The faded red canopy and yellow walls of the former clothing stores at 1161 and 1169 Commercial Street have gone black, emblazoned with a large, white sign for Five Zero Trees.
The Portland-based marijuana store recently opened a new location in Astoria, joining five other such businesses around the city.
Co-owner Case Van Dorne said he and his business partners Jason Cain and Joel Jennings have long been coming to Astoria to visit and fish and had been looking to locate a store locally for about a year, noticing how quickly the city was blooming into a destination. He started the company with Jennings in 2013 in southeast Portland.
The company is also trying to open a location in Cannon Beach, hopefully in the fall, Van Dorne said
At 5,000-square feet split between two storefronts, Five Zero Trees is one of the largest marijuana stores in the city.
In the former Garbo’s Vintage Wear on the east side is a showroom with 34 strains of marijuana, along with plant starts, edibles, extracts, merchandise and paraphernalia. Garbo’s owner Lynn Hadley purchased the Shanahan Building east on Commercial Street and relocated to the former Custom Threads site earlier this year.
The former 5 Lil’ Monkeys children’s consignment store on the west has been turned into a large lobby, complete with a mural of the Astoria Bridge covering the western wall. With all the space, Van Dorne said the company hopes to add an educational cannabis experience, similar to an interpretive center.
Adorning the floors, walls, counters and shelves is wood, much of which Van Dorne said has been reclaimed from other places, such as a former mill in Sheridan. Crates from the Fred Meyer grocery store have been turned into shelves for shirts and a table holding plant starts.
“We shoot for an aesthetic that’s going to match our surrounding area,” Van Dorne said.
Five Zero Trees joins Sweet Relief Natural Medicine on Commercial Street and the Farmacy in Uppertown, Nature’s Choice Alternative Medicine and Hi Astoria in Uniontown and Hi Cascade Astoria on the South Slope. Sweet Relief’s second location on Portway Street closed last year after being damaged in an explosion and fire at a butane hash oil processor located in the basement.
Van Dorne said he feels the knowledge of his staff will set Five Zero Trees apart from other stores, along with quality control of the product.
Open for less than a week, he said Five Zero Trees already employs 14 people, 12 of them locals put through a rigorous training of several weeks with two managers from the Portland area.
The company focuses on organic products and buys from vendors, but the partners also have their own grow site at a farm in the Willamette Valley where Van Dorne said they practice Korean natural farming, which uses other crops purposely grown and fermented to fertilize the soil for the company’s marijuana plants.
Van Dorne said he is eager to integrate into the downtown business community and encourages his employees to volunteer locally in efforts such as the Clatsop County Regional Food Bank and beach cleanups. “At the end of the day, we really are just another small, family-owned business.”