ECO Cannabis – Oakland, CA
The glowing warmth of the staff and ambiance at ECO Cannabis are inviting. Upon arrival, customers are given the option of an “Experience Guide,” each carrying a tablet of product information to assist their order, choose self-serve or express pick-up. The shop’s interior includes shout outs to Oakland culture and the wood honeycombs that accent the wall refer to a bustling beehive, vibrant and buzzing. Efficiency is key to the ECO experience. Located on Telegraph Avenue, ECO provides free parking. Founder and CEO Kevin Ahaesy says, “I experienced frustrations with flow as a cannabis consumer prior to getting our licenses. If you wanted to get through a dispensary in a short time that was hard to accomplish.” ECO is here to change that through a focus on service and logistical flow.
Ahaesy founded ECO while making his exit from real estate. An opportunity came to launch a property in the “green zone” of Oakland. Then Ahaesy learned about the social equity program. Navigating the application process, they upped their equity awards from one recipient to eight. Those eight equity businesses are fully supported by ECO while maintaining individuality, which qualified ECO as one of four dispensaries given permitting. They opened their doors in January 2019. “I’m committed to hiring 100 percent Oakland residents, 50 percent of which have previous incarcerations, many for cannabis,” said Ahaesy. These staff members are given the opportunity to split work part-time at ECO’s cannabis campus and in store. They’re friendly, knowledgeable and sincere. ECO’s community involvement includes hosting neighborhood beautification projects and shopping parties.
ECO grows cannabis in East Oakland, and vertical integration allows them to supply terpene rich flowers at low prices, in bulk quantities up to ounces, offering something for everyone from the canna-curious to the experienced. Additionally, brands such as Canndescent and FloraCal are available. Concentrates are accessible with both devices and oil displayed together. ECO carries products from equity businesses and local companies. “I buy 50 percent of our product from equity businesses. It brings those people up and supports them,” Ahaesy explains, “It’s one thing to support the equity program and give someone free rent. It’s another to buy product from them so it could kick start their business.”