Good Buds store manager Brandon Mason, from left, and owners Charles Spalding and Jared Wallace mark the grand opening of the first retail cannabis store on the eastern Kenai Peninsula. Tekoa Wallace of Hawaii is also a part owner of the business. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Good Buds store manager Brandon Mason, from left, and owners Charles Spalding and Jared Wallace mark the grand opening of the first retail cannabis store on the eastern Kenai Peninsula. Tekoa Wallace of Hawaii is also a part owner of the business. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Eastern peninsula welcomes retail cannabis

As of Saturday morning, the eastern Kenai Peninsula has a retail cannabis shop.

Just a half hour after opening the doors, the employees of Good Buds were explaining their products and fielding “congratulations” from customers excited about the availability of retail cannabis just outside of Seward.

“People have been asking for months when we would be open, just waiting for us to get there,” said Charles Spalding, who owns Good Buds with brothers Jared and Tekoa Wallace.

The shop is adjacent to SAKTown Liquor, also owned by Jared Wallace, near Herman Leirer Road — landing the store under the jurisdiction of Kenai Peninsula Borough regulations.

“There’s no retail cannabis shops on this side of the peninsula,” Jared Wallace said. “They’re all over on the Kenai and Soldotna side, but we’re the first in this area. We think we’re definitely tapping into an industry here that will hopefully bring more to Seward.”

Wallace said that plans for the retail cannabis store had been in the works since last December, with final licensing approval coming in time for the Dec. 1 grand opening.

Throughout the winter, Good Buds will be open from 12 to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday with expanded hours to come in the summer months. Wallace said he hopes Good Buds will help add year round employment to the Seward area.

“If we can create five year-round jobs, excluding the owners and managers, that would be really cool,” he said. “Seward knows there is a housing and winter employment shortage, right? If we can create those five jobs, that’s awesome.”

Despite their divisive product, Wallace said they have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from the community.

“I would say there’s been about zero percent blowback,” Wallace said. “But here is the thing … we haven’t heard any negative feedback, but we haven’t been looking for it either.”

If anyone does have concerns about the shop, Wallace urges them to reach out.

“If there are people with negative feedback, just come to us,” he said. “Let’s educated everybody, let’s talk. We’re not unreasonable people and we know that not everyone is in support of the industry. We’re aware of that and it’s why we don’t have huge signs on the side of the road.”

Reach Kat Sorensen at ksorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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