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In Fairbanks, new marijuana shops struggle to keep up with demand

  • Author: Laurel Andrews
  • Updated: November 4, 2016
  • Published November 3, 2016

There's a lot of joint-rolling happening in Fairbanks right now.

Two marijuana stores, Frozen Budz and Pakalolo Supply Co., opened this week in the Interior Alaska community and have been sprinting to keep up with demand, both stores' owners said Thursday afternoon.

Frozen Budz was the first to open, at 4:20 p.m. on Halloween. The shop was selling marijuana from Fairbanks grower Subsistence Products, which started at $20 per gram, co-owner Destiny Neade said.

The store made more than 300 sales that first day, nearly running out of all its packaged product, Neade said.

The next day, the shop opened at 4 p.m. With about 100 customers through the door, it sold out in just over an hour.

"I was surprised that it was so fast," Neade said.

The store shut down just after 5 p.m. and will remain closed until Saturday, she said.

For now, Neade is focused on packaging more marijuana, working out some technical issues with the point-of-sale system, and getting more cannabis from Subsistence Products and Kenai's Greatland Ganja.

On Thursday, Neade and her son were rolling joints, "as many as we possibly can, until we have arthritis in our fingers," Neade said.

Meanwhile, Pakalolo's Wednesday opening was met with a line down the street, co-owner Keenan Hollister said.

"It was just super nuts," Hollister said.

A line extended out the door on Pakalolo Supply Co’s opening day, Wednesday. (Pakalolo Supply Co.)

Around 4:30 p.m., the store ran out of packaged bud and employees went to the back of the store to package more while customers waited patiently in line, Hollister said. Some left and came back. Others bought some cannabis and came back later to buy more.

"Honestly, Fairbanks just completely blew us away," Hollister said.

Pakalolo is also a licensed grower and offers strains with names such as Girl Scout Cookies, Northern Lights, Mauna Kea White Fire OG and Green Crack from its own grow. Prices hovered around $20 a gram.

By the evening, Pakalolo started limiting people to 3 grams per purchase. In all, the store made 867 transactions Wednesday, Hollister said.

Unlike Pakalolo, Frozen Budz didn't limit the amount people could buy.

"We thought it would be the coolest if someone could come in and buy an ounce," Neade said.

And people did. A lot of them — priced at $320 each.

"I guess we weren't expecting people to buy bigger quantities … but nope," Neade said.

On Thursday afternoon, both stores were in a mad dash to get more cannabis ready for sale.

"We're trying to feverishly package right now," Hollister said. Seven employees were working the product, along with the store's owners. Pakalolo was expected to open again on Thursday evening.

Eventually, Frozen Budz will have more employees and won't have to close down to focus on packaging, Neade said. The store will eventually offer marijuana from multiple growers and concentrates, as well as edibles from its commercial kitchen, she said.

"We've got brownies, we've got hummus, we've got barbecue sauce … I'm kind of planning on just rotating through my products, to see which ones are most popular, and so forth," Neade said.

Pakalolo will have more of its own strains on the shelves soon, once testing results are back. They'll keep harvesting every few weeks, Hollister said. The company will also eventually have product from other growers on the shelves, and edibles, likely in December.

Meanwhile, in the smaller community of Valdez, the first shop in the state to open its doors has yet to run out of product. At Herbal Outfitters, five strains are still on the shelves, half of the original 10 it started with on Saturday, according to general manager Derek Morris.

"We've stayed busy!" Morris wrote in a text message Thursday.

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