The Evergreen Market – Western Washington
Walk into any one of The Evergreen Market’s three locations and the flow is essentially the same. First, a greeter will meet you at a large wicker door, invite you in, and ask if you’ve been there before. Depending on your answer, your experience can go a few different ways. Answer “yes,” and they’ll send you to a counter where you can peruse products and talk with a budtender. Answer “no,” and an educator will come talk with you to find out what level of help you might need.
What’s an “educator?” As co-owner Eric Gaston explains, “Educators are different than budtenders. Their job is to jump in and take you out of the flow when you need more time to understand the products or the industry.” For those new to cannabis, an educator might send you to the Knowledge Bar—an entire section of the store dedicated to cannabis education. “The goal is to give people an impactful and resonant shopping experience,” says Eric. And it’s working. Their approach has garnered them the title of Best Cannabis Shop on King 5 Evening Magazine two years in a row.
The Evergreen Market focuses on quality product and healthy relationships with suppliers. Key to this is their purchaser, Danny Khuu, a well-respected member of Washington’s cannabis industry. “Our product line is a direct reflection of Danny . . . He’s a super important part of the family,” asserts Eric. Eric is a big proponent of “lifestyle products” like Happy Apple infused beverages and Wildflower’s CBD Cool Stick topical. But he’s equally excited about some of the insanely high-quality flower that’s been hitting the market lately—specifically, flower from House of Cultivar, a producer/processor known for their “genetic legwork” and sharing their knowledge with the industry. “We want to work with people who are fundamentally nice, kind and passionate,” states Eric. “And that speaks to our employees, too.”
Eric co-owns The Evergreen Market with two partners: entrepreneurs Jeff Anderson and Arnie Nelson. Early on, they coalesced a vision for the company around three core values: Educate, Celebrate and Elevate, which play critical roles in every aspect of the business, from the Knowledge Bar to the predetermined flow of the store. It’s no coincidence the people they hire—roughly 90 budtenders, educators, creatives and corporate staff—share an intense passion for cannabis and the industry. “It’s a blessing to be able to give someone more than just a job, but a meaningful purpose in life,” says Eric. “It’s important that whatever you do, it’s for a higher purpose.”