Soft Opening For Bethel’s First Marijuana Store

Jan 16, 2020

Owner Nick Miller stands in front of the location of ALASKAbuds, which is set to open in Bethel on Jan. 17.
Credit Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

Bethel’s first marijuana store opens for business on Friday, Jan. 17. It took a year and a half to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops, but ALASKABuds, located on Third Avenue by Stan’s Barbershop, will start selling weed in all of its forms in Bethel at noon on Jan. 17.

“Eighteen months. That’s a long time,” said company owner Nick Miller. “And it’s obviously the first retail store in Bethel. It’s a lot of work. You wouldn’t think it would take that long to open a business, but it really, really does in the marijuana industry.”

Miller says that he isn’t planning to advertise, just ease into opening without publicity to give his staff time to work out some of the kinks before business picks up. 

“We were hoping it would be a soft opening because we didn’t want to be overwhelmed. You have new employees, new systems, and it’s nice to let them get used to it a little bit.”

ALASKAbuds plans to be open from noon to 8 p.m. on both Jan. 17 and 18. It will reopen on Jan. 23 during the same hours. The plan is to keep to a half-week schedule until they build up business and staffing. If you are interested in working at ALASKAbuds, Miller says to come in and apply. The company will tell you what is involved, which includes paperwork and getting a state license.   

ALASKAbuds isn’t just selling marijuana products. They also have swag with the company’s logo on sale. Miller says that his wife came up with the design.

“If you ever want to fight with your spouse,” Miller said, “start a business and fight over a logo. It was horrible.”

ALASKAbuds may be the first marijuana store opening in Bethel, but it won’t have the field to itself for long. Two other marijuana shops are in the process of going through the bureaucratic hoops in order to open.