Strawberry Fields (Pueblo North)
2285 N. Interstate 25, Pueblo, 81008
Interviewed: Mike Kwesell, Owner
Top-Selling Concentrate [optional]: Strawberry Fields Extracts
How and when did your dispensary start up?
We started Strawberry Fields in 2010. My brother and I decided to get into the marijuana business in late 2009. We took a few retired couples who wanted us to grow for them to go see a doctor in Southern Colorado so they could get their medical cards and make us their caregiver. From there we drove straight to Denver and bought six clones and that was the very beginning of Strawberry Fields. From that point we just kept reinvesting every dollar we could scrape together and today we employ upwards of 60 people spread out throughout our stores, grows and labs.
What’s the story behind the name of your shop?
In the beginning, it seemed like every single shop was some kind of clever combination of the words “cannabis,” “care,” “green” and “wellness” and so we wanted something that was completely different and that would stand out.
What does your dispensary offer patients that they can’t find anywhere else?
We control 100 percent of our own supply chain, so we are able to offer our customers a product that we can truly stand behind. We use zero pesticides at our production facilities and have a rigorous bio-control program we have put into place so that we can bring our customers the cleanest, safest marijuana possible. This also lets us produce extracts that are safe, clean and have a strong bouquet to them.
What are the biggest challenges you face in this industry as a dispensary? Biggest joys?
There are several big challenges we face in this industry. Some of our biggest hurdles are the monthly excise taxes that stand-alone production facilities face, year end taxes once 280e has been considered and human resource management. We have some of the best people we’ve ever met working for us but it’s still a challenge keeping everybody focused and motivated at the workplace. We always try to reiterate professionalism and create an environment where our employees are challenged and can thrive. Some of the biggest joys we get from our work is making our customers happy and seeing repeat business—for us, there is no greater compliment. We also get tremendous satisfaction out of the fact that our little company supports a lot of families throughout the state and we have people who are thriving in their roles as employees and managers.
What is the one thing you want patients to know about your dispensary?
We feel it’s important that our patients know that we have been operating in the Colorado regulated environment for almost eight years and that we have learned how to comply with all the state’s laws while still being able to bring a fabulous array of products to market, everything from bud to concentrates. When patients come into our stores, they are greeted by highly-trained support staff wearing a professional uniform and a smile and who are all trained to make our customers feel like they receive the royal treatment.
If someone wanted to open a dispensary and get their feet wet in the industry, what advice or counsel would you give them?
I would encourage them to strongly consider what their motivations are for getting into this industry—nine out of 10 times people fall prey to the false illusion that one can make a quick fortune in the marijuana business, which is simply not the case. These days, we’re basically selling produce at produce margins by the time all taxes and overhead are accounted for. Add that to the whole issue of legal liability plus the regulated environment in which the industry exists and the potential for pitfalls and the whole idea can deflate itself pretty quickly. If one can step back and really look at this industry from a disinterested, objective standpoint, it becomes readily apparent that there are much safer bets out there in traditional, time-honored markets and industries.
What is the most important thing you hope to accomplish while in the MJ/MMJ community?
We have already witnessed first-hand the multitude of ways that marijuana has benefited our patients and customers. We have loyal customers that have been coming to us for years that have been able to conquer their addictions to narcotic-based pain killers. We strive every day to continue this trend. Additionally, we want to build the type of company where our employees can make a sustainable income and build a life for themselves that is fulfilling and in which they have the time and resources to enjoy their lives.