“It’s more than just a good time on a Saturday night.” That’s what Brian Samore, director of facilities operations at Nectar Markets, had to say about working in the cannabis industry in 2019. And he’s right.
With a value upwards of $16 billion in North American markets, the legal marijuana industry is booming. For many states where cannabis is now medically and/or recreationally legal, gone are the days of hiding your stash. Now, dispensaries, distributors, farms and indoor grow operations around the country proudly don their various titles within cannabis culture.
Nectar is among one of the many players in Oregon – a market saturated with dispensaries. Cannabis retail sales in Oregon totaled $643 million in 2018.
But Nectar has something that most do not – accreditation from Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific.
“This is a company that values customer services and that’s what that BBB seal means to us,” Samore said. “It’s a validation that we must be doing something right.”
Nectar represents a unique industry. It’s indicative of a larger cultural shift taking place in Portland, OR. Currently, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission handles cannabis retail licensing and regulatory matters. But there is only one third-party organization that closely analyzes the business-consumer relationship to weed out, if you will, the shady ones. And that, of course, is the Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest and Pacific (BBBNW+P). We’re proud to accredit businesses in the cannabis industry that meet our strict standards of trust and transparency, in addition to being responsive to consumer complaints.
And that is why BBBNW+P decided to feature Nectar in our ongoing video series, Building a Better Business. I, along with Mike di Donato, BBB’s in-house visual storyteller and videographer, spent a recent morning with Samore and his team getting to know the company and what sets it apart.
Nectar runs 19 dispensaries in the state, as well as an expansive grow operation in southern Oregon where they cultivate their own flower. Flower is the name for smokable marijuana versus other cannabis products such as topicals, tinctures, extracts, etc.
What became clear during the video shoot, was how critical it is to Nectar employees to build personal relationships with their customers. They told us making the customer feel comfortable is of the utmost importance. After all, many people turn to cannabis to alleviate very personal struggles such as anxiety, cancer, PTSD, epilepsy and much more.
“That’s probably my favorite part of the job, bonding with the customers,” said Bailey, one of Nectar’s budtenders. Yes, budtender not bartender: the person behind the counter serving you marijuana. However, in a dispensary, the dynamic is a bit more tailored.
“These people come to you looking for answers and just wanting help,” Bailey continued. “You feel like you have a purpose.”
Knowing all of this, it’s easy to see why Nectar values customer service and transparency. That BBB seal, Samore believes, signals to customers, ‘You can trust us.’
Trust in this industry is a big deal because legal cannabis doesn’t look like it’s going away. More states across the country are in talks to legalize. However, the struggle is illustrating to consumers that professional dispensaries do exist. Still, there are of course, common misconceptions: cue clouds of smoke in Foreman’s basement from That 70’s Show. I promise you, folks, it’s nothing like that.
As cannabis culture continues to grow, BBB, like many businesses and communities, is learning to just roll with it. Rather than shy away from the industry, we’ve embraced it into our accreditation process, knowing there’s a need for a trustworthy third-party to oversee that marketplace. Consumers rely on the BBB seal; and businesses like Nectar deserve this spotlight.