Smoker Friendly Rolling Out Marijuana Accessories Stores

Tobacco retailer plans as many as 10 Glass Werx retail sites

Smoker Friendly (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores)

BOULDER, Colo. -- Smoker Friendly is preparing to move aggressively into cannabis accessories after 23 years of primarily serving the tobacco market, reported The Denver Post. The Centennial State recently legalized recreational marijuana. The company's first Glass Werx store, in Nederland, Colo., launched in March; a second store in Pueblo, Colo., opened this week.

Boulder, Colo.-based tobacco retailer Smoker Friendly plans to open as many as 10 new Glass Werxstores this year. The stores sell a variety of pipes, bongs, grinders and vaporizers, said the report.

"We're really kind of equal opportunity," COO Dan Gallagher told the newspaper. "Now that cannabis is more mainstream, it's a concept we'd like to expand on fairly rapidly."

Smoker Friendly also is exploring the idea of selling marijuana itself--not just accessories--but hasn't yet made a decision, said the report.

Analysts say the legalization this year of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington, as well as medical cannabis in 21 states and the District of Columbia, is likely to bring a surge of mainstream business investment into smoking accessories.

Gallagher said Glass Werx will have a different look and feel than ordinary marijuana accessories stores, commonly known as head shops.

"We want to create something that has a good vibe and a nice retail look that appeals to a broader range of customers," he said, including people who are new to marijuana or trying it again decades later.

Glass Werx stores will feature contemporary industrial designs built with brick, glass and steel interiors.

"It's more of a mature concept," Gallagher said.

Smoker Friendly stores for the past four years have carried a limited selection of glass pipes and accessories oriented toward marijuana, the report said. Glass Werx outlets will come in two varieties: focused mostly on cannabis accessories, or co-branded with Smoker Friendly to include tobacco products.

Smoker Friendly operates 90 corporate-owned stores in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming. Another 850 stores in 38 states are operated by licensed retailers. Smoker Friendly's parent company also operates the Gasamat chain of gas stations and convenience stores.

The company's potential interest in selling marijuana is an evolving idea.

"It would be a logical move for us to consider," Gallagher said. "When you look at our retail footprint, we sell gas and tobacco products, which are highly regulated sectors. We're comfortable operating in a regulated environment."

"It's becoming a more popular kind of product for adults," Tom Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlet (NATO), told the paper. "A lot of companies are interested."