Go ahead and browse all you want at Toker Friendly.
That’s the key message from Jennifer Hill, manager of the Airway Heights cannabis retailer known for a variety of products for any level of interest or familiarity.
Hill said the shop’s budtenders are always eager to help every customer, whatever their knowledge or experience, from longtime smokers to those who don’t know what they need or want. Everyone is invited to look in every case and ask any questions, no matter how basic.
“We aren’t pushy at all,” she said. “We really want people to take their time. We also don’t mind spending longer amounts of time with someone when they need extra help. We’re not worried about sales as much as much as offering everyone good customer service: the sale will come after the customer’s needs are met.”
The shop opened in 2016, a couple of years after the passage of Initiative 502, which legalized recreational cannabis products throughout the state. The newer shop is continuing to grow with the rapidly changing market. But with an educated staff, the information stays consistent and the atmosphere stays inviting.
“It’s very important that people are well-taken care of every time they come in,” Hill said.
The shop carries about 500 items, including an extensive variety of flower, concentrates and edibles created by more than 60 producers and processors throughout Washington, including a sizeable presence of Eastern Washington items. Inventory changes regularly so there are always new products coming in to check out.
Hill said there are products for every price point, from people who just want an inexpensive high to something mid-range to higher-end goods.
The shop also is proud to have a significant selection of higher-CBD items. CBD is a natural compound in the cannabis plant that is known to provide relaxation and pain relief, but not the mental or physical intoxication that comes from THC, another compound.
“We’re seeing more and more people coming in wanting to find items to help them, but don’t want to get the high that they think they’ll get,” Hill said. “People are sometimes uncomfortable knowing what to ask for.”
Some potential shoppers are still concerned because of marijuana’s past illegal status or lingering social stigmas. Hill said some visitors worry about being seen going in or going out, or that they’ll go to jail just by walking in the door. Others may send their spouse in first to make sure things are OK.
She says not to worry.
“If you’re new to all of this and feel uncomfortable, it’s our job to make you feel comfortable,” she said. “The staff really tries to create a good atmosphere and take time to let people feel OK about being there – it’s not that scary.”
Plus, the building sits back from Highway 2 so the parking is more private for customers.
Hill said a big part of the appeal of Toker Friendly is the staff.
Six of the nine budtenders have been there since the beginning, and the rest of them have been there at least a year, so everyone has extensive knowledge of cannabis in general plus knows a lot about certain products.
“We all like to build relationships,” she said. “We also have a lot of regulars and we like calling them by name.”
Part of the fun for the staff and for the customers is that there are always new items coming in.
“It’s a fast-paced industry, and things are always changing, sometimes daily or weekly,” she said.
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