In the two years since Hashtag has been open, business partners Jerina Pillert and Logan Bowers have had one goal in mind – to meet each customer’s needs in the best manner possible.
“It doesn’t matter whether someone has five minutes or 45 minutes – when they walk in the door, they will be greeted and asked about what they need,” said Brooke Davies, operations director for Hashtag. “If they don’t know what they want and are new to cannabis, they won’t be embarrassed. Part of our job is to educate them and to bring to our customers the latest cannabis knowledge and products.”
And if they are a seasoned cannabis shopper, Hashtag’s budtenders will be ready and willing to offer suggestions.
Hashtag was among the first retail cannabis stores to open in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. Pillert and Bowers decided they wanted to open a retail marijuana shop after recreational marijuana became legal in Washington state. The couple met in college in Indiana, then settled in Seattle, where Bowers was raised. He has a degree in software engineering, and she’s working on her PhD in biomedical engineering.
“We were lucky enough to be granted a license in the first round,” Pillert said.
They chose the name Hashtag because it is a nod to a well-known cannabis product, hash, and also refers to a metadata label used on social media.
While thinking about where to locate the store, they had several Seattle neighborhoods in mind. But after finding the spot on Stone Way, they knew that was the location.
“We share the same values as those who live and work around us,” Pillert said. “We like the neighborhood and having other small businesses close by. Here, we think that it’s important to serve our neighbors, contribute to the creation of a more inclusive society, and help protect the environment.”
For example, Davies said they like to stock inventory from smaller companies of the “mom and pop” variety.
“We are particular about what we carry,” she said. “We make sure that it has been produced on small farms that care about how things grow. And we have our budtenders try varieties and tell us what they think before we carry them in the store.”
Their inventory includes cannabis in the form of flower, pre-rolled joints, concentrates, oil cartridges, topicals, and edibles. They also carry the accessories needed to consume cannabis, like pipes, bongs and papers.
Hashtag’s owners offer educational programs for customers, too. They recently co-sponsored a “Nerd Nite,” where cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo spoke.
“Educating ourselves and our customers is really important to us,” Pillert said, “whether it’s a program like that, or just one of our budtenders taking time with a customer, and making sure that they feel comfortable with their purchase.”
In fact, budtenders are not told to sell “the product of the day.”
“We don’t do that,” Davies said. “They aren’t told to sell a specific product. They sell the products they personally stand behind and what they feel is best for each individual customer.”
Customer service is important because they want return customers.
“We promote ourselves on having consistent quality,” Pillert said. “And we will take as long as needed with each customer.”
Additionally, the store displays local artists’ works, on a rotating basis.
“Many of the artists are customers of ours, and are local,” Pillert said. “And we have events where customers can come in and look at the artwork, talk to a vendor who we’ve brought in to share information about their product, and then talk to one of our budtenders about their needs before making a purchase.”
They have 17 employees currently, but have just opened a second location on Avondale Way in Redmond. They anticipate adding up to eight more employees. Even Logan’s mother is a part of the business and works at the door checking IDs.
As Pillert said, she wants the stores to be the kind of place where she’d want to shop.
“What I hear from our customers is that when they come in, they feel comfortable with the store, the staff and our products. It’s the kind of place where I would want to go.”
What their website says:
“Hashtag is Seattle’s neighborhood destination for quality recreational cannabis. We pride ourselves in offering the very best selection of flower, edibles, concentrates and paraphernalia. We’re happy to help you find a product that’s just right for you. Come visit us between Wallingford and Fremont on Stone Way, open seven days a week. We are a family owned and operated business. We love the Pacific Northwest, and becoming a thriving small business in Seattle is very exciting for us.”
Monday – Wednesday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Thursday – Sunday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
3540 Stone Way North
Seattle, Washington 98103
Online at: www.seattlehashtag.com