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Weed + food marketing taking off in the Mile High City

Weed + food marketing taking off in the Mile High City

Now that marijuana is legal in Colorado, more business owners with weed-themed places are getting comfortable with marketing their products to those who enjoy partaking in pot. Even local celebrities are getting in on the act, and it’s not just the dispensaries that are turning to marketing tactics.

BusinessDen, a Denver-based business news site, reported on a fast-casual chain that is sprouting up in areas of the city – Cheba Hut. The cannabis-centered sandwich shop appeals to those who aren’t afraid to let their leaf flags fly, and more and more, that segment of the population is growing.

The Cheba Hut features punny menu items, including “Toasted Subs” like the “Kush BLT” and the “Sticky Icky PB&J” among its offerings, and the owner Scott Jennings is opening his stores in the city’s hippest neighborhoods. Jennings is one of many entrepreneurs that are doing their best to not only be successful, but who also break the rules of what you might think an pot-entrepreneur (potrepreneur?) is like. He knows his audience and caters to those looking to cure their munchies. He even delivers food, with the slogan “if you’re high, we’ll fly.”

His business plan is anything but high, however. He has grown smartly, putting profits back into his growth. As he told BusinessDen, “We are growing slowly because it has been self-funded, and we were using our cash flow. Now we’re getting smaller SBA loans in addition to our cash flow.”

Jennings isn’t the only food purveyor to experience success. The former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has no problem saying that the law decriminalizing pot has had a positive effect on his Papa John’s pizza sales.

The franchise owner, who bought 21 Papa John’s restaurants statewide in Colorado before the law was changed, has been vocal about his good fortune.

“There’s some different laws out here in Colorado. Pizza business is pretty good out here, believe it or not, due to some recent law changes," Manning said in an interview with Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback.

A report on TMZ last year noted that several of Manning’s stores saw sales jump from $3,000-$4,000 a day to $5,000-$6,000 a day after Colorado Amendment 64 was voted in.

With his pizza business in good shape thanks to Colorado pot fans, there’s probably little change the quarterback will come out of retirement for one last go-round.

While Manning is playing catch-up by appealing to pot users, some groundbreaking restaurants started several years ago. Boulder’s Hapa Sushi launched a marketing campaign to smokers, saying “The No Smoking Sign Is Off (in Colorado).” Some “bud and breakfasts” let guests smoke and dine.

Overall, the rules about marijuana marketing, or marketing to those who use it, are still a little hazy. But as pot culture keeps sprouting up around the state, and the country, people will get bolder and savvier with their marketing pushes.

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