The rules of economics tell us that customers are the real winners in a competitive market: when there are a lot of choices, it’s easy to switch to whoever provides the best price, the best flavor, and the most convenience.
Justin Peterson, owner of Cinder, knows this, which is why he likes hearing that customers only shop at Cinder’s locations that include North side, Valley and a newly opened downtown Spokane shop.
“The other day I was up at our North store, and ran into one of our earliest customers,” he said. “This guy had to have been one of the first 100 to come in when we first opened years ago, and he still loves coming back.”
With more than 30 cannabis retailers in Spokane County alone, and about 400 statewide, Peterson expects people to check out different establishments to see what kind of products, atmosphere and experience they like. But he’d ultimately like Cinder to be the top choice.
“We want to be where everyone can go and feel welcome,” he said. “Some shops focus more on younger customers, older customers, serious smokers, or people only wanting the most affordable stuff. But anyone can come here and find something.”
Cinder’s third store and first downtown location opened in mid-May, after more than a year of major renovations at the Second Avenue location. The other two shops opened in2014.
“After everything we did, it probably would have been cheaper and less work to knock it all down and rebuild,” he said. “But I like how it all turned out – this is really something we can give back to the community.”
Since at least the 1920s, the downtown space has been a warehouse, offices, a service station, and other one- and two-story businesses. The renovation included all sorts of interior and exterior demolition, and there’s more to come.
Peterson hopes visitors will enjoy the new look which features warm walnut tones but still shows elements from its industrial past.
“I had some high standards going in, and wanted to keep the exposed beams and natural wood,” he said.
Part of the Cinder experience is budtenders and managers who are always ready to help customers.
“We want to provide the best levels of customer service and be completely knowledgeable about everything we’re selling,” Peterson said.
People seeking medical marijuana products can privately consult with a trained employee in a separate room.
Cinder’s approach is also to recognize local processors and producers as much as possible, and the shop plans to create different displays featuring Spokane-area growers and processors.
“We believe in local support, and we’re trying to work with local bands and get involved in the community in other ways,” he said. “We’ve been wanting to do something like this for a long time.”
Peterson also makes sure to recognize his employees, many who have been with the company since the beginning.
“We have some great people, and now we’re proud to offer them health benefits as well,” he said. “They get full medical and dental, and we’re trying to figure out a 401K.”
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.