As construction equipment rumbles loudly outside, the ambiance inside the lobby of 805 Beach Breaks in Grover Beach is serene. Manager Daniel Fried points out the beachy accoutrements hanging on walls: weathered pieces of wood from the old Pismo Beach pier sit artfully on one wall, a surfboard hangs on another.
This is the first thing that customers will see when they walk into Beach Breaks, which, after it officially opens its doors on May 19, will be the first brick-and-mortar medical cannabis dispensary in Grover Beach, and the first dispensary to operate in SLO County in more than a decade.
- Photo By Jayson Mellom
- MOD SHOP 805 Beach Breaks Manager Daniel Fried demos the RFID screens that will tell customers about the product they are scanning. The high tech cannabis retailer will be the first dispensary to open its doors in Grover Beach on May 19.
"We wanted to go with a high-end boutique storefront where people are going to be able to come in and have a great experience," Fried said.
Once customers present their identification and medical marijuana card in the lobby, they can enter the retail space, which, like the lobby, is bright and clean. It has has come a long way from where it started. Fried said the building, which used to house a company that made horseshoes, was gutted and nearly entirely renovated inside and out.
"We replaced the roof, the floors, added walls, everything," he said.
When it comes to products, Beach Breaks offers customers a little bit of everything, from flowers and concentrates, to edibles and topicals. Products on display are equipped with RFID readers that shoppers can set on large screens beneath the displays and get information about the products, including ingredients, dosage, and other details to help them decide what to purchase.
Fried said he hates making customers wait in lines and has used his previous experience at the Harborside Health Center in San Jose to create a relaxing, efficient, and seamless shopping experience. That includes setting up a website where members can order ahead and simply walk into the store and pick up their medicine.
"It's really user interactive and free flowing," Fried said. "Like an Apple Store, but with cannabis."
Beach Breaks was one of four commercial cannabis dispensaries to receive a permit from Grover Beach. The city began moving to embrace the commercial cannabis industry in May 2017, when it passed regulatory ordinances to permit a variety of cannabis businesses in the the city, including cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and retail stores. In order to get its operating permit, Beach Breaks went through a lengthy approval process, submitting detailed applications, background checks, and other documentation before landing on a pre-application list. The City Council narrowed that list down to four businesses in October 2017, granting the companies a chance to apply for permits. Beach Breaks' permits were approved in March 2018, according to documents from the city.
"It was a very stringent process," Fried said.
Beach Breaks plans to celebrate with a grand opening party on May 19, featuring food, music, and an official ribbon cutting.
But being the only dispensary in the city and the county, at least for the time being, means that all eyes will be on Beach Breaks, with both ardent supporters and strident critics of commercial cannabis watching to see how it fares. Fried said he believes the business will exceed expectations.
"I think people will not only be impressed but really happy that we are here in their city," Fried said.
While the company will only just be opening its doors, Fried said there are already plans to grow. In addition to its retail space, Fried said Beach Breaks is also building an on-site facility to manufacture its own line of products using cannabis grown from one of their farms. The business will also expand beyond medicinal sales in the very near future. The Grover Beach City Council is already moving forward with amending the cannabis regulations to allow for adult recreational use. Fried confirmed that Beach Breaks will seek to amend its permit to do just that as soon as the city formally adopts the ordinance.
"We are definitely going to go through that process," he said. Δ
Staff writer Chris McGuinness can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.