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New Vansterdam celebrates one year in recreational marijuana business

Washington’s highest grossing pot shop is going all out to celebrate its first birthday with a weekend-long party.Anniversary Flyer Official_1

New Vansterdam, the second recreational marijuana store to open in Vancouver, turns one year old on Saturday. It’s been a huge first year for the store, which has sold more than $10.6 million worth of product since it opened on July 11 last year, outpacing every other pot shop in Washington.

The party began on Thursday with a smoking essential sale. It continued Friday, as customers lined up under a tent outside the entrance to watch a local glass blowing artist at work and meet a few of Washington’s most popular growers and processors from Zoots, Rogue Raven Farms and Liberty Reach.

It hasn’t been an easy journey to this point, but at the end of the first year, New Vansterdam managed to come out on top of Washington’s recreational marijuana market. The store opened with only about a dozen strains selling for more than a few dozen bucks per gram. Of course, customers weren’t happy about that, and the place even shut down a couple times due to supply shortages.

Today, New Vansterdam’s stock has grown to include more than 300 different strains, and prices have drastically fallen as the supply chain has stabilized in recent months. Prices should continue to fall before the end of the year, after state lawmakers restructured the burdensome tax system originally set up for the industry.

To put New Vansterdam’s supply in context, most of Washington’s 161 pot shops carry about 70 strains or fewer, said Shon-Lueiss Harris, the store’s spokesman.

If you haven’t visited New Vansterdam since last summer, you’re in for some big surprises.

This summer, New Vansterdam is in the midst of a massive remodel. When it’s done, the sales floor will be more spacious, the building will be more secure and the wall immediately inside the entrance to the sales floor will adorn a stylish mural of New Vansterdam’s new logo. Those are just a few of the highlights, Harris said.

“We’ve taken this corner that was pretty underutilized, and we’ve opened it up completely so we can handle a lot more customers,” he said pointing to an area near the entrance. “Honestly, we’ve probably doubled our occupancy.”

The store is also trying out a new menu structure, Harris said. Now, about 30 menu items will constantly be sold at the lower prices you would often only find in weekend specials.

New Vansterdam’s one-year anniversary festivities will continue throughout the weekend, along with sales on a long list of products. By mid-afternoon, Friday already looked like a busy day for the store, located along a bustling stretch of Mill Plain Boulevard.

In fact, the weekend rush started on Thursday, Harris said, as New Vansterdam served about 1,000 customers — a few hundred more than usual for that day of the week.

Harris and the store’s owners see a bright future for New Vansterdam in the next few years. The company already opened a medical dispensary in Beaverton this spring, and plans for further expansion north along the Washington coast are in the works, Harris said.

- Justin Runquist