Oregrown, a family-owned company that has operated a cannabis dispensary in Bend, Ore., for over five years, is rapidly expanding with plans to have four total retail locations under its umbrella by the end of the year.
Chrissy Hadar, Oregrown’s co-founder and Chief Brand Officer, tells Cannabis Dispensary that the company will be the first to have a dispensary in all four major areas of the state: Central Oregon, Portland, Eugene and the coast.
Oregrown opened its second retail location in Portland in December 2019, and earlier this month, it celebrated the grand opening of its third store in Cannon Beach, which Hadar says is one of the most well-known tourist towns on Oregon’s coast. The company plans to open a fourth location in Eugene later this year.
Each market is exciting for Hadar for different reasons, she says.
“I was born and raised in Portland, so after the success of the Bend store over the years, it was definitely on my radar from the beginning to have a store in my hometown,” she says. “It was really about finding the right location. We didn’t want to just throw up a store at the first space that became available, so we were really picky and we took our time.”
Oregrown’s Portland location is along public transportation lines, Hadar says, and is in the middle of a burgeoning area where new housing and office buildings are being constructed.
The Cannon Beach store is also located along the town’s main strip, Hadar says, and is easily accessible for the area’s tourists.
“Cannon Beach is definitely in line with the Oregrown brand in that it’s a high-end town, so there’s lots of great food [and] beautiful art,” she says. “While it is extremely seasonal, we feel that it’s going to be really attractive to the tourists of Cannon Beach during the tourist months.”
The Eugene location, which will open later this year, is in the heart of a college town, which also resonates with the Oregrown brand, Hadar says.
Resonating with the Local Community
Hadar attributes much of Oregrown’s success in Bend to the company’s community involvement there. Cannabis was still largely taboo when the company launched in 2015, and Hadar had issues finding someone to lease her a building, as well as finding architects to work on renovations.
“Obviously, things have changed, but we still go into each community and do as much outreach as possible,” she says. “We’re finding new ways to approach the communities that we enter. … It’s not coming in and just being a brand. It’s about really introducing yourself to the community as a brand that wants to be there to help the community, not just there to make money.”
Oregrown has partnered with organizations like the Humane Society of Central Oregon in Bend and is in the process of setting up local beach clean-ups in Cannon Beach. In Portland, the company will explore ways to sponsor local events.
“It’s all about recognizing what is important in that community and what really resonates with people in that community, and then figuring out a creative way to insert yourself in those initiatives.”
Bringing the Outdoors Inside
Hadar and her team put a lot of thought into maintaining one consistent brand throughout Oregrown’s multiple retail outlets as the company started to expand, she says. Each store is a reflection of local culture, but a focus on the outdoors ties each location to the broader brand.
“Naturally, the Bend store is a reflection of the Bend culture, which is really driven by outdoor activities, be it in the summer or the winter with snowboarding,” Hadar says. “Portland is really driven by art and food, and … for the Portland store, we certainly had a larger budget. With that, our intent was really to … convey Oregrown as it is, but in a more mature way. I think the best way to say it is we just took it up a notch.”
For the Portland location, the Oregrown team placed a focus on bringing the outdoors inside through its branding.
“The ground mimics the earth, and then we have these couches that flow up from the ground and are the same color, and everything feels light and floating,” Hadar says.
The Cannon Beach store has more of a coastal feel, she adds, to connect it to the local culture there.
Right now, Oregrown carries the same product lines in each of its three operational stores, but this could change over time, Hadar says, as the company collects sales data at its newest locations.
“We still don’t have as much data as I would like to make my specific buying decisions,” she says. “I think we need a couple more months under our belt. I think each market will necessitate its own buying patterns. You look at something like Cannon Beach, where it’s a sleepy coastal town 10 months out of the year, and then you’ve got this boom of tourists. Handling that and navigating those waters … will be interesting, to say the least.”
A Team That’s Part of Something Bigger
When hiring for new stores, Hadar starts from the top.
“I strongly believe it is not my job to build somebody else’s team,” she says. “It’s my job to find the best leader who shares the same values and practices that the Oregrown brand maintains. We start with a manager, and there’s a GM in between myself and the manager of each store that goes out and hires for each location.”
With each store opening, Oregrown has received many applications for its open budtending positions, Hadar says. The team sifts through the applications and conducts two rounds of interviewing to select the most qualified candidates.
“We don’t have a lot of turnover on the retail side, and I think that’s due to the company culture that we try our hardest to maintain across the board,” Hadar says. “With that comes an open-door policy, so anybody from any store can reach out to me at any time via Basecamp, … [an] intercompany communication system where you can have conversations and groups and chats so everyone can stay connected. With that connected feeling, people feel part of something bigger. Even if you’re at the Cannon Beach store and it’s a slow, rainy day, you still feel part of a bigger movement.”
Prior to opening the Portland store, the Oregrown team worked to improve its onboarding process, Hadar says. It uses software called Greenhouse to allow new employees to do all of their onboarding online, and much of the new hire training is also done online through the platform.
“We have the ability to do training videos and file all of their paperwork, and that has really helped streamline the process,” Hadar says. “Before, it looked like somebody was doing their taxes from the past 10 years. There was paper everywhere, and I was like, there has to be a better way to do this.”
Hadar participates in the day-to-day operations of the company as much as possible to maintain open lines of communication with Oregrown’s employees.
“I was in Cannon Beach last week for the opening,” she says. “I’ve been to Portland several times since it opened. Everybody knows me. I think that is also very important, as well, to not just open a store, have this brand [and] expect people to buy into it without you being there. It’s also you doing the work that you would expect others to do, like mopping the floors if they need to be mopped, and not just being this face that no one ever sees.”
Looking ahead, Oregrown will continue to look for opportunities to open additional stores in new locations.
“We’re just going to continue to look for opportunities to further our retail footprint,” Hadar says. “The goal is just to continue on the path we’re on now, as it’s working for us, and just explore every opportunity that comes our way."