A visit to New Vansterdam

I finally got over to New Vansterdam this morning for a look at their setup.

My impression? The interior looks great, streamlined and very well thought out.

The storefront? Not so much, but that’s not really the owners’ faults.

New Vansterdam
New Vansterdam

Stores can only have a single one-sided, 1,600 square inch sign out front. The owners are still trying to figure out where to put it.

That’s no different than any other store in the state, as far as I’ve seen.

And things get very impressive once you open the door.

Brian Budz, one of the owners, took me through how customers will experience their first legal purchases of marijuana.

First, they will come into a waiting room area, set up so the main store doesn’t get too crowded. They’ll hand their IDs through the small glass windows (the site used to be a check cashing spot) to an employee and get their IDs handed back on a clipboard with a list of items and prices.

(The entryway waiting area at New Vansterdam)
(The entryway waiting area at New Vansterdam)

The entryway looks a little empty now, but there will be some big screen TVs and sofas in there to make folks more comfortable, Budz said.

“People can come in, sit down, get out of the rain while they wait for room in the store,” Budz said.

Once they enter the main store through the security door, customers can check out an area full of glassware and smoking equipment, then go over to a series of tables with iPads that have details on each product, strain and grower. The areas will also have employees on hand to answer questions and samples available for viewing and sniffing.

“These slabs are 800-year-old fir dredged from the bottom of the Willamette (River),” Budz said proudly of his table-top displays. “They’re kiln dried. We went for a more modern look with gray walls, so we wanted to soften it by using natural wood.”

(Brian Budz behind one of the store's table displays.)
(Brian Budz behind one of the store’s table displays.)

Visitors to the store can browse items, get information and check off what they want and how much of it on their clipboard as they wander through.

(more display area)
(more display area)

To me, it sounds a bit like a combination of an Apple store and a sushi a la carte menu, which Budz said was pretty much what they’ve been going for.

“It’s like a sushi restaurant of cannabis,” Budz said with a laugh.

After customers finish making their selections, they’ll move on to the payment area, where they turn in their clipboard and an employee gets them the items they checked off.

(Payment area)
(Payment area)

While I was there, Brain Stroh, owner of CannaMan Farms, popped by for a visit.

New Vansterdam is planning on opening at 8 a.m. on July 11, a Friday. Budz said he wanted to make sure everything went smoothly so he’s not rushing the opening to July 8 or 9, as some others are planning.

Stroh said he should have a limited amount of supply available for New Vansterdam’s customers when the store opens.

“These guys are going to have some of the only stuff I’ll be selling,” Stroh said of the store.

The reason for that is he hasn’t been able to harvest much yet, and he’d like to support local businesses first.

Both men said they’re expecting shortages and a bit of chaos in the first few weeks of operations.

“It’s like that for all of us,” Stroh said. “I’m really interested to see what’s happening out there in the rest of the state. I’ve talked to maybe 40 people saying they’re planning on opening on July 8, and the state has said 20 will open. It’ll be interesting to see what actually rolls out and when.”

(Stroh, left, and Budz discuss opening day.)
(Stroh, left, and Budz discuss opening day.)

There probably won’t be much in the way of edibles available until the fall, considering the shortage of marijuana buds from growers, the two said.

It sounds like the first three months of operations, customers should expect to see mostly just a variety of marijuana flowers and not much in the way of tinctures or oils or food. And early on, even the supply of buds could be a little spotty.

“We have told our employees that there is a chance we could open and then we may have to close the doors (on a few scattered business days) because we’ll be short of supply,” Budz said.

But there should be a more steady influx of supply by late August. And in October things should really get cookin’, the two said.

“I think there will be a big difference six weeks from now,” Stroh said. “The middle of August there will be a lot more supply, and when the outdoor grows harvest in October, then there will be lots of product.”

I’ll have more on these guys soon, along with coverage of other openings and projects coming along around town.

Stay tuned!