East Rip, the peninsula’s newest marijuana retailer, is photographed on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

East Rip, the peninsula’s newest marijuana retailer, is photographed on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

East Rip: The peninsula’s newest cannabis shop opens in Kenai

East Rip is the peninsula’s newest recreational marijuana retailer, and the first cannabis business located in Kenai’s compact commercial center.

Ryan Tunseth has been working to get East Rip set up for nearly a year, and has had his share of hiccups over the location and nature of the business. When East Rip was working on getting a permit from the city, there was some controversy surrounding the proposed location of East Rip, which is adjacent to Arby’s in central Kenai. In Dec. 2017, the Kenai Planning and Zoning Commission narrowly approved East Rip’s city permit after the commission reconsidered their November 2017 denial of the permit. The shop received their permits from the state earlier this summer, and East Rip was able to have a soft opening the second week of September.

Q: What made you want to get into this industry?

A: Personally, I was going through a bit of a life change. I was working at Exxon Mobil when there was a shakeup with my Cook Inlet job. Exxon wanted to move us to Texas. I didn’t want to uproot my family. My kids like it here. I grew up here and have lived here my whole life. My dad lives here. We love it here. So, we decided to stay. My wife and I tossed around a few business ideas that might pay the bills and this one just stuck.

Q: With a density of churches, playgrounds, schools and parks in central Kenai, it is difficult to find a spot to open this sort of business. How has this location been working for you since opening?

A: The location is great. It’s something we feel is one our biggest assets. We are on a frontage road, and we like that it’s not right on the highway. People can access the store discretely. We’re a little bit removed, which was something we were looking for.

Q: Cannabis is a booming industry, how has business been for East Rip since first opening?

A: Business is great. We came in and opened and there was a lot of momentum. Then we were on the heels of the Permanent Fund Dividend. Sales have been great, but we’ve been seeing this momentum from opening and from the PFD. I think it will get slower and steadier in the winter. It’s been better than expected

Q: How have you been promoting your new business?

A: We’ve gone with the sort of grassroots marketing strategy through word of mouth. We have one radio commercial right now, but we had no advertisements for the first two weeks. We were focused on knocking our customer service out of the park.

Q: How much locally grown product does East Rip carry?

A: Pretty much everything on the menu is locally grown on the peninsula, whether it’s from K-Beach or Nikiski, it’s almost all locally grown.

East Rip is open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday – Thursday, at 10767 Kenai Spur Highway.

Ryan Tunseth stands at the counter of his business, East Rip, on Monday in Kenai. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Ryan Tunseth stands at the counter of his business, East Rip, on Monday in Kenai. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

East Rip, a new Kenai marijuana shop, is photographed on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

East Rip, a new Kenai marijuana shop, is photographed on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

COVID-19. (Image courtesy the CDC)
49 new COVID-19 cases reported

Seven of the new resident cases reported Thursday were identified on the Kenai Peninsula.

Skylar Giordano cuts Ryan Huerta’s hair at RD’s Barber Shop in Kenai, Alaska on Thursday, July 9, 2020. RD’s is one of the 186 local businesses and nonprofits in Kenai that already received financial assistance through the City of Kenai’s Grant Program. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai boosts local economy with grants

The city has distributed $1.9 million in grants to 186 businesses and nonprofits.

Hospital adds new COVID-19 rooms

The hospital has made several changes or modifications to its facilities.

Salmon Run Series returns

Running races now feature masks, pods and elbow taps

A Homer Volunteer Fire Department emergency medical technician, left, assists a person who was involved in a boat capsizing, center, as they walk up the load-launch ramp on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at the Homer Harbor in Homer, Alaska. The crew of the F/V Captain Cook helped rescue the person. The crew of the F/V Casino rescued the other two people who were aboard the 14-foot skiff when it capsized near the entrance of China Poot Bay. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
1 dead, 2 rescued after boat capsizes near China Poot Bay

A 14-foot skiff carrying three people overturned near Gull Island in the mouth of China Poot Bay.

The Kenai River and Skilak Lake are seen from the Hideout Trail in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, July 5, 2020, on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Public comment open on proposed refuge changes

State could get more power over regulation refuge

COVID-19. (Image CDC)
10 new COVID-19 cases on the Kenai Peninsula

Statewide, 49 new cases in total were identified: 40 resident cases and nine nonresident cases.

The entrance to the Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna is seen here on June 1. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly overrides veto of hybrid election system

Members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted to override a mayoral… Continue reading

Parker Rose and Kendra Rose, members of the Sterling Horse and Livestock 4-H Club, are seen here with their miniature donkey on April 23, 2020. (Photo courtesy Cassy Rankin/Kenai Peninsula District 4-H)
Keeping cows and carrying on

4-H looks for alternative ways to host animal auction

Most Read