San Jose’s Airfield Supply Co. organically evolved from Executive Director Marc Matulich’s first dispensary, South Bay Healing Center. He opened the center in early 2010, a time of big-time uncertainty about the future of the industry.
“At that time, most attorneys suggested dispensaries should keep a low profile,” Matulich noted. “We did our best not to draw any unwanted attention.”
For Airfield Supply Co., the attention and accolades are coming in droves. The 2,000-square-foot aviation-themed dispensary has become a top-tier shop providing patients with a stylish, clean, and safe environment where they can obtain quality medicine.
“The aviation concept is an amalgamation of abstract similarities between cannabis, planes, and travel,” Matulich said. “Airports are a place where people go to get away from the mundane. Planes take people high into the sky, transporting them to exotic locations. And cannabis is grown in fields.”
Devcon Construction. “Because they are a design and building contractor with in-house architects and interior designers, we were able to convert a 20,000-tenant office building into a cutting-edge growing facility and retail space within a few months. I have to give a tremendous amount of credit to Sam Jorden of Pot Luck Creative. He is responsible for creating our logos, packaging, runway floor, and many other trademark pieces. Chris Lane, our marketing and branding consultant, was also instrumental in developing the concept.”
“To carry the aviation theme through the customer experience, new patients receive a boarding pass, redeemable for discounts and free gifts,” Manulich said. “The dispensing room floor is painted with runway striping that directs patients to the sales counter, and the walls are decorated with airplane parts. At the counter, patients can select from First Class, Business Class, Economy Plus, or Economy grades of cannabis. All strains are abbreviated with three-letter codes similar to airport codes.”
“Our entire staff takes great pride in the quality of medicine and patient service,” said Matulich. “After selecting top candidates based on their connection to cannabis and previous work experience, we focus on continuing education for our staff with seminars from our third-party testing lab, Pure Analytics. Our budtenders are top-notch when it comes to cannabis knowledge, and it is very important to me that our budtenders are able to provide accurate recommendations based on experience and scientific understanding of the plant.”
“Of all products that we carry, we have seen the most growth in concentrate sales—more specifically, vaporizer cartridges,” he noted. “Airfield has just launched our own vaporizer pen and cartridge in collaboration with BAS Research in Berkeley.”
“We will begin delivery in 2017 and, hopefully, open a second location in California, too,” he said.
‘How I started and how I have survived’ by Marc Matulich
In 2010, I started South Bay Healing Center with $50,000. I had to work a full-time construction management job to support the dispensary, but I was able to make it work. Now, however, it takes several million dollars to start up a cannabis business. There is so much competition that new businesses need to enter the market with a proven product, the ability to scale to meet demand, and unique branding. More people are entering the cannabis industry as it becomes more legally and socially acceptable, while taxes and regulation are making margins much tighter. For example, in San Jose, patients pay 9-percent sales tax to the state and 10-percent sales tax to the city. In 2018, there will be an additional 15-percent tax to the state. That’s 34-percent tax at the sales counter. We also pay $150,000 annual operating fee to the city. In the end, dispensaries have to set prices very competitively to offset the sales tax and operate very efficiently. Unfortunately, I think the success of future cannabis businesses will be a volume game.
Airfield Supply Co.
1190 Coleman Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110