We sat down with Jeff Anderson, co-founder of The Evergreen Market to find out what lessons he’s learned on his cannabis journey.
With three retail stores in two years and plans to open more in the future, The Evergreen Market success is evident in the community. Since opening their doors in Renton in April 2015, TEM has been awarded Best Cannabis Shop for Best of Western Washington for 2016 & 2017, an honor that is voted by viewers of the show and residents of Washington State.
“My core is to create something so cool,
that it’s where people do really want to come
and work, and are comfortable.”
To find out a little more about this adventure and their recipe for success, Jeff shared his hopes for the company, and what switching industries has taught him.
Interview with co-founder of The Evergreen Market, Jeff Anderson
Could you have ever imagined being here when you first started your journey?
“No. Well maybe it was a twinkle in the eye, like a hope or a dream that we could create a place that is where I would want to work if I was someone who could work for somebody else.
It’s kind of weird to say, but in my travels I’m a human being that is unable to work with others and that is what makes me unique and a little, or a lot, different. I just cant work for anybody else, but I have the perspective that I have worked for others in the past and really, my core is to create something so cool that it’s where people do really want to come, and work, and are comfortable. It just happens to be this huge blessing that we are in this cannabis space, where frankly I don’t know a ton about it so it is challenging for me too, on so many levels; the different people that work here, the age gaps, the fact that I’m not the most experienced cannabis user in the world, it’s so challenging and that’s what makes it fun for me.
But what makes it most rewarding for me is having a place that people want to work.”
What is the reason for your success?
“What makes us different is the passion of the people. They are in the industry and they are in it for the right reason. When people come at this industry from a place of, ‘this is an opportunity to make money’ and that’s their sole purpose; their soul is seen by the industry. What makes us different is we have created a space where we are on the edge for both the enthusiastic that comes in and for non-cannabis user. A place of comfort for them to come in and feel good, even if they may have had some fears in the past.
You have to welcome the new guys and you have to be a part of the old guys, but what makes us so successful is we’re just in that sweet spot. Where other people haven’t been able to tackle that; they haven’t been able to do both. I think to do both is doing the industry a great service. To be able to just say; we’re all young, old, medical, recreational; you are welcome at the Evergreen Market.
We can relate to you on whatever level you come in and we welcome you on whatever level you come in; all are welcome! That’s what I think makes us special. We do both in that we are welcoming of someone who is against cannabis or has never tried it. We’re normalizing it- it’s not scary! It may not be for them, but they can accept it for what it is. I think it is the welcoming attitude that we have and I think that is something a lot of places don’t have.
That’s what makes it so special to me, it’s the relationships.”
What have you learned and how has it changed your approach to your job?
For me, it’s more about who I was before I came into this industry as a judger of the culture, and not necessarily in a great way. And I have learned that the people within the cannabis community are so much cooler, so much deeper emotionally, spiritually and in their thought process, and probably more advanced than the average non-cannabis user. It was almost like I was judging them because I thought that they were not enlightened but maybe I was the idiot and maybe these guys had it right a long time ago, and that is what I want to be a part of; the right way. So it kinda shifted my thought process along the way. Its been more of a revelation to myself, realizing that maybe I had it wrong, and for an individual who has an ego that is not an easy thing to admit.
Also, that partnerships aren’t all bad. I have enjoyed my partners. I thought ahead of time that I had some resistance to even having partners in the first place; I like to be the guy who is the one who leads the company. Sure, there is power that is given up in having multiple people but there is also strength in that too, and the strength is much bigger than I thought. To have multiple partners and the bigger bandwidth is going to propel us to greater things than if it was just me. It’s nice to share the love.
Lastly, Don’t sweat the small stuff! Just got with the flow!”
The future? Where do you see us? Where do you want to be?
“We will be at least twice as big in three years. We’re prepared and ready to see what happens!”
Any advice for others?
“For an employee (budtender or someone trying to expand in the industry) have the passion, stick with it, work hard and be patient. The one thing I have noticed with people in general is they want stuff to happen NOW. I’m old enough to realize it doesn’t always work out like that. Time space continuum for people under thirty is a factor of three or four times, they want life to happen so much quicker. In their mind it happens quicker. But in reality you need the experience under your belt to grow and expand as a person and an employee. Things just take time. Work hard, nose down, be passionate and trust that the universe will provide what it’s supposed. I think what happens is people break down with their patience level and move beyond where they are, too quickly and they expect to be more than what they are right away and are not patient about it.
For others trying to get into business like with a license; investors beware! We are at the beckon call of the LCCB or whatever the governing force is in their state; they can create more licenses, they can take them away, they can over canopy; like in Washington state there are more plants being grown than people who can use or consume those plants and that’s the state’s fault.
The true spirit of who we are doesn’t have as much to do with money.”
“I care for the people and I’m proud of what we are creating here. These are my peeps, I look forward to the future!” -Jeff Anderson, co-founder, The Evergreen Market
With so many changes happening in our federal law system we must push forward locally to fight for the freedoms we voted for as a state. The government can try their scare tactics, but united as a community, we know truth will prevail for the plant. There is no other choice if we are to put humanity first.
Written By: Masha Brown
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