Have a Heart is best described as a local mom and pop cannabis shop turned national success story. What started as a single medicinal marijuana shop in Seattle in 2011, grew exponentially into a vast, cooperative network of successful retail shops within a few short years. Have a Heart is quickly becoming one of the cannabis space’s most heartwarming and well-deserved success stories.
Although Have a Heart operates in a recreational environment, it maintains a wellness approach to all of its retail storefronts.
“No matter how large Have a Heart becomes, we will always be hyper-focused on providing our guests with a small company/local feel,” says Have a Heart’s CEO and Founder, Ryan Kunkel.
The decor inside the flagship store located in the tiny Belltown neighborhood was crafted by former Disney Imagineer Mike Dillon of Dillon Works. It stands out in an industry where many retailers, such as Columbia Care, have a sterile atmosphere, similar to other pharmacies (Walgreens, Duane Reade).
While MedMen’s flagship is often compared to the Apple store, Have a Heart correlates to Best Buy. The atmosphere is playful and fun. The space was formerly occupied by the nightclub See Sound Lounge, providing the retail store with a decent amount of space.
The immersive environment is reminiscent of its Canadian counterpart The Friendly Stranger cannabis culture shop in trendy Queen Street West.
The outlet’s extensive product selection is divided easily into departments containing flower, edibles, vapes and cartridges. Knowledgeable staff are always on hand to describe the experience a user will have with any product. The staff are subject to quarterly pop-quizzes to ensure they are up to date with their knowledge of product selection and qualified to make appropriate recommendations to customers, who the company refers to as “guests.”
“Because we are so retail focused, and because we are so passionate about product assortment and availability, our guests have rewarded us with their loyalty. Therefore, we are experiencing exceptional growth in every market we serve,” says Kunkel proudly.
Have a Heart currently operates five locations in Washington, and a medical-only shop in Kauai, Hawaii. They recently opened the first and only recreational/medical shop in Fresno County in the city of Coalinga, California, with two more stores opening soon in Oakland, and three additional locations in San Francisco.
By the end of 2018, Have a Heart plans to expand to 18 operational stores. A whopping 55 shops are projected across the country by the end of 2019, including medical marijuana shops in the Iowa areas of Davenport and Council Bluffs.
The company takes corporate social responsibility seriously. They claim they are on a mission to “Do Good.” Their social justice mandate is an organizational commitment to invest 2 percent of the net income from each and every store, directly into local community causes and initiatives.
As COO Ed Mitchell points out, “City council members like Have a Heart because we are not sticking all of our stores in the heart of downtown areas. Our stores have a delivery service, so that isn’t necessary. We aren’t luring in teenagers. We are giving back to the communities in which we serve.”
While the cannabis space is evolving daily into a more corporate and sterile environment, it is comforting to know that this aptly named cannabis company still has a heart.