High Q, Snowmass Village’s only marijuana dispensary, remains open with some adjustments
This month hasn’t been easy for Snowmass Village businesses.
State and county public health orders targeted at slowing the spread of coronavirus have forced many non-essential retail and service operations to temporarily shut down, restaurants are closed for the rest of the season or are take-out and delivery only, and tourism will be relatively non-existent until summer at the earliest.
The impact on the town’s only marijuana dispensary is no different.
Since COVID-19 was first linked to the Aspen area in early March, High Q Snowmass has had to lay off some of its part-time seasonal staff, implement online and call-in ordering, cut back its hours from noon to 8 p.m. and up its sanitary and cleaning procedures.
The dispensary, which opened in December, also is being very selective with its inventory, opting not to bring in couriers with product from the Front Range in an effort to limit potential COVID-19 spread.
“It’s been a daily thing, you wake up and things are different every day,” said Reneé Grossman, owner of High Q.
As many businesses are experiencing, the public health orders and COVID-19 mitigation strategies are constantly being amended and evolving, keeping owners like Grossman on their toes.
When the Snowmass Sun spoke with Grossman on March 30, High Q was doing call-in and curbside pick-up orders only. No one was allowed in the dispensary doors, per state requirements.
A few hours later, Grossman called back to say those requirements had been updated, allowing Coloradans back into marijuana dispensaries so long as social-distancing requirements were enforced. At High Q in Snowmass, that means two people will be allowed in the Village Mall shop at a time.
But for Grossman, staying open isn’t just about serving customers and keeping money coming in — it’s about ensuring her employees continue bringing money home.
“I’m really doing my best to keep people working,” said Grossman, who has High Q dispensary locations in Snowmass, Carbondale and Silt. To do this, Grossman has moved some people from working at the High Q locations to working from home on other projects, like cleaning up the company’s point of sale system.
While she feels the facts that she made sure the High Q stores had extra alcohol wipes early on and that she is working to keep people on the payroll help build morale among employees, Grossman said High Q as a whole is in a “growth stage,” which also is reassuring to her staff.
Grossman is in the process of starting up a facility that manufactures solventless cannabis extracts, in the early stages of building a grow operation in Parachute and also is looking to open more High Q locations in the near future.
With all of these growth projects still in the works and no intentions of closing High Q due to the coronavirus pandemic (unless it becomes clear that is what’s best for public health), Grossman is focusing on staying positive for what lies beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
“I’m doing my best to support my team through this and letting them know that their safety is the most important thing,” Grossman said. “We appreciate our customers who wear gloves and masks as well and hope they will be patient with us during this time.”
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On Sept. 11, a small group of local Roaring Fork Fire Rescue responders walked 3 miles from Snowmass Town Park to the Top of the Village for the fifth annual Axes and Arms 9/11 Climb.