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When the pandemic hit, Washington state declared cannabis an essential industry allowing retailers, producers, and processors alike to keep their doors open. Strict social distancing guidelines came with the announcement including wearing masks, gloves, and enforcing six feet of distance between everybody, even staff. Evergreen Market is one of the few dispensaries that are leading the way in safe budtending. Shortly after the stay-at-home order went into effect, they reduced their hours and decided to switch to an online-only ordering system with an in-store pick-up business model. This is partly what led to the creation of their customer service program, Dial-a-Budtender. 

As with any drastic change, there were going to be some issues. The staff could get sick, customers could have trouble using the online menu, or new users could need advice on what products to get. Whatever the issue may be Evergreen Market wanted to address it. Their entire staff was given the option to stay home, especially for those who are immunocompromised or live with high-risk individuals. The Dial-a-Budtender program gave these employees a chance to continue working but from the safety of their homes. As well as, taking some stress off of the employees working behind the counter. 

Evergreen Market Dial-a-budtender
Tommy Nylund, Assistant Store Manager for Evergreen Market in South Renton dons a mask and gloves in order to safely serve customers. (Photo provided by Evergreen Market)

After Dial-a-Budtender had been put in place, Nikki Marangon, the marketing manager and brand strategist for Evergreen Market, commented on its success. She said, “It’s become a really valuable program for customers who don’t love online shopping and want to preorder to make their trip in as speedy as possible. The Evergreen Market brand is built around the connection that budtenders have with customers. COVID put a little bit of a damper on that so we knew we had to get creative and connect with our customers some other way.”

You can call any one of their five locations up to 15 minutes before close and you’ll be connected to a budtender ready to answer your questions. After verbally confirming that you are of the legal age to consume cannabis, they can consult with you on what products might be beneficial for the kind of effects that you are trying to achieve. As well, you can check your loyalty point balance, verify their hours, or even get help checking if the product you were looking for is in-stock at another location. Purchases cannot be made over the phone, however, their ‘phonetenders’ can place an online order for you so that all you have to do is pop by the closest location and pay for it. 

Evergreen Market Dial-a-Budtender program
Jason Ardelean, Lead Educator at Evergreen Market’s South Renton location, answering phones for the Dial-a-Budtender program. (Photo provided by Evergreen Market)

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