With more and more states joining the fray in legalizing the use of medicinal and recreational marijuana, the stigma and misinformation about this once widely controversial substance appear to be waning as well. Damien McDivitt, owner of the Mary Mart on 6th Avenue in Tacoma, thinks his shop might have had something to do with it.
“The days of the typical marijuana user are over,” McDivitt says. “Our customers are everyone. A 56-year-old business professional is standing in line with a 23-year-old college student who said good afternoon to the soccer mom that was holding the door open for a 75-year-old retiree. It’s a beautiful thing to see all these people share a common interest in a truly wonderful product. I would like to give a great amount of credit for this to our incredible staff and shop.”
Mary Mart opened in September of 2014. McDivitt was one of the entrepreneurs lucky enough to win a retail license through a lottery system put in of place by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, one of the many methods the WSLCB put in place to keep the distribution tightly regulated. “We are a family company,” explains McDivitt. “It was started with us refinancing a car and a small loan from my wife’s retirement. It was all hands on deck for making it happen. My father, mother, brothers, and wife all pitched in to make the store come to life.”
The result of McDivitt and family’s hard work is a shop that many might not expect. “Upon entering Mary Mart our customers are greeted by an environment similar to a convenience store designed by Starbucks or Nordstrom’s,” McDivitt explains. “We feature a brightly lit clean environment showcasing beautiful and colorful professionally branded products. We pride ourselves on providing a high level of education on the products that we sell. This is truly the most responsible thing to do for the public due to the newness of marijuana to so many people. And providing a little bit of education on either a seasoned user or a beginning experimenter is fun! We invite anyone to stop by and get a bit of knowledge about a historically secretive product. There is never any pressure to purchase anything.”
This level of customer service is especially important when the options are so diverse. Visitors can expect more than 100 different strains of locally cultivated products, as well as hundreds of various candies, cookies, lotions, balms, pipes, lubricants, and concentrates. This can feel a little daunting to a beginner. However, McDivitt and staff are up to the challenge. “What sets Mary Mart apart from the rest is our environment and our incredible staff,” McDivitt says. “Our customer service, I believe is the best in our industry and many others. I have been repeatedly been told (and it shows by all of our incredible reviews) that our customer service is the best that some people have received in any industry let alone our industry.”
Aside from recreational distribution, Mary Mart has also been one of the first stores in the area to become a provider under the new legislation concerning medical marijuana. They have five full-time staff who earned a Medical Marijuana Consultant Certification from the Department of Health. This allows customers to be able to ask staff questions regarding medical marijuana law, risks/benefits, and how to properly store products to keep them safe from children and pets.
On top of all that, Mary Mart offers deals and specials throughout the week. For example, Wednesdays are Ladies Days, where all women receive 10% off their entire purchase. Thursdays are Valued Citizens Days, where all persons over 55 get the same discount. McDivitt encourages everyone to check out the website for a complete and up to date list of all specials and deals.
According to McDivitt, the legalization of marijuana presented him with a unique and amazing opportunity to get on the forefront of a whole new industry. “The end of prohibition only comes around once,” he laughs. “This industry has provided a very excited and adventurous (albeit nerve-wracking) way to earn a living.”
The future of the business is one of cautious optimism. “Our future is still a little bit of a mystery,” he says. “We currently operate within the very tightly controlled environment brought about by our laws in the US and Washington State, and rules enforced by the [Washington State] Liquor and Cannabis Board. As long as we in the Washington marijuana industry continue to conduct our business in a professional and responsible manner, I would expect our industry to grow in amazing ways. Of course we have plans for the future here at Mary Mart, but sometimes it is more fun for them to be a surprise!”
3005 6th Avenue, Suite B
Tacoma, WA 98406