Bloom Brothers opened on Merrill Road a year ago.
The pharmacy offers more than 400 products.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – A Pittsfield pharmacy demonstrates what the cannabis industry can do for individuals, the community and the local economy.
Owned by Nathan Girard and his wife Migdeliz and brothers Benjamin and Nicholas Girard, Bloom Brothers offers around 400 different cannabis products to meet the needs of all types of customers.
“We’re seeing the stigma change a bit now. We’ve taken some calls from prospects that have actually been referred to us by doctors who believe in marijuana and how it can actually help certain people,” said Mig Girard. “That was great to see.”
The Merrill Road pharmacy opened in March 2020. In its first year of business, the pharmacy paid more than $ 375,000 to the City of Pittsfield and approximately $ 788,000 to the State of Massachusetts for tax assignments.
In addition, the Girards work with Child Care of the Berkshires to sponsor a $ 15,000 playground and have donated to a number of local nonprofits, including the Berkshire Humane Society.
Nate and Mig spoke to iBerkshires on Monday to explain how the company is thriving in a decidedly difficult year and whether it can be nonprofit.
“One thing about our business is that we care about being here every day. You are likely to be reviewed by a business owner as much as someone who is on our team,” he said.
The pharmacy’s customers range from 21 to 80 year olds, and people often drive several hours to buy their products.
The Bloom Brothers recommend talking to your doctor about cannabis for medicinal purposes first as it is a recreational pharmacy. However, it is able to offer personalized customer service and make recommendations.
“We are constantly adjusting our discussions with each customer, keeping diaries and notes that people share with us, and recording their customer profile,” explained Nate, adding that the majority of her employees are past or current cannabis users who have personal experiences, to help others.
Individuals battling cancer, chronic pain, anxiety, and depression have often used cannabis to treat symptoms. Mig said it was extremely gratifying to hear customer reviews about their products that alleviate pain or symptoms.
According to reports, some of Bloom Brothers customers use cannabis products as an alternative to alcohol in social situations. The pharmacy recently started stocking an infused seltzer, which comes in three different flavors: an energetic and focused sativa, an indica seltzer bedtime, and a “Celebrate” seltzer, which is a mix of both.
“You might not want to drink alcohol while you grill or something in the summer, but you seem to be part of the group that has a cannabis-infused seltzer,” Nate said. “They just taste so good too.”
Mig added that some customers have used cannabis to remove other substances from their lives.
“Part of the conversations we’ve had with our customers has mainly focused on how cannabis, as a solution, helped them get rid of prescription pills,” she said. “Whether it was insomnia or pain, or alcohol or drug abuse, it was just a solution to so many different problems our customers came up with.”
As part of their business model, the Girards prioritize employee benefits and create a general sense of family in the workplace. They offer employees health insurance, a 401K matching program, rewards, and have connected employees to financial literacy training through a human resources platform.
Avoiding “paycheck to paycheck” employees is a priority for the Girards as business owners. Bloom Brothers works with a small staff of less than 20 people and tries to treat both employees and customers as family.
“We have started to find that we as owners work here day in and day out and we need a great benefit package because we rely on those benefits for our families,” said Nate. “We are extending these service packages to our employees. We wanted to create a platform on which we are proud to work here, and we want our employees to think the same way.”
Right now, the owners are trying to excel for the best selection and training in cannabis retailing. They also pride themselves on helping the local economy, as customers commuting to the pharmacy from out of town often stop at Pittsfield restaurants or other stores in the meantime.
“Marijuana generally just has this negative reputation,” said Nate. “But we want to do the discussion a bit differently if we can. There are some positive things that result from being open.”