ood news, Havre, there’s a new dispensary in town! Last week, Missoula-based Dancing Goat Gardens quietly opened a second location just east of Havre city limits. The shop is a particularly exciting addition to the city of 10,000, which is otherwise home to just three other providers: an outpost of Bloom MT and two smaller independent operations (dispensaries aren’t permitted in the city proper).
Co-founded and owned by married couple Jay and Kim Bostrom, Dancing Goat embraces direct-in-soil growing practices, boasts killer strains like Dark Plasma and Ice Cream Cake, and cooks up some of the most creative (and delicious) edibles around, like their original interpretation of a Twix stick. While the shop will be online / pickup-only for the next couple of weeks as construction wraps up, it’s not too soon for patients to enjoy their products, even if you can’t peruse the store in person.
To learn more, we caught up with co-founder Jay Bostrom to learn why the company chose Havre as its new location, the challenges of opening the business and the importance of being a good neighbor to fellow dispensaries.
This conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
MCI: Congrats on getting the store open! How’re things going?
Jay Bostrom: We just laughed: “are we [actually] gonna be open on Wednesday?” It was technology glitch, technology glitch, technology glitch. It was 4:20 on Wednesday when [Kim] said, you can put the flags out.
You never know what people in markets are accustomed to. We have flags everywhere on the property that say “open online,” “curbside,” online, online, online. No one pays attention and walks through the door (laughs). They’re walking through construction zones, past electricians with ladders, trying to have a shopping experience. It’s fine. We’re trying to be accommodating. The online stuff we were really prepared for, but people just want to come in and see the store. We love it, but we’re not ready yet.
Do you have a rough guess when the shop will be ready for visitors?
It all depends on when certain vendors get things to us: when the new Cash app arrives, when the new display case arrives, when the electricians finish the indoor lighting. Valentine's Day would be [a great target].
What factors played into your decision to expand?
It was written into our original business plan that we would need to eventually expand to have more than one store. Anyone can see the concerns that exist with saturation in Montana. [DPHHS], in their infinite wisdom, made the decision to put no limits on the number of licenses.
Being what it is, there are going to be some bubbles that burst. I hope it's not ours. I try to stay humble to the idea that we may not be one of those that nature selects for (laughs). We're working really hard to be successful and one of the things we thought was to create more opportunity for revenue and that can’t happen if you don't have more than one location.
What was the appeal of Havre specifically?
It kills two birds with one stone. We're very excited to be part of the community up here. More than anything, we found a property that was - compared to a place like Missoula or Bozeman - just in a completely different price range. Our intention over time is to move operations this direction. There's a lot of acreage to work with, and an amazing facility and building where we can do so many things for production, packaging and even growing.
Speaking of saturation, in Missoula it can feel like every dispensary has to carve out a specific niche to set themselves apart. Does the dynamic in Havre feel different?
It does and it doesn't. There's one big player in Havre and smaller operators [too]. [But] realtors are getting a lot of queries about properties. It’s not gonna last. Nothing is going to be unsaturated. Communities lose and customers lose when competition is the ultimate mechanism to create better. I think that's a very unchallenged myth.
Is there anything else you want to add about the new shop?
I think about restaurants. If we came in as a fancy new restaurant, I really don't think there would be animus between two restaurant owners. I think they’d sit down together and have a meal and enjoy it and be stoked there’s someone else in that space. But again, oversaturation has led to some really poor intra-economy behavior [in cannabis].
There's a lot of insecurity playing out, like with the addition of [California-based] Cookies to the Montana cannabis space. People are so territorial, it's tribal, they’re beating their chests. If you're not all Cookies, you're a hater (laughs). I can be anti-Cookies and not anti-”the people who work there,” or not like the people that work there and like Cookies. There is so much radical insecurity in the space. We’re excited to be part of Havre. There are two smaller operators here that we'd love to support and see be successful.
Have you checked them out yet?
No, but it's on the to-do list: go there and make invitations and talk to people. Especially in smaller communities, the goal is not to hurt anyone. We want to be someone who can [eventually] engage and employ a couple dozen people. We want to be someone people in this community are excited about: good jobs, good opportunities, a potential career and ownership opportunities.