A budding enterprise: Woodburn's first cannabis dispensary opened up in March
Treestar, the first cannabis dispensary in Woodburn, opened its doors last month on Industrial Avenue.
The location is practically the only spot in Woodburn where such a shop could exist, something co-founder and CEO Orion Dierking discovered when calling up the city to inquire about starting a business.
"I called up the city planner, Jim Hendryx (who has since retired), and he said I hit the jackpot because this is the only location in the city where you can have a dispensary," Dierking said.
The land, which also houses Northwest Coating Systems, Inc., is actually owned by the longtime girlfriend of Dierking's father, who operates the Oregon Lavender Farm in Oregon City where Treestar co-founder and COO Ivan Gierer was farm manager.
"I've known him since he was 10 years old," Gierer said of Orion Dierking.
As an adult, Dierking, now 29, became purchasing manager for the lavender operation, and he and Gierer became friends, talking about what it might be like to branch off and form their own business someday.
Both independently had become medical marijuana growers — "Ivan taught me how to grow five years ago," Dierking said — and, after recreational marijuana was legalized in Oregon, they thought about expanding into the retail market.
"It's a big change to move an operation from medical to recreational," Gierer said.
A cannabis retail business has stringent regulations, especially regarding size and location. Gierer worked closely with architects to build the facility, which the founders hope will also someday include a grow operation on site, the license for which is still pending with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
Other specific rules include who is allowed on site (under 21 is never permitted, and they don't serve anyone who appears to be under the influence already or who has an out-of-country license) and 24/7 off-site surveillance.
While it might seem they are bogged down with adhering to strict laws, Dierking and Gierer are enthusiastic about the enterprise and about making positive first impressions, which means a bright, clean shop with attentive and friendly budtenders.
"It's an adventure; the prospects are huge," Gierer said. "It's hard now, but to be established and be the only dispensary in Woodburn, we hope to create a legacy."
Part of that desired legacy is to be known for selling high quality products from local, small business sources.
"Our mission is to work with primarily small farmers because we came from farming, we know that background," Dierking said. "Ninety percent of the flowers on our shelves are from Micro Tier I grows (farms with a growing space of up to 2,500 square feet)."
"That includes the smallest (cannabis) farm in Oregon," Gierer added. "It's something we want to lift up."
The founders also want to uplift consumers, whether it's experienced users — "They love it (here) because they're tired of going all the way to Salem," Dierking said — or people brand new to the process.
"We want to educate people, introducing them to microdoses and working their way up to the ideal dose," Dierking said. "For people who have anxiety or depression, one might argue cannabis is a better alternative to medication."
Treestar isn't the only dispensary to pop up in the area. Hierba Buena, located along Highway 99E in Hubbard, also opened up in March, and Green Planet anticipates to open a dispensary by this summer at the former Top O' the Hill Restaurant in Aurora.
Located at 1385 Industrial Ave., Treestar is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Available products include concentrates, edibles, extracts, pre-rolls, topicals and accessories. For more information, visit www.treestarbotanicals.com.