“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”
That’s how Coco Chanel, iconic designer and legendary businesswoman, described her brand’s enduring ethos. That same richness, sophistication and warmth could be said to describe the spirit of Diego Pellicer, Seattle’s newest and most splendid marijuana retail store.
Diego Pellicer has its sights clearly focused on the premium end of the cannabis industry, hoping to establish a foothold as the retail outlet for consumers seeking a high-end, Chanel Coco-like experience.
The company opened its doors for the first time on Friday, welcoming Seattleites and tourists to a 3,300-square-foot showcase featuring imported Spanish tile, granite floors and ornate chandeliers. It’s interior feels as if you walked into a fine jewelry store rather than a headshop. The attention to detail and clean design is clearly laid out for shoppers to relax and, well, shop.
Located in Seattle’s SoDo district, fast becoming a major hub for the legal marijuana industry in the Emerald City, Diego Pellicer is a short walk from the professional sports stadiums and a light rail station. The store’s location is near the highest traffic intersection in the city with 33,200 cars passing by daily. A parking lot is at the store along with ample street parking.
A long, strange trip
It’s been a long, strange journey from brand conception to Friday’s grand opening, according to investment banker Douglas Anderson, the founder and senior vice president of strategy and vision of the publicly traded Diego Pellicer Worldwide. <DPWW>
“Originally, we thought the launch date might be as soon as the summer of 2013,” Anderson said. “The realities of bureaucracy and regulations took effect but we persevered, went through a few management shakeups and kept at it. Diego Pellicer is not only a premier, luxury brand. We’re tenacious and flexible too,” he added.
Because of the complexities of federal, state and local laws, the company — like all entrepreneurs fighting for positioning in the nascent marijuana industry — the company had to tweak its business model, which also accounted for the delay.
The business model is unique. Diego Pellicer Worldwide, the entity that Anderson is a part of, essentially serves as a real estate and retail development company. Its goal is to create the world’s first “premium” cannabis brand. Diego Pellicer Washington is owned and operated by Alejandro Canto and Peter Norris. This duo follow the Diego Pellicer brand “template” for the in-store shopping experience.
“From the moment they step inside, customers will know that the quality of our cannabis products and service is beyond anything they’ve previously experienced,” said Canto, two days before the opening.
“We spent a lot of time on how we can help the consumer,” Anderson said. “Our layout, our look-and-feel, aesthetic and our store flow were all carefully considered. We consulted with Tommy Bahama’s creative director to figure out what the ideal shopping experience should be. I think we are really dialed in here.”
Who is Diego Pellicer anyway?
But who is Diego Pellicer? And what does he have to do with cannabis?
The company took its name from risk-taking pioneer Diego Pellicer, who was a business and political leader on the island of Cebu in the Philippines. According to company lore (yes, the upstart enterprise already has an intriguing backstory), while others invested in the spice trade, Pellicer invested his fortunes in hemp. When a sugar crisis bankrupted many on the island, which lead to the Spanish-American War in 1898, Pellicer emerged as the largest hemp producer in the world. Today, Pellicer’s great-grandson acts as one of the co-founders and is proud to pay homage to his great-grandfather.
Ron Throgmartin, CEO of Diego Pellicer Worldwide, sees a bright future for the industry — and his brand within it. Throgmartin has an impressive business resumé who helped build his family enterprise to $2.4 million in revenue, then brought it public on the New York Stock Exchange. It is now a retail and brand play spread across 17 southeastern states.
“Beginning with our flagship store in Seattle, our knowledgeable marijuana connoisseurs will offer individuals a safe and comfortable experience as they present the best products available, based on customer needs.” said the veteran retailer Throgmartin.
Throgmartin and Anderson have an ambitious growth strategy. The company now has grow facility tenants currently operational and will launch retail tenant operations beginning in Colorado next month. They have designs in other states and countries as well.
2215 Fourth Avenue South
Posted By: Al Olson