The town of Palisade will see its second recreational marijuana dispensary open this weekend when Happy Camper opens its doors.
The dispensary, 1043 N. River Road, sits between the Colterris Winery and the Palisade Basecamp RV Resort. Happy Camper is set to celebrate its grand opening Saturday and will have daily hours of operation from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Palisade will be the second location for Happy Camper, which has its first location and manufacturing plant in Bailey on the Front Range.
Co-owner Colleen Scanlon said Palisade was an ideal location for its second store.
"It suits our brand. It sits right in the middle of these beautiful mesas, you've got biking, hiking … we're a Colorado centric brand," she said.
The grand opening celebration will include food out in the parking lot and a ribbon cutting ceremony, according to Palisade Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Andrew Weber.
Happy Camper was one of the first two dispensary businesses drawn in a lottery held in October 2017 and experienced some setbacks in getting its store open. Scanlon said she had originally hoped to be open by April 20, 2018, but ran into some snags. Still, the business will be the first of the two companies drawn in the lottery to open in the town.
"Lots of time, money and thought were put into it, but some things took months," she said. "We are so excited. I think the anticipation is way up there."
The town can accommodate one more dispensary following Happy Camper, according to Town Administrator Janet Hawkinson. The first Palisade dispensary, Colorado Weedery, opened in 2017 and was not subject to the lottery since it already operated in town as a medical marijuana dispensary.
The Palisade Happy Camper location will start with roughly 15 employees, Scanlon said. The business employs 25 people in Bailey between the dispensary and the manufacturing plant. Happy Camper products can be found in dispensaries throughout the state, Scanlon said.
Scanlon leases a home in the Grand Valley and said that she and the other owners plan to be part of the community as they commute between the two locations.
Happy Camper also hopes to embrace the outdoor community in Palisade as well. The store will have water stations and bike pump stations for cyclists.
"Our brand is more mountain, more out in the hills where people bike and hike and camp," Scanlon said. "That's where we're looking."
Inside the store, Scanlon said the Happy Camper will operate differently than some other dispensaries. Once a customer is inside and shows identification, Scanlon said the customer will be able to browse and ask questions to staff who will roam the floor. The products are under lock and key, but customers can still browse to find the products they want at their leisure. Staff is trained weekly on new products.
Happy Camper opened in Bailey in 2015. Scanlon said she hadn't planned to get into the industry, but after four years has enjoyed the business.
"It's been a lot of fun but wasn't something I was searching for," she said. "The timing was right."
Happy Camper will be the sixth recreational marijuana shop in Mesa County, joining Colorado Weedery and four shops located in DeBeque.