oregon Cannabis market, but has solid footing with retail knowledge and the right business mentality.
Greeted with beaming smiles and various literatures to read from while waiting to check in, we couldn’t wait to see what was on the other side of the door. Almost immediately we noticed the overall ambiance to be very serene and cozy. It has a very warm Home Sweet Home feeling. With an abundance of strains to choose from there’s no way anyone could walk out of here without feeling like they left Willy Wonka’s fanatical factory.
We sat down with Budtenders Andie and Arlo to get their insight into their daily action at Greenbuds, what customers are talking about, and their thoughts on where the cannabis industry currently stands.
What made you want to be a Budtender and get into the Cannabis Industry?
Arlo: I’ve been an OMMP cardholder for 4 and a half years, and have always been an advocate for the plant. Medical marijuana in general has so many benefits that I feel it is a match made in heaven working here at Greenbuds; to be able to defend the plant and also help so many people realize the types of ways it can be a benefit to their life. Being a cardholder, I have been in and out of many dispensaries around town and I was really fed up with the customer service being provided by some of the shops. Some of them didn’t know a lot about the products, so I thought “I could do this better” and I wanted to be part of the industry. I wanted to be in a professional environment and tried to find a good place that fit those needs that I liked. It’s a booming industry right now and it’s really taking off. I’m young enough that if I can get involved now I can get my foot in the door. I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I want to be apart of it.
Andie: I’ve always really enjoyed the plant. My whole life I worked in the service industry Bartending and Serving and thought that my previous work experience and knowledge of marijuana lent itself to try my hand in the cannabis industry and being a Budtender. It definitely helps a lot to have a background bartending because of the customer service element that is needed in order to please customers in a retail environment. It is one thing to be knowledgeable about marijuana, but another to guide your customer in the right direction every time they come into your shop. As a bartender, I would get a wide variation of customers each night and would have to identify their specific needs in order to make sure they left pleased with the service they got. The same is true with cannabis. With recreational marijuana just taking off, people are walking in and are not really sure what they want or even how to ask for it. It is our job as Budtenders to be able to identify what direction they want to take with their cannabis experience. It’s much more intricate than just sativa or indica.
We all love weed, but if you could tell us one aspect of the plant that you really have a passion for, what would it be?
Andie: Recently, I have been really into educating myself on the numerous terpenes that are apart of the genetics of each strain. One of the biggest misconceptions that we find is that people almost automatically associate a high THC percentage with the thought that the strain must be amazing. Sure, a strain with 28% THC will always get eyes glowing but what is more important is the terpene profile and makeup that a strain has. You can have a strain that has a mere 18% THC but has some amazing genetics and its’ effects will impact a person 10x harder.
Arlo: I love growing. The last strains I grew were Ripped Bubba, Girl Scout Cookies, and Agent Orange. This summer I will be growing Strawberry Cough, Blue Buddha, Agent Orange, and Green Crack. Having the knowledge of growing helps immensely when dealing with customers who come to Greenbuds. I am able to talk on different grow techniques, and give a little more in depth knowledge on certain strains if I am familiar with their growing techniques as well.
Let’s talk a little bit on the customers that have been coming in. What’s your demographic like; do you have a lot of first time users or regulars that come in? What are they talking about?
Andie: We have a pretty diverse variety of customers. Of course right now our recreational side of business is larger than OMMP medically, but even that side of things has been growing every week. As more people come in they realize the wide variety of products that we stock and tell their friends that we are a good place to check out. Word of mouth has been great to spread brand recognition, and we are somewhat close to the airport so we get a lot of people from all around the US. People come in for our specials as well. Most of the time once people have had a chance to come into the shop, once they’ve talked to us, and see how are prices are about 80-85% come back. We have a really good return rate.
Arlo: The customers have been great. I’d say that one of the most talked about issues right now is with the OMMP. It’s all over the cannabis newsfeeds that I read, and for patients it’s a very sensitive subject. This industry was built on the medical programs back, and for it to potentially crumble in front of our eyes is no good. Hopefully ruling is passed so that medical patients can continue to buy the products they need from recreational stores, because if they don’t…where will everyone go? Laws are changing all the time, and we try to do our part to keep our customers informed on what they ask about.
What are some of the customer’s favorite products or strains? What are some of yours?
Andie: The Jagermeister went really fast! Everyone really likes “sour” strains, and pre-rolls. The pre-rolls sell really quickly. It’s so easy..it’s like grabbing gum for the road (pre-rolls). TJ’s Organics does a real good job though with their pre-rolls and our customers love their work. Vaporizers do really well also. We’ve sold a lot of Pax Vaporizers, they are really popular even considering their price. The Strong Silicone bongs are pretty popular as well, we’re actually doing a giveaway for the Strong Silicone bongs. Every time you make a purchase you can enter for a chance to win a Strong Silicone bong.
As far as strains I like, I really liked the Mango Kush that we had. I’ve been smoking for a while and I’ve never had flower that was this fantastic. The smell was great, it had this explosive tangy pungent mango smell, and the taste was exactly like the smell. Broke my heart to see it sell out so fast.
Arlo: There’s a lot of cool products like Sour Bhotz or taffys. The vape pen market is exploding. It is such an easy device to use and a no brainer for anyone on the go. It seems like brands like Golden Xtrx, Co2 Company, Dab Society, and Lunchbox Alchemy are all becoming household names as well. It will be real interesting to see where some of these major companies are in a couple of years. I’m really a flower guy at heart though. I love smoking joints. I love rolling them and I love smoking them. At home I usually use a triple showerhead bong, but I love rolling joints.
As far as farms go, Master Gardens is pretty good, Wicked Farms is nice, Eastwood Farms, The Height Company is good. LionTree has some good stuff. As far as breeders, TGA Genetics, love the Green Avenger, Barney’s Farm, Greenhouse Seeds.
In a market where there is a dispensary almost every 1,000 feet, what makes Greenbuds stand out?
Andie: Our owners Chris and Steve took a lot of time to find employees who actually cared about the industry and what they’re doing. And I feel like that really shows in the way that we work as a team. We really care about our customers and everyone who comes through the door. A lot of people really like the fact that we take our time, you definitely get what you pay for, and we try to get to know everyone by name. We want to make people feel like they’re our friends and they’re at home. You can come here and we’re gonna take care of you.
Arlo: I think what we do here is different. We went around to a lot of the shops and I think weed is way too expensive for people. We cut the price as much as we can and we didn’t change our prices when tax went into effect. We are there for the recreational consumers and the medical patients. We have some crazy deals here and are working to offer a lot of variety into the deals. We usually have 4 strains that are discounted, but even our regularly priced items could be considered a deal! When you come here our stuff is just as good with the price cut in half.
We’re the one stop shop for cannabis, when you come here you can buy bongs, you can get your papers, your lighters, you can get your weed. Most other shops don’t offer pieces, books (for educational purposes like growing), we offer as many accessories as we can find. We’re trying to get every aspect of cannabis in here.
Since you’ve been in the industry, have you seen anything that you think could be improved?
Andie: Primarily, the amount of time it takes for medical patients to get their cards. That’s something that’s been a problem. To be on a waiting list for months and then finally getting your card, that’s an issue for people that need their medicine. Another thing that we touched on earlier but is still relevant is separating medical and recreational completely. I don’t think that’s a good idea, because so many shops would suffer by staying strictly medical and not catering to the recreational users. It’s going to be hard and frustrating because no one knows what to expect or how to plan for anything with all the changes happening.
Arlo: I would like to see the industry be able to use a bank, have the ability to run credit cards at the very least. That’d be nice… It is unfortunate that the Clean Air Act was just recently passed and does not allow for consumption indoors. I think it’s weird that you can’t vape indoors. It seems so harmless…
Andie and Arlo have their heads in the right place. Its’ budtenders like them that will help elevate the industry, and reduce the stigma that surrounds the world of cannabis. From cannabis products (flower, concentrates, edibles, topicals) to accessories and literature, Greenbuds has some amazing products and are very reasonably priced.