Growing positivity in Humboldt County
Heads Lifestyle sat down with Craig Nejedly, owner of Satori Wellness and visionary cannabis entrepreneur to talk about the trials and elation of finally opening his new dispensary in McKinleyville, Humboldt County, California, living a conscious-minded lifestyle, growing organic cannabis, positivity, and skateboarding, of course.
Heads Lifestyle: This is not the first business venture for the Satori Brand. Tell us the Satori story in a nutshell?
Satori: Satori Movement began in 1998 with the mission being a conscientious skateboard company. We started with skateboard wheels and a professional team that represented the brand. At that time, we were also making hemp and organic clothing. To this day, we still produce clothing and skateboard wheels that are distributed globally. Now Satori is also up front and open in the cannabis industry as we always had a reputation as a stoner brand.
HL: What is Satori’s guiding principle in all that you do?
S: Our goal has always been to make top-notch, high-grade products as sustainably as possible while promoting them with a positive branding image focused on an organic, conscious-minded lifestyle.
Satori Wellness owner Craig Nejedly cutting the ribbon on opening day March 3rd, 2018
HL: Choosing McKinleyville as the location for your dispensary was a real collaborative affair with the town and community. Can you comment on this experience?
S: It took seven years to open the dispensary. McKinleyville is just north of Arcata where Humboldt State University is located. There were no dispensaries in McKinleyville and it was the fastest growing community on the North Coast, so it just presented itself as being a great location. Satori Movement has also been operating out of McKinleyville since 2009.
Our goal has always been to make top-notch, high-grade products as sustainably as possible while promoting them with a positive branding image focused on an organic, conscious-minded lifestyle.
The main hold up was Humboldt County being so conservative and passing a ban on dispensaries. Our application was accepted and processed for agency referrals, which is the last step before a staff report and then public hearing. Satori Wellness was so close to opening in 2011 until the County passed a ban on dispensaries and our application was suspended. Finally, in 2016, the County issued a new ordinance to allow dispensaries and we had to reapply. (Satori Wellness opened on March 3, 2018.)
HL: What’s the reception been like in the neighbourhood? Have folks been cool?
S: Now that the shop is open, the community support has been great. We run a very nice, clean and professional shop. Our local supervisor even came through in support and bought a salve product for his aching knee. Business has been great in our first month. We are here to support the community and add value and integrity to the perception of cannabis. We have even joined the local chamber of commerce and have their support as well.
HL: Do you carry any items or products that are unique to Satori Wellness?
S: Yes, for sure. I have multiple farms under the brand Talking Trees Farms. Satori Wellness exclusively carries all the Talking Trees products in Humboldt and produces a wide variety of strains, bubble hash, distillates, oils, topicals and edibles. We are the exclusive retailer in this region for the brands Blue River Terpenes, Prana Medicinals, Dying Breed Seedz, Gold Drop and more. Of Course, we also carry Satori Movement apparel as well as skate products. Actually, we may be the only dispensary that is also a skate shop.
HL: Has there been any surprise hot sellers since opening? What’s the most common or popular purchase?
S: Pre-rolls are a huge seller. We sold almost 700 pre-rolls in our first month. They fly out the door daily. Space Gem gummies, which is a Talking Trees affiliated brand, is probably our second top seller. In general, 1/8s of flower are definitely popular but everything we carry sells—carts, high-end live resins and sauces. We even carry cannabis suppositories!
A look inside
HL: What is the greatest misconception potential customers have towards cannabis?
S: Options. Most customers don’t realize how many ways there is to experience cannabis. We see customers of all ages including a great deal of older people who are coming in to learn more about cannabis. There are so many ways to intake cannabis from raw THCA products that do not get you high, to CBD, which is particularly beneficial for many ailments and diseases.
HL: What’s your employee policy about sampling the products?
S: Due to state regulations, we are not allowed to offer samples to employees or customers. We are actually mandated by the state to quarantine and destroy all samples used for display. So we hold social club type events at a private location where our budtenders can get to know our vendors and their products. This gives them the opportunity to try products and that enables them to provide customers with more knowledge.
HL: Do you have any compassionate pricing programs for veterans, first responders, low-income individuals, or others?
S: We are launching a compassion program now. Veterans always get 10% off every day of the week. For sick patients that cannot afford the cannabis they need, our compassion program will ensure they get access to their medicine through deep discounts or even free product in some cases.
HL: What does the future hold for Satori? You’ve achieved your goal of opening a dispensary, where are your sights set next?
S: Satori is always growing into the future. There may be more dispensaries to open in the state. Satori is part of a family of brands that I own and operate. Satori Wellness is a great way for us to learn about the retail experience; to know what works and sells in the retail environment. I also own High Grade Distribution that is in an adjacent unit to the dispensary. High Grade Distribution was formed in 2004 as a distribution centre for brands like Creation Skateboards, Upful Skateboarding and others. Now, we’ve converted High Grade’s operations to cannabis distribution serving shops in California. We will primarily be distributing products from Talking Trees Farms so we are constantly working on new infused products and extracts to bring to market. These are always produced from high grade, organic and sustainably grown cannabis. So the future is bright yet busy! I have been in the cannabis industry for over 20 years now. I started growing in 1998; I am in this industry for the long run and excited about the opportunities.
Satori Wellness opened its doors on March 3, 2018. Satori Wellness is a premier medical and adult use cannabis dispensary offering a wide range of high-end products. Satori Wellness is situated at 1551 Nursery Way, Suite B, McKinleyville, CA 95519; (707) 839-4599