High Q 3D digital

High Q Cedaredge digital rendering.

As October ends, nearly three months have passed since the Town of Cedaredge officially chose the two applicants who would be issued retail marijuana licenses, thereby allowing those applicants to start marijuana dispensaries in town.

PUR CannaBliss (Antyn Heatley and Janice Prosser) and High Q (Renée Grossman) were chosen by the Cedaredge Board of Trustees with use of a pre-determined scoring system, while The Kind Castle and Tipsy Twigs were denied licenses.

The DCI previously featured PUR CannaBliss in the article “A new era begins: the PUR CannaBliss story,” which can be found at deltacountyindependent.com.

The other license awardee, High Q, unlike PUR CannaBliss, is not local, not new, and it comes to Cedaredge as the fifth location in the High Q franchise, all which is exclusively in western Colorado.

Renée Grossman, founder, president and CEO of the High Q chain, said it was the town’s proximity to Highway 65 and the tourist attraction of Grand Mesa that caught her attention in the first place, as well as the fact that the location of Cedaredge was easily within the other locations’ cluster, with the other four stores being located in Silt, Carbondale, Snowmass Village and Parachute.

High Q Locations

The High Q chain already has stores in Silt, Carbondale, Snowmass Village and Parachute. The Cedaredge store will be the fifth location.

Grossman herself lives in Basalt and High Q is headquartered out of Carbondale, an approximate two hour drive from Cedaredge.

“We’re actually the largest vertically integrated marijuana business in the western slope of Colorado,” Grossman said, “so to the extent that I can expand my footprint within the western slope, that’s obviously very attractive.”

Grossman also felt that the location offered stability, as she came in with the understanding that the City of Delta does not allow retail marijuana and that it doesn’t appear that it will any time soon.

Grossman said she looked at Paonia as well, as the allowance for marijuana dispensaries was voted into effect there at the same time as it was in Cedaredge, but the Town of Paonia’s allowance of four businesses deterred her.

“I decided to pass on Paonia because they were going to allow four stores and I just thought that it was too many for that size of town,” Grossman said. “And also, again Cedaredge is so close to Delta that I think it’ll draw a lot of patrons from Delta.”

Grossman referenced the timeline of the project, as currently, seemingly nothing has been done to the site, which is the house immediately south of Cristee-Meade Building Company, right on the corner to the turnoff to the Cedaredge Foodtown.

The house is planned for a complete makeover inside and out, transforming it from residence to pot shop, including aesthetic façades and new siding all around.

In the meantime, according to Grossman, the team is about to start looking for a store manager, likely within the next month. Anyone in the area who is interested in the position will be able to apply online at highqrockies.com.

Also currently, Grossman and Tate Locke, owner of Cristee-Meade Building Company, which is both the renter and contractor for the upcoming dispensary, are in discussions with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), which wants the neighboring buildings of Cristee-Meade and High Q to have a single highway access to both businesses.

“We hope that we can be open by the end of the year, but some of it’s going to be dependent on how quickly we solve the site plan with CDOT and then the availability of workers and material,” Grossman said. “But we’re hoping to go pretty quickly.”

Grossman agreed with the PUR CannaBliss managers’ sentiment that they were all hoping that PUR CannaBliss and High Q would be the two businesses chosen by the trustees. Early on, Antyn Heatley and Janice Prosser introduced themselves to Grossman, spurring more friendly competition from the start.

“I was very impressed with their professionalism and I personally believe you can be friends with your competitors,” Grossman said. “Generally speaking, what happens is the locals decide which store they like better for whatever reason, some of them will shop at both depending who’s got the better deals going at that moment, and the tourists will also shop at both.”

There is another store in Silt alongside Grossman’s High Q dispensary, and according to Grossman, both businesses are thriving.

Both businesses will certainly sell overlapping product, Grossman said, so there will definitely be competition, but at the same time, while High Q will have products from its own growths in De Beque, PUR CannaBliss will obviously not have the same access. Likewise, PUR CannaBliss was additionally awarded a medical marijuana license by the town, allowing it to carry much higher doses for medical cardholders. High Q will not have that service.

Beyond the competition, Grossman commended the town for its professional, objective and very thorough process of selecting the licensees, which she said left no room for anyone to claim favoritism among the trustees.

“I was really impressed with how they handled their process,” Grossman said, having been to numerous work sessions during the period of time that the board was formalizing the legislation for marijuana retail in Cedaredge. “They really took it very seriously. The trustees invested a lot of their time in educating themselves and looking at what was working well in other municipalities and soliciting input from the community.”

In the coming months, the DCI will report on the progress of both businesses as they aim to open in the near future.

Lucas Vader is a staff writer for the Delta County Independent. Follow him on Twitter, @lucasrvader.

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