Basalt’s first retail pot shop aims to create a buzz |

Basalt’s first retail pot shop aims to create a buzz

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Pete Tramm, a partner in Roots RX, Basalt's first and only retail pot shop, opened the store in 2014. The Basalt Town Council directed the staff Tuesday to look into revamping the restrictions on pot shop locations.
Aspen Times file photo | Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

Basalt’s first recreational marijuana shop plans to create a buzz with a grand opening Saturday after a soft opening earlier in the week.

Roots RX opened at 165 Southside Drive, south of Big O Tires and on the opposite side of the street. Owners Pete Tramm, of Basalt, and Robert Holmes, of Aspen, also have a recreational pot shop of the same name in Eagle-Vail.

Tramm said Roots RX aims to be a real locals’ shop. For the immediate future, anyone who can show they live where the ZIP code starts with 816 will get a 25 percent discount on purchases, Tramm said. All towns in the Roaring Fork Valley have such ZIP codes. Even without the discount, Roots RX will strive to be competitive or better in price than other recreational pot shops in the valley, he said.

Basalt town government lifted its moratorium on recreational pot shops earlier this year and established only two licenses for such businesses. Tramm and Holmes have been issued the only license granted thus far. At least one other application is pending.

Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs already have recreational pot shops operating. Snowmass Village has banned them because officials say they run counter to the resort’s family-friendly image.

The Basalt Town Council placed strict zoning restrictions on the location of pot shops as well as advertising limits. Tramm said he will rely on newspaper ads and word-of-mouth to get customers familiar with the somewhat obscure store location. He hopes to appeal to Roaring Fork Valley residents who are getting car work done at Big O Tires or Basalt Quick Lube, which is across the street, and those making grocery runs to Whole Foods Market and City Market 3 miles farther downvalley.

Roots RX went upscale in its interior. Tramm likened the shop to an upscale jeweler.

“The only difference being we’re selling cannabis instead of jewelry,” he said. The partners invested heavily in an “odor-modification system,” he said.

Paintings by midvalley artist Linda Loeschen will be featured on the walls. There is a big-screen television and there will soon be a sectional couch to give the store an inviting feel.

Museum display cases are stocked to convey quality over quantity. A case inside the front door promotes a Black Friday special — buy two vaporizers, and get a battery for them for free, a $25 value. Another case promotes THC-infused bath soaks as a Christmas stocking stuffer.

The display case stocked with pot-infused edibles resembles something from a high-end chocolatier. Chocolate bars, truffles and rolls (resembling Tootsie Rolls), all from the Denver company Dixie, line one case. A 50-milligram package of Dixie Rolls sells for $15. A variety of mints are featured in another case; elixirs are blended in various cases.

A humble nine varieties of marijuana to smoke are on display at the present time. Roots RX is buying from The Farm in Boulder and chose varieties that are uncommon in stores, a sales clerk explained. Afghani is the high-end offering at $30 per gram. On the other end of the spectrum is Moonshine Haze at $20 per gram.

The store size is about 1,250 square feet, but it’s got an open feel. Customers “won’t feel rushed,” Tramm said.

Roots RX aims to sell more strains of marijuana next year. Tramm and Holmes intend to build a greenhouse in Missouri Heights and grow their own supply. Their application was the second grow operation approved by Eagle County.

Tramm said he also would scout for mom-and-pop, Colorado-based suppliers of edibles and other products.

Roots RX is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days per week. Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments — the untreated varieties — will be offered at Saturday’s grand opening.

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