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Behind the Counter with Elyse Davenport

B-Week (Budtender Appreciation Week) by Tether takes place March 20th to the 26th

March 20, 2023  By Elyse Davenport

Introducing Behind the Counter – a new column by Grow Opportunity. Photo: Adobe Stock

Elyse Davenport is a full-time budtender at independent dispensary Cloud29 in Windsor, Ont., managing one store and placing the orders for all three Cloud29 locations. She also works a casual freelance position with Marigold PR and sits on the B-Week advisory board.

GO: How did you get connected with Marigold?

ED: I got connected with them by going to their online events – so always being present, and being present on social media, too.

I really appreciate organizations that do anything for budtenders, and I feel like there’s always a lot to take away from the networking and breakout rooms. I think that’s the main takeaway, or the importance of attending these events, is the networking aspect.

I also love any sort of event or meeting where I can learn about a company or an LP; I find that extremely beneficial.


GO: Have you been in contact with any growers or LPs?

ED: We opened during lockdown so there were no reps. We would get cold calls and that was it. Now reps are coming all the time, but it can be hit or miss.

I’m like a sponge, I want to learn everything about these products because we’re doing the sales. I want to know product details – tell me it was grown with glacial water, tell me it’s from a family farm. I want to know these things because the more I know about your brand, the more hype I sound when I talk about it.

I’m shocked more products don’t come with information. One in 100 will come with a little card with some description. Why don’t they all do this?

GO: What brands are you selling at Cloud29?

ED: I strive for our menu to be really focused on what’s new and trending. I’m finding really good items on Instagram or forums, and talking to other budtenders – there are platforms where everyone reviews products.

I find that’s important because every store will have Tweed flower, Spinach flower; we won’t. I have value brand weed, but as an independent store, why wouldn’t we celebrate these independent LPs that are also struggling? Let’s unite together. They might not be getting picked up by the bigger stores, but I’ll pick you up, and it’s probably better weed!

I might message a brand on Instagram or make posts about their product and then build a reputation with that.

There’s a lot of really great LPs now coming from Quebec, like Fuga, who grows in living soil, and Cannara; it’s awesome. But you’re not going to see a rep from them.

They’re very vocal on Instagram with me. They’re supportive and answer questions about their products. No Spinach Instagram is going to tell me this, that, and the other thing. And no shade, they’re great, but you can go to Canna Cabana or Value Bud to get that.

I can’t be that cheap, so I might as well sell something that’s totally different.

People love their numbers, so I get why people are asking for high THC, but sometimes by the end I’m just like: “Hey, man, back in the day when you went to your dealer, did you ever ask that?” I used to just smell it. You know the smell isn’t the number. Sometimes they look at you like you’re crazy but sometimes a light bulb goes off.

I’m also just proud of all the customers I got off the Indica/Sativa train.

GO: Are you selling Cannara Tribal vape carts?

ED: Yes, we just got it in. I’ve been trying since it launched, and just got it in. The battery did really well, and now I’m selling the resin carts, which will sell out. But the way the market is, people don’t understand.

A resin cart is only 76 per cent and more money than this General Admission distillate that’s 90 per cent, even though the resin will get you way higher. But it’s a slow education process that’s happening.

GO: What are you selling more of: extractions or flower?

ED: It’s pretty even. It’s a lot of pre-rolls.

GO: What’s your favourite product to consume?

ED: I love Animal Face pre-roll by Carmel. That’s a three-pack of three half grams, and they’re rolled so nice – they come in a glass test tube with a cork. Carmel’s great, they never radiate their weed, they’re from Toronto so it’s easy to get in my store, and people love them.

GO: What are the most common questions you get from customers?

ED: What’s the highest THC? What’s new? Because now we have spoiled Ontario consumers and they think that every week there needs to be a new drop.

Medical questions do come up, but they’re not the most frequent. Everyone wants help with the sleep.

Where I work, there’s a lot of older customer base. And a lot of them are there as a last resort, and they’re a lot of women in their 60s and 70s who’ve been let down by the medical community. I can’t answer a lot of their questions, and sometimes they feel pushed away, but then I tell them what other people will buy.

Everyone heard about CBD oil, so a lot of the older ones like the oil. And they don’t like capsules or pills as much because they associate it with doing drugs.

There’s a lot of repeat customers, and it’s fabulous to hear about the relief they get, especially for menopause, using CBD and low dose THC.

GO: What’s one question you might have for a grower or an LP?

ED: As a grower, what is the cultivar you would most want to grow if there wasn’t a worry about yield or price or THC percentage?

The girl you love, the one that got away; that’s what I want to know.

I hope those come back because there’s so many girls out there that are lost because they only hit 14, 15, 16 per cent – but they’re beautiful.

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