Helen Keller wrote in The Open Door: Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.
Imagine for a moment that you invested $40,000 in savings to start a new business in Bend. As an entrepreneur, you were simply taking advantage of an opportunity provided by the State of Oregon. This change was intended to spur the development of an entirely new industry statewide. Just like millions of entrepreneurs before you – you were embarking on a new adventure – through the open door.
Enter Jeremy Kwit of Bloom Well, Inc. of Bend, Oregon. He’s lived in Bend for the past eight years, working as an independent management consultant – primarily with non-profits throughout the U.S. He likes to hike, telemark and cross country ski.
Kwit’s dad was a plumber. His mom was a probation officer, among other occupations. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UC Berkeley and went on to earn an MBA at Northwestern University’s prestigious Kellogg School of Management (currently ranked as the 15th Best MBA program in the world). The Kellogg School of Management has a mantra: Think Bravely.
Kwit’s real-life story provides a glimpse into the economic impact the medical marijuana dispensary industry may have in Deschutes County. Here’s a synopsis of the purely economic ripple effect that Bloom Well has had locally:He leases a vacant commercial building. His landlord now has income from the property. The landlord spends it locally.
Local legal counsel is retained to incorporate the business. The lawyer makes money. The State of Oregon gets filing fees. He purchases a business license from the City of Bend.
Kwit files all the appropriate paperwork with the State of Oregon. He pays for a criminal background investigation, finger printing etc. He pays the State a $4,000 application fee. He hires local contractors to complete the essential leasehold improvements for his building. The carpenters and painters buy their materials locally. Kwit puts local people to work. He buys building permits for the improvements.
He interviews, hires and trains his own employees, conducting criminal background investigations on each applicant. He creates employment opportunities. He pays all payroll withholding taxes.
For furniture and fixtures, he buys from the local Re-Store and Habitat for Humanity outlet.
For security, he hires Bend Lock & Safe. Kwit purchased and has surveillance cameras installed throughout the facility. He has special interior and exterior doors and windows installed. He pays for the installation of keypad and buzz through locks on the doors. Motion sensors and pressure sensitive windows are installed. He pays a security company for 24/7/365 security monitoring.
A local insurance agent arranges – and he pays for – commercial liability insurance. He joined the Bend Chamber for $400. He retained a local CPA.
Kwit purchases a $1,200 scale – certified by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
He buys computer equipment locally and pays for secure cloud storage for any and all of his business records – and the videotape footage he is required to store for the State. His operation is HIPPA compliant.
Kwit and his employees dine locally (Angel Thai and Fearless Baking). They encourage their customers to support the eateries near his business.
For quality control, he retains the services of a Bend laboratory staffed by an analytical chemist (formerly in charge of FDA compliant pharmaceutical research & development at Bend Research) and a horticulturalist. Every product Bloom Well sells is tested for safety and potency. Everything is labeled for the consumer. The Bend lab he retained is a new business that employs local residents. The lab operation contributes to the local economy, just as Kwit’s business does.
Kwit hires a Bend-based graphic design firm. They complete Bloom Well’s logo and all the essential disclosure and product information materials. He hires a printer in Bend to produce these materials.
For his exterior signage, he hires a local sign company.
Bloom Well purchases product for redistribution from approximately 20 local growers or “farming families.” These operations of these growers are all duly authorized by the State of Oregon. They’re located throughout the tri-county area in places like Alfalfa, Bend, Culver, Prineville, Sisters and Tumalo.
Bloom Well helps these “farming families” to enjoy new revenue streams. Money feeds families. These growers buy soils, lighting, temperature control equipment, irrigation, nutrients and special containers locally.
The customers Jeremy serves are authorized by local medical practitioners to purchase his product. For some, they no longer purchase the product he sells from illegal sources. Others are able to reduce their reliance upon and cost of prescription medicines – increasing their disposable income. The value of the relief his patients declare from maladies like chronic pain, nausea, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis – priceless.
On March 17 the Deschutes County Commissioners will hold a public hearing to determine whether further regulation or an outright ban of the medical marijuana dispensary business is necessary. On Wednesday March 5, The Oregon House voted on SB 1531 51-6 to allow cities and counties to ban medical marijuana dispensaries from opening until May 1, 2015. The bill now heads back to the Senate, who can agree with the House changes or amend them – sending the bill to a conference committee comprised of lawmakers from both chambers.
According to Kwit, “Bend is a pro business community. I would be very surprised if they would ban cannabis dispensaries in Deschutes County. My concern is that fear and the perpetuation of myths and stereotypes may prevent Bloom Well from providing safe access to a botanical medicine their doctors recommend.”
Kwit is not alone. On Monday of this week, 16 medical marijuana dispensary applications from Deschutes County were submitted to the State of Oregon for approval.
For entrepreneurs, it’s a daring adventure to walk through the open door of opportunity; or a dead end. Helen Keller knew that. Think Bravely. Bend entrepreneur Jeremy Kwit is.
Bloom Well, Inc.
1814 NE Division Street
Bend, OR 97701