Transformational Transactions: The Revolutionary Business of Main Street Marijuana
“One of our first imaginary customers was our own 85-year-old grandma. We wanted to build an open, welcoming, light and friendly environment that she could come into not knowing a single thing about weed, and not be intimated to return on her own. We hear it over and over from new customers that the experience is nothing like they thought it would be,” described Ramsey, Co-Owner of Main Street Marijuana. Given that Main Street Marijuana has three locations including their original store in Vancouver, Washington and is the number one revenue grossing business in the state’s legal cannabis industry, it’s safe to say that Ramsey and his team are onto something.
Main Street Marijuana currently divides approximately 100 employees amongst their two Vancouver locations, plus a third in Longview. The combined sales volume is enormous, with the aforementioned flagship store alone nearing $50 million in sales since they opened. Out of this large sum of sales, approximately $12.5 million have gone to the state in the form of excise payments, with another $3 million paid in the form of sales taxes.
Things did not necessarily begin as positively for Main Street Marijuana, where public perception of the plant reared its ugly head from time to time. “Initially in our own neighborhood of downtown Vancouver, we were met with a mixed bag of reactions,” Ramsey remarked. “But anyone who comes in and watches the customers in the store will see it’s a beautiful mix of all ages, races, white collar and blue collar, men and women—it really is a snap shot of modern day America.” In order to test the theory that the business was just attracting a quick stop from potheads, Main Street Marijuana began handing out $2 bills to their customers in change. Soon thereafter, $2 bills were popping up all over the local neighborhood, from the bakery to the pizza shop, and the gas station to the record store. There has also been the addition of food trucks directly across the street from Main Street Marijuana, as well as noticeable expansions of restaurants and pubs within a block of the original shop. As Ramsey further reiterated, “Nearly every last one of those initially questioning our arrival have embraced us and benefited from the revival recreational marijuana has brought.”
“Nearly every last one of those initially questioning our arrival have embraced us and benefited from the revival recreational marijuana has brought.” -Ramsey, Co-Owner Main Street Marijuana
There is an undoubtedly strong customer-based philosophy at Main Street Marijuana, where the product selection and price points speak volumes to the value placed on the data they’ve collected. As Ramsey said, “The products on our shelves are decided by the customers. It’s not about image, pretense or what my connoisseur friends think is cool—it boils down to data. If I stock a new product and we sell 200 units in a day, then the customers are clearly responding to that product at that price point. My job would then be to keep it consistently on our shelves.” As customers continue to flock to Main Street Marijuana, they’re able to place larger and larger orders with producers and processors, which translates into cheaper prices passed onto the customers.
As the recreational cannabis industry continues to expand and evolve at revolutionary rates, the sheer number of business transactions Main Street Marijuana is producing is resulting in a transformational model and conversation for those entering the burgeoning industry. And at the end of the day, for the individuals still protesting pot, Ramsey has a few closing words:
“You’re fighting a losing battle. It’s a war on drugs that has resulted in an incarceration rate 5x higher than any other country in the world. It’s a prohibition that has affected the lives of millions of individuals, permanently stained their records and incarcerated low level drug offenders at rates that draw no other conclusion but a targeting of minorities. You can keep those police officers devoting valuable resources to marijuana users—keep those lawyers, judges, and jailers busy and guarantee a steady stream of revenue. Or you can stop ruining lives, start collecting billions of tax dollars nationwide, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and allow those who choose to consume marijuana a safe, taxed and tested outlet.”