Business name: Golden Leaf
Location: Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Number of stores: Two (one medical, one recreational)
Date first store opened:
Medical: August 2009
Recreational: February 2013
Type: Medical and recreational
Owners: Golden Anderson and Charlie Magnuson
Managers: Kensey Ayde, Paige O’Brien, Chris Franges and Austin Fauskee
Number of employees: 33
Medical: 644 square feet
Recreational: 1,296 square feet
Average number of patients or customers/day:
Most important lesson learned: “Just to always go with the flow. Literally, every day brings something new.” — Kensey Ayde, store manager
It’s the off-season in the resort town of Steamboat Springs, Colo., but you wouldn’t know it by observing the flurry of activity at Golden Leaf. Budtenders assist a steady stream of customers on the sales floor. In the administrative office, Store Manager Kensey Ayde fields a volley of calls.
Ayde is one of four managers at the bustling company, which houses separate recreational and medical areas at a single location. She’s learned the importance of being nimble in the face of change, one of the few constants in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. But as the industry has grown, so has Golden Leaf. Adapting to change is just part of the business.
Operating a cannabis business comes with its own unique set of challenges. Golden Leaf and its staff of more than 30 employees are no exception.
One of the greatest challenges the company faces is working with disruptions in the supply chain. Trim shortages, as well as issues with testing and compliance, can mean that popular products aren’t always available when customers want them. Even something as mundane as a winter storm can stall deliveries of high-demand products.
“I think everyone feels the pain when an edible producer or concentrate manufacturer runs out of products, or runs into testing hiccups and labeling issues,” Ayde said. “It happens all the time, and it’s hard when you’re selling something like crazy, and when you get in touch with the distributor again, they say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, we won’t be able to deliver to you for another two weeks.’”
To counteract these issues, the company tries to keep a wide range of products on hand at all times. This includes including concentrates, edibles, vape products and accessories, and a large selection of buds.
The lack of venues to legally consume cannabis also presents a problem for customers, particularly those from out-of-state. Golden Leaf staff members often field questions from visitors about where they can consume the cannabis they purchase.
“That’s a tough question,” Ayde said. Smoking cannabis is prohibited in many places, including federal land and personal vehicles. The lack of cannabis-friendly hotels compounds the problem. “I’d really like to see cafés or bars where you’re welcome to enjoy cannabis there,” she said.
Tourism has long been an economic driver in the mountain resort town of Steamboat Springs. However, the legalization of cannabis has given visitors another reason to stop here. Ayde said she’s seen more tourists coming to Colorado to experience cannabis.
She believes the town’s established status as a resort destination is one reason why Golden Leaf enjoys steady business. Another reason, said co-owner Charlie Magnuson, is its commitment to high-quality products.
When the enterprise started, Golden Leaf averaged 10 customers per day, he said. Compare that to now, when a normal day brings in an average of more than 220 recreational customers and 45 medical patients.
It’s not just the number of customers that has changed, either. “More and more people are coming in, different types of people,” Magnuson said.
Ayde echoed his statement. “I feel like we see everyone here,” she said, adding that Golden Leaf’s clientele comes from a wide demographic range. She estimated that a majority of their customers are older than 40, which runs contrary to many prevailing stereotypes about cannabis consumers.
“We really get to help all walks of life every day,” Ayde said.
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