A small flea market occupied a portion of the parking lot at Good Titrations on Wednesday, and large gold-colored Mylar balloons of the numbers “4,” “2” and “0” hung on a wall behind the coffee bar inside. Alaska Redd, a local rapper, played songs from his new album, “O.G.A.R.,” starting at 4:20 p.m.
April 20 is a day of celebration for fans of cannabis, and Good Titrations marked its one-year anniversary of opening Alaska’s first and only cannabis consumption site.
The cannabis cafe is located in a retail district next to the Johansen Expressway in a former Chili’s restaurant and opened last year after installing a $375,000 ventilation system in a major expansion for a startup in a new industry walled off from traditional financing options.
FSE Inc., operating as Good Titrations and owned primarily by Shaun Tacke, Frank Berardi and Brandon Emmett, includes a store, cafe, cannabis concentrate manufacturing arm and cultivation rooms. In the company’s early days, they sold product out of a window in the building’s vestibule while the retail space was under construction.
“Me, Frank and Emmett were packaging concentrates when we first started the business,” Tacke said.
Now they have 34 employees and specialize in manufacturing products, which are sold statewide.
Good Titrations has come a long way from a few years ago, and the News-Miner caught up with Tacke, a former Fairbanks North Star Borough Assemblyman, for an interview at the cannabis cafe, the only public place in Fairbanks where cannabis users age 21 and older can legally light up.
The cafe serves espresso along with smoothies, treats from Marlo’s Bakery and healthy items, including fruit or vegetables with hummus and boasts a big community-style table, booths, multiple televisions, a chess board and hosts comedy shows, trivia nights, paint nights and yoga.
Tacke, who holds a master’s degree in business administration, is CEO and chief financial officer and oversees daily operations.
The 34-year-old father of two was one of the people at the forefront of the push to legalize cannabis in Alaska in a statewide vote in 2014. Being an entrepreneur was one of his goals in life.
“It’s exciting because it’s so risky,” he said. “There is a chance you are going to fail so you have to push.”
With that in mind, Tacke keeps his eye on an effort to legalize cannabis nationally. As cultural acceptance of cannabis grows, he hopes to expand to other states. For now, he is looking to open a second location in Anchorage. He also wants to enlarge the company’s cultivation operation and amplify branding.
“I would like to have my logo on the clean-up day bags,” he said.
Good Titrations may specialize in concentrates, but they have it all — preroll, bud and edibles plus vape pens and other cannabis accessories.
“The hottest item without a doubt is the vape cartridge,” Tacke said. Those start at $82 per gram or $48 for a half gram.
A gram of cannabis at Good Titrations starts at $9. High-end product, such as Diamonds, a type of concentrate, goes for $90-95 a gram. Another popular product is a preroll called Dab ’N Doob for $46 a gram.
The store is sleek and tasteful with glass cases and looks like smartphones or makeup might be sold. Tacke declined to quantify how much cannabis is produced and purchased from Good Titrations annually. Tax records show the industry in Fairbanks is responsible for tens of millions in yearly sales.
Good Titrations started hosting special events, such as comedy shows, after Tacke was approached by event planners. Then his staff started pitching ideas. The events help bring people in the door, he said.
“This is a public venue,” Tacke said.
Attitudes around cannabis have relaxed in recent years, though not everyone in the business community is accepting, according to Tacke.
“People are willing to talk and let you sponsor things and let you be involved,” he said. “There are certain business owners that have clout that are not stoked on legal cannabis and they just look at you like you are black sheep.”
Good Titrations is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., expect for major holidays, and offers a rewards program and a 10% military discount.