If you ride your bike north from Coors Field in LoDo, you’ll wind up in a neighborhood that affectionately calls itself “RiNo,” or the River North Art District. All along Brighton Blvd, RiNo’s main thoroughfare, the signs of urban gentrification are more than apparent. An abandoned lot next to a hip new cafe here, a grafiti-ridden building with blown out windows juxtaposing nicely the fantastic street art on a recently remodeled building there. It’s certainly a neighborhood currently receiving a makeover, making it a hotspot for art studios, breweries, wineries, and now dispensaries. Situated right in the middle of this bustling cultural renaissance (or cultural displacement, depending on who you ask) is an unassuming brick building containing Botanico, a recently-turned recreational dispensary. It’s a hip, urban spot, generally feeding off the vibe of the district it finds itself in. While the store has plenty of offerings, and their homemade concentrate prices cannot be beat, a few oddities during my visit left me feeling a bit conflicted.
While Botanico does not have its own parking lot, it’s far enough away from downtown to render the street parking plentiful and free. I was able to find a spot on the street right across the street, but I noticed a lot of the patrons of the store walking up Larimer from either side. Upon entry, you are literally standing in a cage. No seriously, it’s a cage. A silent security guard took my ID, and handed me a blue card with a number on it. “It’s to show that you’re a resident when you go to buy stuff,” he explained to me. The door buzzed, and I was allowed freedom from the cage, and was met very quickly and warmly by Matt, a manager at the store. He shook my hands gleefully, and took me back into the product room. Botanico has several private rooms for you to purchase cannabis product in. Once you’ve picked out your flower, edibles, or concentrates, you’re brought back up to the main entry room, where you can add a purchase of a pipe or any other smoking accessories to your order. Simple enough.
Botanico has no shortage of different strains, although many of the strains were down to popcorn-sized nugs by the time that I got there. However, I counted no less than twenty five different strains on sale, each jar detailing the sativa or indica percentage each strain carried. Despite the large variety of strains, each one was priced exactly the same. At the time of my visit, recreational grams were ten dollars across the board, which is a steal, even if many of the strains were little more than shake. Apparently, the house favorite is their version of Golden Goat, a potent sativa from Kansas (surprising, I know). It looked appetizing, but I personally had to go with the Purple Urkel, a strong indica that Matt p
romised would “put me right to sleep.” It’s also the most purple pot I’ve ever laid eyes on, so I couldn’t resist.
I didn’t see any concentrates on display, so I asked Matt about them. He smiled, and opened up a small lunchbox underneath the counter to reveal several different waxes and shatters, which can be yours for $30 a gram. You cannot find concentrates that cheap, no matter where you are. Added to the fact that they make it themselves, Botanico’s concentrates alone might be worth the trip to the dispensary. Beside the counter was a fridge filled with a variety of edibles, including a few medicated salt water taffies. Just a warning: the packaging is not anywhere close to clear, but the Happy Taffy is dosed at 25mg each, rather than the 100mg the jar they kept it in inexplicably states. They had a few other edible selections, including tinctures from Dixie, 10mg cookies from Sweet Grass, and the ever-popular IncrEdible bars. As I was looking, Matt looked at the clock, and said he had to go, and passed me off to another store manager. It was about this time that my visit to Botanico got… weird.
Apparently, when I was out at my car retrieving my camera, the entire neighborhood decided to visit the dispensary, because when I returned, the place was a zoo. This business model, which worked swimmingly when
there was only a few of us in the store, seemed to be tested to its limit when the lobby filled with people. They do, however, earn some points by asking “stoner” trivia for discounts to the large waiting crowd, but when things got busy, Botanico seemed to crack a little under the pressure. This being said, if you plan to visit Botanico, it is my strong suggestion that you visit the store during low traffic hours! Botanico needs to focus on streamlining their process to handle customers during high peak hours.
Apparently, when I was out at my car retrieving my camera, the entire neighborhood decided to visit the dispensary, because when I returned, the place was a zoo. This business model, which worked swimmingly when there was only a few of us in the store, seemed to be tested to its limit when the lobby filled with people. They do, however, earn some points by asking “stoner” trivia for discounts to the large waiting crowd, but when things got busy, Botanico seemed to crack a little under the pressure. This being said, if you plan to visit Botanico, it is my strong suggestion that you visit the store during low traffic hours! Botanico needs to focus on streamlining their process to handle customers during high peak hours.
All in all I loved Botanico’s hip and urban vibe. I loved their great selection, unbeatable prices, and Matt, the manager, was the man. While there were employees who definitely demonstrated expert skills, customer service and product knowledge, there were other employees who were not as well-rounded and consistent in their skills. Botanico’s employee base needs to be more educated in delivering an improved customer experience.