Rec Shop Lifts Businesses in CO Mountain Town

Business owners in Carbondale, Colorado, need to thank the town’s recreational marijuana shop.

A story in the Aspen Times reports that the Main Street businesses in the small mountain town have seen a spike in customers since Jan. 15, which is when the Doctor’s Garden marijuana store opened for recreational business. The shop is the first recreational store to open in Colorado’s Western Slope region.

The small town of 6,400 people is located between the ski town of Aspen and Interstate 70, which funnels traffic across the state.

Restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores there have all reported unusually high numbers of customers since the shop opened. Most of the customers, businesses owners reported, are tourists in the 50-plus age group.

“What was kind of surprising was how normal the people were that were coming to Carbondale to buy marijuana,” said Carol Bruno, owner of Peppino’s Pizza in downtown Carbondale. “It wasn’t the stoner crowd I expected, but an older, normal clientele.”

The report reinforces the opinion that opening early in a recreational marijuana economy can generate substantial business. But it also shows that recreational cannabis stores can be good neighbors for traditional business owners, many of whom might be skeptical of the industry.

January is traditionally a slow time for the town. But the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce said the month has been just as busy as summertime.

Whether the business continues is yet to be seen. Aspen is expected to open its first recreational retail store within the month, and another is expected to open in nearby Glenwood Springs as well.