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, EM 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…
where people want to come to work,
follow their passion, and have fun.”
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. I just envisioned that we could create a special place where people would love to work. The fact that it has turned out to be so much more than that is incredible.”
“My core is to create something so cool…where people want to come to work, follow their passion and have fun. It just happens to be this huge blessing that we are in this cannabis space. There are so many passionate people, both customers and employees, that raise the energy level. It is infectious. Being a part of the cannabis normalization movement is amazing, too. I am sure when we look back on it, we will be on the right side of history.
But what makes it most rewarding for me is having a place where people want to work.”
What is the reason for your success?
“What makes us different is the passion of our people. We hire for passion. Our employees are in the industry for the right reason. I have seen many people come into this industry from a place of, ‘this is an opportunity to make money’. If that is their sole purpose, their soul is seen by the industry and their success will be limited. What makes us different is we have created a safe and inviting space where both the lifetime enthusiast and newbie alike can come and learn about cannabis. It is a place of comfort; a place to come and share their joy for cannabis with like-minded people and spread that love with the world.
New cannabis users are very different from the connoisseurs. What makes us successful is we are in the sweet spot of serving both. I love to be able to say that no matter if you are you are young or old, medical or recreational, sick or healthy, you are welcome at the Evergreen Market.
Connecting to our customers is a huge part of our culture. We call it, ‘The Human Connection’. I think everyone wants great interactions with other people. We have training around that, and our staff embraces the spirit of connecting with others.
That is what makes the Evergreen Market 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. I judged the cannabis culture, and not necessarily in a great way. What I have learned is that the people within the cannabis community are much cooler, have more emotional intelligence and are very spiritually grounded. Much more than I imagined. It was almost like I was judging them because I thought that they were not enlightened. I know realize I was an idiot in thinking so. It has been a revelation to myself; realizing that maybe I had it wrong. For an individual who has an ego, that is not an easy thing to admit.
I have also learned that all partnerships aren’t bad. I have enjoyed my partners. Before starting our company, I had a decent amount of resistance to having partners. I liked (and still like) to be the person who leads. Sharing the leadership duties has showed me there is strength in numbers. That strength is much bigger than I thought. Having multiple partners and more bandwidth is going to propel us to greater things than if it was just me. I am super excited for the future of the Evergreen Market.
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 does happen 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 to.
For outsiders trying to get into business now, please beware. It is not easy for new operators or outside investors because there are significant headwinds. For instance, we are at the mercy of the LCB or whatever the governing force is in their state. The LCB can create more retail licenses or they can flood the market with product. In Washington state, for example, there are many more plants being grown than people who can use or consume those plants. The operator or investor cannot control that imbalance.
Finally, I believe the true spirit of who we are doesn’t have much to do with money. Follow your passion.”
“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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