Farma, plunked right in the epicenter of Portland’s original “cannabis corridor,” puts patients at ease with its clean, holistic, cutting-edge design. But Farma’s ethos isn’t a pretty face; it’s patient care. On most days award-winning budtender Jeremy Plumb, a prolific grower for many years and cultivator of Farma’s most popular strain, Cinex, enthusiastically dispenses his vast knowledge about the plant’s characteristics. Plumb’s enthusiasm is contagious, and he has set the bar high for budtenders at Farma.
“Because we’re in Portland, we get a lot of great resumes,” noted co-founder Sam Heywood, 42. “So, we’re able to hire people who are outgoing and intellectually curious. Those qualities are essential, because the way Farma presents cannabis is unique. We hold weekly Farma.edu classes for our staff, on subjects from organic techniques to customer service. We have daily staff meetings. We have internal memos about new products. Our understanding of the plant is evolving, so we have to educate ourselves every day.”
“I’m a former attorney, and my partners have been breeders and cultivators,” Heywood said. “The idea behind Farma is the same today as when we started: How can we reframe cannabis to improve people’s lives? For decades the government has branded cannabis for us, and the result has been stigma, shame, and lost lives and opportunity. Farma’s role is to help write a new story, one that involves a personal, positive relationship with the plant.”
Architect Annie Niedergang‘s modern boutique design is elegant and understated. “We definitely ascribe to a less-is-more philosophy,” Heywood noted. “Yet, design is important to us, so we try to walk the line between style and functionality.”
Anne Niedergang. “She did a wonderful job,” said Heywood. “The interior design has been an ongoing collaboration between myself and our team. We’re lucky to have some very talented people working with us.”
Twenty to twenty-five, most of whom are full-time. “Our employees tend to think of Farma as an extended family, and they spend a lot of time together outside of work,” Heywood said. “We are building a culture that, we hope, they can take with them even after they leave Farma.”
“We are, first and foremost, a flower shop. So, we focus on the best Oregon growers, with an emphasis on sustainable, regenerative techniques,” said Heywood. “Our best sellers vary from week to week, because the cultivators we carry vary from week to week.”
“When we opened for business in late 2014, there were already dozens of licensed dispensaries in Portland, and we were serving medical marijuana cardholders, not the general public,” Heywood revealed. “Our growth since then has been better than any of us projected. We stay busy, and our revenue is growing by the month. It’s been challenging and extremely rewarding.”
“My job is to help steer a forward-thinking, conscious company in the most exciting industry in America. What’s not to love?” said Heywood.
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