Juneau’s second pot shop, Fireweed Factory LLC, opened Tuesday, and did so quietly.
Tucked in a tiny space on Front Street between the Imperial Saloon and Ben Franklin, Fireweed Factory opened its doors without any announcement or fanfare. That’s exactly how owner Paul Disdier wanted it, and after months of dealing with finicky plants and even more bothersome federal regulations, he was finally able to have a relaxing day on the job.
“That was the first day that I had a really good time,” Disdier said, laughing. “The tension is kind of relieved.”
Fireweed joins Rainforest Farms as the second pot store in town and is now open five days a week, running from noon-6 p.m. (or until it runs out of marijuana that day). For now, the shop is open Tuesday-Saturday, but with Monday being a big tourist day, the schedule might flip to being closed on Sundays and Thursdays instead. There are six strains for sale every day, with large photos and information sheets available, in addition to a small sample of each for patrons to smell.
Even without advertising its opening, Fireweed did well on its first day, selling nearly six ounces of marijuana. Store Manager Emma Harper was pleasantly surprised at how quickly word of mouth spread, and Fireweed sold all but four grams of the six ounces of product it stocked for the first day.
Disdier said this was the plan for a while, to have a soft opening like this in case there were technological issues with the payment system. It was also to avoid a large crowd and chaotic atmosphere.
“I just didn’t want to have long lines out here,” Disdier said. “We wanted to make sure everything was gonna work right. We didn’t want any pandemonium or have some kind of glitch with the point-of-sale. It just was a very relaxed day.”
Even in states such as Alaska where pot is legal, marijuana retailers have been having issues with the federal government, especially where taxes are concerned. Fireweed was having trouble even finding a bank to work with, as banks are federally regulated and marijuana is still illegal on a federal level.
The obstacles along the way now are much smaller and easier to handle. A couple weeks ago, when Fireweed’s store went through its Marijuana Control Board inspection and its building inspection, there was only one problem — Disdier had to buy a slightly larger fire extinguisher.
Other than that, business is good for Fireweed. The small, golden bags are flying off the shelf, even with the store relying only on word of mouth. Its signature strain, Gorilla Glue, is already developing a good reputation, and Harper said she’s already seeing familiar faces.
“Even on the second day, I’ve had multiple repeat customers,” Harper said. “Multiple people, and they’re telling their friends, they’re posting it on Facebook.”
Fireweed will slowly be working through its variety of 29 strains, rotating them into the store occasionally. Harper guessed that Gorilla Glue, which Disdier calls “the real deal,” will be the first to sell out. They’ll have a set supply of product to sell every day, and Disdier isn’t sure exactly what he’ll tell customers when the last bag is sold for the day.
“We’ll put a sign saying, ‘We’ve run out for the day,’ something like that,” Disdier said.
Judging by the success of the first two days of business, Disdier might have to draw that sign up soon.
Know & Go
Where: 237 Front St., next to Imperial Saloon
Days/hours: Tuesday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m.
What you’ll need: Identification, must be over 21, cash and card both accepted
Prices: $65 for 3.5 grams, $25 for a gram, $15 for half a gram, pre-rolled (tax included)
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 523-2271.