Company Name: Blüm
Santa Ana, CA
Las Vegas, NV (Three locations: Western, Decatur, Desert Inn)
How would you describe your company? What is your specialty?
We pride ourselves on the experience we provide. We put a huge emphasis on making every customer feel like part of the family. Our staff loves helping people find exactly the product—and experience—they’re looking for, at an affordable price. And we don’t just talk about being part of the community; we get out there and do it. From food drives to being the first cannabis sponsor of Outside Lands, we’re part of our customers’ lives. It’s our goal to be everyone’s neighborhood spot.
What do you offer consumers/clients that others don’t?
Our people. Educated, well-trained and positive, with amazing energy. We have an incredibly low patient turnover, because we treat every person we meet like part of our family.
How and why did your company start up?
We were going through permitting in Oakland, California in 2011 when Oaksterdam was raided by the feds—a scary time. And in the middle of that drama . . . surprise! We were awarded our permit. We checked with the city of Oakland, who said, “Use it or lose it,” and nervously decided to move forward. We got into this industry to make sure people have safe access to the medicine they need, and we felt like the risk was worth it. A lot of credit goes to my partner, Derek Peterson. Blüm is not only one of the first vertically-integrated dispensaries, where we make many of the products we sell, but we’re the first publicly traded cannabis dispensary through Terra Tech Corp. A lot of that is due to Derek’s vision, which meant we’d be able to get better financing and scale up more easily.
I know that sounds like scary business-speak, but if you want to stay on the cutting-edge with products like concentrates, sauce, wax shatter—the technology to do it right isn’t cheap. So being able to finance cool new ideas easily has allowed us to keep up with everything our customers are into.
With the changing landscape of medical and recreational cannabis, what do you see as the biggest challenges to your progress as a company? Any advantages?
The challenges I see are more about the industry as a whole [rather] than Blüm in particular. On Jan. 1, taxes and fees are going to appear that no one will be happy about. And products—some of them beloved—aren’t going to be as potent, if they exist at all, because everyone’s subject to the same set of new regulations. On the bright side, banking regulations and amended tax codes are going to make our lives a lot easier. More importantly, California is the world’s sixth largest economy. When, not if, we prove legalization works, it’s going to change not only the country, but the world.
What words of advice would you offer anyone seeking to enter the world of cannabis business?
Manage your expectations, prepare for the worst and know who your partners are.
What are the goals and vision moving forward, for your company? Where do you see your company in five years?
We want to grow while ensuring we provide a consistent experience in every store. You should get the same level of service and choice in Reno that you do in Oakland. Part of that is continuing to hire great people, and part of it is partnering with consistent manufacturers on the cutting edge of cannabis and cannabis research.
In five years? More locations, hopefully in new states.
What do you hope to accomplish in the cannabis industry?
Blüm will always be known for great people who are willing to work with every customer to provide a better experience. That’s our difference today, and it always will be. If we can be known for our people, our knowledge and our commitment to the communities we serve, we’ll have accomplished a lot.