By Matt Walstatter
Most businesses have one goal: Making as much money as possible.
At Pure Green, we certainly see revenue as one measure of success, but not the only one. We also measure ourselves by the number of lives we improve.
Community service is an important aspect of our approach. We find this builds value for our business in a number of ways.
To practice a more conscious version of capitalism, begin by including the planet and the community as stakeholders in all business decisions. This provides a guide for acting consciously, and makes community service a foundational pillar of the business.
Community service can be accomplished in conjunction with other organizations. At Pure Green, we have walked and ran in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, collected food for the Oregon Food Bank, and designated days where we give 10 percent of our sales to a local charitable organization. These are easy and inexpensive ways to give a little something back.
We also have initiatives of our own. We have teamed with one of our vendors to offer free RSO to minor cardholders in need. We are currently developing other programs to provide medicine to low income patients. We are also working on a recycling program for our plastic containers, perhaps offering loyalty points to customers who return containers for recycling.
The Benefits of Community Service
The most obvious benefit of community service is the opportunity to help people, to change lives ,and to really make our community a friendlier, healthier, happier place to live. The food we collected for the Food Bank became holiday meals for people who would have otherwise been hungry. Try not to lose sight of this as we discuss other business benefits below.
This type of activity also helps offset some of the environmental damage wrought by our industry. We cannot change the packaging requirements imposed by the state, but we can make sure that as much of our packaging as possible is reused or recycled. Growing cannabis indoors uses a great deal of power, but helping to plant trees can ameliorate some of the damage from excessive power usage.
As we move our industry from the shadows into the light of day, we face a great deal of criticism and skepticism from those who consider us nothing more than drug pushers. Community service provides an avenue for us to show that we are responsible members of our community and stewards of our environment. This will help reduce resistance as our industry creeps closer and closer to the mainstream.
Community service can also be a valuable marketing tool, although I advise you to tread carefully here. The goal is to let people know about the good work you are doing, without being tacky or making it appear as if you only care about the recognition. Toot your own horn, but don’t toot it too loudly.
Remember — “Business is inherently good”
Businesses are often maligned for being selfish and motivated only by profits. This is true of many businesses, but it doesn’t have to be. Build a business that serves your community and you will reap both personal and financial rewards
According to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, “Business is inherently good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity.”
I think that statement holds true for many businesses. What about yours?
Matt Walstatter and his wife, Meghan, are the owners of Pure Green, a patient owned and operated dispensary in Portland, Oregon. They have jointly owned and operated cultivation centers since 2001. Their dispensary opened in 2013. Matt can be reached at (971) 242-8561 or [email protected]