C’dale pot shop lifts surrounding retailers
The Aspen Times
Becoming the first recreational marijuana shop on the Western Slope of Colorado was a major financial bonus for the Doctor’s Garden, but it appears the marijuana dispensary isn’t the only one garnering new business in Carbondale.
Businesses on Main Street in Carbondale located near the dispensary reported a spike in customers starting Jan. 15, the day the Doctor’s Garden began selling recreational marijuana.
The Carbondale Food Co-op is across Main Street from the Jalins Building, where the Doctor’s Garden is located. Cody Lee is an employee at the co-op and said there was a definite increase in people milling around town once the recreational marijuana was available.
“It seemed a lot more like a summer crowd with all the people trickling in,” Lee said. “We sold lots of snacks and drinks in that time. I also noticed a lot more out-of-towners coming into the co-op. I met four Hungarian guys from Florida that were staying in Salt Lake City and made the trip from Utah to Carbondale just to buy weed.”
Peppino’s Pizza is next to the Jalins Building. Owner Carol Bruno said she noticed plenty of new faces coming into her restaurant, especially the first few days following Jan. 15.
“Having the first retail marijuana dispensary in the valley brings a little more weirdness to this area,” Bruno said with a smile. “The guys at Doctor’s Garden are really good neighbors. What was kind of surprising was how normal the people were that were coming to Carbondale to buy marijuana. It wasn’t the stoner crowd I expected, but an older, normal clientele.”
Calls inquiring about where to buy recreational marijuana continue to come to the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce. Andrea Stewart is the executive director of the Carbondale chamber and said there’s been a definite increase in visitor information requests directly related to recreational marijuana.
During the X Games, the chamber fielded a call from a recreational ski club based in Florida that brought 450 people to stay in Snowmass and wanted to come visit Carbondale to check out the Doctor’s Garden.
Stewart also said the demographics of the people calling surprised her. It wasn’t the younger crowd she expected but more of a 50-plus age group.
“We’re kind of in our offseason in Carbondale,” Stewart said. “But the retail marijuana business has brought people to town that normally wouldn’t be here. We’re really hoping it brings people back.”
Stewart said she had a recent conversation with one of the co-owners of Bonfire Coffee on Main Street and said they also had a substantial increase in business that correlated with the availability of recreational marijuana in Carbondale.
Bonfire employee Montana Miller said he talked with many people who weren’t from Carbondale and seemed to really enjoy discovering a new place to visit.
“Bringing in people from outside of Carbondale can only help business,” Miller said. “The Doctor’s Garden brought in a significant amount of people that haven’t been here before. I heard a few say they were coming back for sure, and that’s very cool.”
This past weekend, a couple from the U.S. Virgin Islands who were staying in Aspen drove to Carbondale just to check out the recreational shop. Because marijuana is still illegal where they’re from, the couple didn’t want to give out their names.
“We can’t believe how beautiful this town and Mount Sopris are,” they said. “We’ve already seen a dozen people go into the dispensary to look for marijuana. It’s obvious this business is bringing people here. It brought us here, and now we love Carbondale.”
Nearly three years after Aspen City Council cleared the founder of Jazz Aspen Snowmass to launch a jazz performance and education center downtown, Jim Horowitz said he expects the project will get rolling before the year is over.
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