Although there has been controversy regarding cannabis dispensaries opening in Riverbank, Flavors has opened its doors for business on Patterson Road. The business opened last month with a ‘soft opening’ for Riverbank City Council members and other community members that wanted to view the business prior to its opening to the public. The business is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Flavors owner, Devin Stetler, has invited the community to visit the establishment. Customers must be 21 and over for recreational marijuana with a valid ID and for medical use it is 18 years and older.
“I put it on nextdoor.com to let the local community know to come down and meet us whether you support the business or not.” Stetler said. “Come down and see what we are doing, check out the security, have a better piece of mind about all of it.”
There have been several city council meetings in regards to allowing a dispensary to conduct business in Riverbank. The decision was not easy for the council which led them to do research and visit similar businesses in other areas. After the council approval, citizens continued to show their opposition and delivered signatures to the council to overturn their decision. There would need to be 992 valid Riverbank registered voter signatures to overturn the ruling.
“I know there are opposing people,” added Stetler. “In fact a few of them came in that signed the petition and said ‘oh gosh, this is great’ and made a purchase. That is what I was hoping to offset the needless fear and all the projections of what this might be. Look, this is what you want not what you don’t want.”
Flavors is a Cooperative Corporation that has approximately 200 strains of cannabis that customers can purchase as well as some edible items. They have exclusive brands that they carry due to the relationships that they have made.
“We have done this now one, two, three, and this is our fourth,” explained Stetler of the business venture.
Stetler added they learned with time how to better showcase the product and provide site security.
“So this is the latest evolution of our dispensaries,” he said.
Customers enter through the front door and pass a security guard and then approach a window where they check in and must fill out a patient membership agreement. For the medical marijuana customers the process is a bit different since they have medical cards. After the check-in the customers are allowed into the area where the product is. There are about 12 to 15 employees that have knowledge of the product and are available to answer any questions.
The building has several cameras for security purposes and a security office as well as a guard that is behind a one way glass. The additional offices have a multipurpose use and each office is secured and has cameras.
So far there has only been one incident with a patron smoking outside on the premises but she was quickly asked to leave.
“I think the people that are in the cannabis community it is like totally normal to smoke like a cigarette smoker, there is nothing wrong with that,” added Stetler. “But this is a very sensitive area and we have neighbors around here that are not for it so the rule is that nobody smokes around here. Nobody is doing that. So that was an isolated incident so far.”
With 60 cameras on site, three different high def systems, and screens monitoring the entire area, they take security and following all the rules very seriously.
There are several customers from Riverbank, Oakdale, Modesto and other surrounding cities but it was too soon to say where the majority of people are coming from. Stetler noted that they have noticed a shift in clientele from the other stores with Riverbank bringing an older crowd including seniors and retired people.
“I was really delighted to hear some opposing people come in and actually reshape their vision of what this is by seeing it,” expressed Stetler. “That to me was one of the most special moments so far.
“I feel clearly after two weeks that there are a lot more people appreciative and get it than the ones that don’t. All who come in a good way are welcome.”