Green Dragon spreads its wings in Larimer County

Front+entrance+of+Green+Dragon

(Courtesy photo from Green Dragon)

Hayden Hawley, Cannabis Director

Green Dragon has become the latest multi-state dispensary chain to put down roots in Fort Collins. Located on Smithfield Drive, the location and business license were purchased from Choice Organics earlier this year.

“We looked for a strategic opportunity for us to expand our branding and our company into Northern Colorado and into this section of the state,” said Austin Steeves, the director of corporate operations for Green Dragon. “This was an opportunity that presented itself, and we jumped on it.”

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Green Dragon, a Denver-based company, has rapidly expanded across Colorado in the past several years, this being its 16th location in the state. The company also plans to open over 20 Florida dispensaries in the coming year. According to Steeves, that’s not all they’re expanding.

We dramatically reduced the pricing of what the prior dispensary was here, so we had a strategic opportunity to really capture some of the market that might have been lost by their pricing strategy.” –Austin Steeves, director of corporate operations for Green Dragon

“We are under a major renovation phase here where we are going to basically expand the first side of the building,” Steeves said of the Smithfield branch. This is to comfortably provide pot shoppers with a different kind of retail experience than they might be used to. “I think it’s going to be our biggest store actually, as far as square-footage goes. One of our big things is no waiting rooms. There’s no need for waiting rooms. In our industry, for some odd reason, we have made waiting rooms a standard, but it’s not needed.”

Green Dragon seeks to set itself apart from the competition with this normalized shopping experience as well as their competitive pricing. Steeves boasted a marked price drop from the location’s previous tenant.

“You’re seeing about a 30% reduction in flower pricing,” Steeves said. “We dramatically reduced the pricing of what the prior dispensary was here, so we had a strategic opportunity to really capture some of the market that might have been lost by their pricing strategy.”

Steeves attributed this competitive pricing to their system of vertical integration — that is, they grow and manufacture most of their product themselves through their two Colorado cultivation facilities.

The Fort Collins location offers over 20 strains of Green Dragon flower (nitrogen-sealed in a unique bag reminiscent of chips) as well as a number of products under the umbrella of “Higher Focus Brands,” including Sugar High Edibles, Le Remedie tinctures and topicals and Bleezy Blunts.

“We put (those) into our stores and can then offer that to our customers at a very affordable price because we’re cutting out the middleman of other manufacturers,” Steeves said. “We still have those brands in the store; those brands are all still here — we have the top brands, but we have our stuff as well.” 

Green Dragon is in the middle of an acquisition by California cannabis delivery giant Eaze and currently runs its own home delivery operation in Aurora, Colorado. Though cannabis delivery in Larimer County and Fort Collins is still strictly hypothetical, Steeves said they are working with current regulators to explore the opportunities.

“Being on the sales floor, the overall perception has been really warm and welcoming,” Steeves said. “I think the fact is that when customers come in, they’re used to the old company, Choice Organics. … We’re really able to appeal to the local audience now because of the price and structure change and the availability of our product selection that we’re bringing in.”

Reach Hayden Hawley at cannabis@collegian.com or on Twitter @hateonhawley.