About 30 business professionals recently gathered on a Tuesday morning to participate in a networking event. Beverages and food were provided, a bank’s banner stood in the corner of the room, and those in attendance greeted each other and exchanged business cards.
The event was organized by the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce and regular sponsor KXXO 96.1 FM, better known as Mixx 96.1. In addition to networking, such events are held at an area business to call attention to a new or an existing operation.
This time, however, everyone gathered at T-Brothers 502 Recreational, a new pot retailer that opened in Lacey in October. The event and setting were a reminder that the fledgling marijuana industry continues to seek mainstream acceptance.
“I want to take the cliche and stereotype out of the business,” said Mike Taylor, 56, who said his staff reached out to the chamber for the networking event. He added that when he got into the industry he wanted to avoid the “stoner” image of the pot world. Taylor co-owns the business with another brother.
If the name T-Brothers sounds familiar that’s because it has ties to T-Brothers Liquor Lodge in Olympia. The two brothers who started the private liquor retailer, Mike and Andy Thielen, also initially pursued a retail pot business. Instead, they sold a permit to the Taylor brothers, who then pursued a retail cannabis license with the state. They kept the name.
Like some other pot retailers, T-Brothers has the feel of a professional office that just happens to sell pot-infused oils, edibles, concentrates, as well as marijuana flower — pre-rolled or basic, Taylor said — and accessories. Flower is its biggest seller, with one gram retailing between $6 and $15, he said. That’s down from two years ago when supply was tight and prices were higher.
In another move toward social acceptance, the business works closely with its suppliers to make sure its marijuana packaging is not offensive to customers, Taylor said. He said in the past he’d seen packaging images that had “an innuendo of sexual intentions.”
The business is selling its own T-Brothers branded pot by working with a grower in Okanogan County, he said. The brand’s image is from a period mural painted on an interior wall of T-Brothers.
During the chamber mixer, other business owners mingled.
Randy Luke, owner and broker of South Sound Home Loans LLC, said his former employer’s office, Horizon Mortgage, in Olympia on Martin Way, is now home to THC of Olympia, a recreational marijuana dispensary, according to the website.
“They’re all over the place,” he said about the industry.
Thurston County was originally granted 11 retail locations, but that number was recently doubled to 22, including four in Lacey, four in Olympia and 12 in the county, according to state Liquor and Cannabis Board data.
John Pazar, owner of Genuine Auto Glass in Lacey, said T-Brothers had a “presentable, classy feel to it.”
T-Brothers 502 Recreational
Co-owner: Mike Taylor.
Location: 5740 Ruddell Road SE, Suite C, Lacey.
Type of business: Marijuana retailer.
Years in business: Business opened in October.
Hours: 9 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.
Did you know? In some ways, T-Brothers Recreational begins with two other brothers: Mike and Andy Thielen, who run T-Brothers Liquor Lodge in Olympia. The Thielens considered getting into the pot business, but sold a permit to the Taylor brothers, who then pursued a recreational cannabis license with the state. They kept the name.