Weed Aficionado Magazine singled out Tokyo Starfish in Bend for extending its reach across two locations: 542 N.W. Arizona Ave. and 61230 S. Highway 97. Hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at both stores. Tokyo Starfish’s Kale Gray tells us how the dispensary stays at the leading edge of a rising tide.
WAM: What year did your doors open for business?
TSF: Tokyo opened in July 2015.
WAM: Do you service both recreational and medical users?
WAM: What is the biggest draw at your location?
TSF: It’s the Tokyo experience — from our product selection, customer service and bud-tender knowledge. We just try to put smiles on our customers’ faces at the end of the day.
WAM: What is the reason behind your business’ success?
TSF: At Tokyo, we try to look at things from a different perspective. There is no one thing that makes us successful, but a culmination of quality products, customer service, store atmosphere, etc., that creates a unique customer experience for everyone who walks through the door.
WAM: What inspired your passion for this industry?
TSF: Everyone who is involved in the industry sees how the positive effects of legalization outweigh the negative by a landslide. For us, it’s about showing how beneficial legalization can be for users and non-users alike.
WAM: What is your favorite part of the job?
TSF: We get to sell weed! How great is that?!
WAM: What’s new for your business in 2018?
TSF: We’re always looking at how we can reach as many customers as possible and give each one of them the best experience imaginable.
WAM: What do think customers will demand more of in the future?
TSF: We think the cartridge and edible categories will continue to develop and help to bring more mainstream consumers into the market. Also, topicals are a great way for people to start learning the benefits of cannabis.
WAM: What are the biggest challenges that cannabis business owners face in the industry?
TSF: Taxes, banking and the ever-changing rules. I must admit, the rules have become more concrete and, in my mind, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has been a great partner rolling out this industry. They don’t have an easy job, but their approach has been successful in keeping all points of view happy. Not everyone may agree with me on this, but that’s OK.
WAM: How have you adjusted to and/or responded to all the changes in the cannabis industry?
TSF: We just roll with the punches and do our best each and every day. It also helps not to overreact when things do change.
WAM: As the cannabis industry grows and improves, what developments are you most looking forward to in the future?
TSF: Simply the adoption of our industry into the mainstream and the ability for all of us to start operating like regular businesses. We need to get marijuana declassified, banking opened up and taxes normalized.