The Evergreen Market-Auburn
402 16th Street NE, Suite A-100, Auburn, 98002
Interviewed (name and title): Eric Gaston, Founder
Top-Selling Strain: Mad Mark, Blue Berry
Top-Selling Concentrate: Optimum Cartridge, Super Silver Haze
Top-Selling Edible: Honu, S’Mores
How and when did your dispensary start up?
We founded the Evergreen Market in 2014 and launched our first store in Renton in April of 2015.
What’s the story behind the name of your dispensary?
We wanted our brand to reflect the uniqueness and character of the pacific northwest and Washington State (which is the “Evergreen State”).
What does your dispensary offer patients that they can’t find anywhere else?
Our core values are educate, celebrate and elevate. From the beginning, it has been very important to us to work with growers and producers who are passionate about what they do, and who create an end product that reflects their passion and love of cannabis. Our role at the shop is to educate our customers on these products and growers, to celebrate this industry and to elevate the lives of everyone who touches our store (be it our customers, our employees, or our vendor partners).
How has the cannabis industry in Washington changed since you have been in the business? Where would you like to see it go?
I think the quality of the products, across all lines (flower, edibles, concentrates) continues to improve every day. More and more growers and producers from medical are coming over into the recreational industry and they are making everybody step up their game. It is a great development for our customer base. Quality continues to rise, as prices are gradually coming down.
What are the biggest challenges you face in this industry as a dispensary? Biggest joys?
One of the challenges we face as a retailer is addressing the expectations of a growing customer base that is coming over to retail from medical. The transition from medical to retail in this industry has been rocky at best, and being part of the industry that has displaced the medical stores can make you the focus of people’s disappointment and anger. All we can do in response is to carry the best products, hire friendly and educated employees, and deliver a great customer service experience to everybody who walks through our doors. The biggest joy to come from this is having customers come into our shop, experience our store, and tell us that it feels like they are shopping at a “normal” store that they would feel comfortable bringing their parents to. The cannabis industry has been marginalized for so long, and it feels great to create a space that lets people feel good about their lifestyle and their relationship with cannabis.
What is the one thing you want patients to know about your dispensary?
We cater to the newbie and veteran cannabis enthusiast alike. We are all bonded by a love of cannabis and we want you to come in, have a seat at our knowledge bar and stay as long as you want.
If someone wanted to open an access point and get their feet wet in the industry, what advice or counsel would you give them?
I would research your market, and make sure you site your location somewhere with lots of traffic. Having a solid location, in all candor, is just as important as having a solid shop. Hopefully you can check both boxes.
What is the most important thing you hope to accomplish while in the MJ/MMJ community?
We want more than anything to push the cannabis narrative away from the stereotypes and historical associations with cannabis, and focus the narrative on where it should be—the truly amazing qualities of cannabis and the stories of the people who grow and process it. There is no good reason why cannabis should be treated any differently than alcohol. We see our role as showing that cannabis can be a normal and healthy part of adult life, and we look forward to a time when a bowl full of Washington-grown GDP will be just as accepted as a glass of Washington-grown Cabernet.