The ‘Costco of Weed’ Opens in the Bay Area
Flower Company sells ounces of weed for $59. That’s not a typo, that’s ounces with an ‘O’. That’s also why Stuart and our team are now Flower Company members and why we’ve partnered with them to promote their incredible, Humboldt grown, wholesale Cannabis service in the Bay Area.
When we heard the ‘Costco of weed’ was coming to the bay area we were skeptical, we pictured some big box, corporate jerks coming into the Bay to make a quick buck. But in actuality, Flower Company is a small company, started by a local guy, and the only thing ‘big box’ about them is that their prices are wholesale. They deliver cannabis directly from Humboldt in such a cost-effective way that they can charge customers something like 90% less than the current retail rates. It’s wholesale cannabis, directly from farmers, ordered online, then delivered a couple days later, like it was Amazon Prime.
We got to talk to Flower Company co-founder Tony Diepenbrock at length about their ‘no middlemen’ service, and how they keep prices so low. Their model currently relies on taking cannabis orders on the weekend, and then scheduling deliveries that following week to their members at a specific day and time. The menu is updated every week with what’s available for delivery. An annual membership is usually $79, but right now they’re allowing first-time users to order whatever they want without a membership.
Their prices are insanely low, especially if you take cannabinoids regularly for health reasons, or just smoke a lot, the savings over a year would be in the thousands of dollars. And they sell it all, indoor, outdoor, cartridges, prerolls, tinctures, & edibles ect.
Here’s our Interview with Flower Company Co-Founder Tony Diepenbrock:
BAS: Where are you from?
Tony: I grew up in San Jose. My dad is from Burlingame, Grandpa from SF, Great Grandpa migrated to SF. I live 5 blocks from where my grandpa grew up in Pacific Heights. The joke is that my great grandpa came looking for gold, maybe I found the green 🙂
Are you comfortable with the “Costco of Weed’ comparison?
Yes, 100%. Who doesn’t love Costco? I grew up going there. Costco is one of the best examples of how capitalism and ethical business practices can co-exist. They do everything they possibly can to get customers the best products and prices without sacrificing how they treat their employees. Employees receive top-notch benefits, make $22.50/hr on average, 70% of their managers started on the floor. Nobody leaves Costco, neither their customers nor their employees. When I visit the Costco in San Jose, I still see the same employees I remember as a kid. It’s nuts.
What’s it like working directly with Humboldt Farmers?
Humboldt County is the epicenter of craft cannabis. My co-founder Scott has decades of cultivation and industry experience in. Without these deep roots in the biggest and most important cannabis region of the US (more than 1400 permitted farms representing 3 generations), it would be nearly impossible to bring Flower Company to market.
What’s the most popular item bought on FlowerCompany.com right now?
We sell half ounces of preground flower for $18 like crazy. It’s what we use for our joints – it’s ground-up bud. Strong and cheap. We’ll be expanding into more preground strains too.
There are 3 ways we keep prices low:
Membership: By having a membership, we can keep product prices at wholesale prices, which also keeps taxes low. That’s meaningful when tax is 38.5% in some areas like Oakland.
Prescheduled delivery: Compared to dispensaries, we don’t have any of the overhead of retail. Compared to on-demand delivery services, we have lower costs per delivery because of our efficient routes. Currently, our service is a little limited – you can only order over the weekend for delivery the following Wed, Thurs, or Sat, but it’ll look like Amazon Prime sooner than later. With 90-minute delivery windows, we can have highly optimized delivery routes which saves a lot of money.
Only pack what’s ordered: Given our pre-scheduled delivery model, we only pack what’s ordered each week. This reduces costs by a lot since we’re not paying to store products in the Bay Area, one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world.
Do you smoke weed?
Yes, the whole team does, our motto is “Cannabis Abundant!”
What does your mom think about you being a cannabis executive?
My mother has always been supportive of me. That said, she’s concerned about what the job entails – most people wonder what I do on a day-to-day basis. In reality, it’s not very glamorous. It’s hard work.
Do you have a favorite strain right now?
I’ve been really into this outdoor strain, Lambo OG, lately which is a sativa-heavy hybrid. The high is bright and euphoric. I love our Humboldt outdoors. Other than that I’m a huge advocate for anything 1:1 ratio. Infinity is one of my all time favorites – it’s around 8% THC/7% CBD and is a really clean and focused high. I would say the most ideal strain for daytime use. Both strains are great for pain management and have a low risk of paranoia.
Do you have any favorite spots to smoke at in the East Bay or SF?
It’d be hard to beat smoking an awesome Sour Diesel joint in Dolores Park on a sunny Saturday. You have everything you need there, especially puppies. I love puppies.
What’s your favorite spot to eat in the bay right now?
In high school, my friends and I would drive an hour to eat dinner at Sol Food in San Rafael/Mill Valley. The tostones with jack cheese and avocado are just out of this world.
Why should people trust you guys as a service? You’re not one of those ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ delivery services right?
Flower Company is all about trust. Trust is earned slowly and lost quickly. To win the hearts of our customers, we must consistently meet their expectations. As a startup, this is a challenge, but it’s critical to our success.
For the first few months, I was the one answering every phone call so many of our earliest members knew me personally. Despite being underwater with my workload now, I still make a serious effort to speak with my first customers on a regular basis. They were the ones that trusted Flower Company from the beginning so I always want to make sure they’re happy.
Unlike most of the companies in our space, we’ll be investing into customer support. Nobody likes a company you can’t contact when you have a problem.