A Place for Everyone

Sweet Flower, Pasadena’s newest cannabis retailer, wants to open doors and ‘create a strong cannabis culture’ in Pasadena
By EDDIE RIVERA, Weekendr Editor
Published on Apr 28, 2022

Sweet Flower CEO/Co-Founder Timothy Dodd stands between assistant store managers McGara Bautista (left) and Anissa Hernandez (right) in the Pasadena store. [Eddie Rivera / Pasadena Now]

When Tim Dodd, CEO and co-founder of the Sweet Flower cannabis store chain and Pasadena’s newest dispensary, arrived in the US from New Zealand decades ago, he carried with him two things: a backpack and $50,000 in debt.

Now his six-store chain is one of the most prominent cannabis retailers in Southern California, with sparkling shops from Studio City to Melrose, to his newest shop in Pasadena. 

The company features its own product range, known as ‘Sweets by Sweet Flower.’

Having won a very competitive four-year battle for a cannabis retail license in a very tightly-controlled Pasadena market, Dodd is now eager to remove any hint of hesitation about cannabis and introduce it to a new customer, and embrace the community as customers, staff partners, and vendors.

“Sweet Flower is very special,” Dodd said Monday. “We’re focused on community, and on being local and engaging. And that’s really all that we do here. In Pasadena, we’ve been able to extend our brand promise by really working very, very closely with our local community.”

For Dodd, that specifically means, “reflecting our community and who we are. So in our stores, we’re about 80% diverse at the store level. We are 90% diverse at the store management and company level. We have about 150 employees, and we focus on diversity and inclusivity and everything that we do.” 

For Dodd, it’s the American Dream in gummies, edibles, and buds.

“I’m an immigrant, and this country’s been good to me,” he stressed as he explained, for example, that the company features a far larger share of Black and Brown-owned vendors and providers, as well as growers.

The average representation for those brands in the state of California is actually less than 2% of shelf space, he said. At Sweet Flower, said Dodd, they stock 15 times the state average, of minority-owned products. 

He said that following the May 25, 2020 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent civil unrest that “we reflected upon that and thought, ‘We should be doing more as a company to provide representation.’ So in the products you see here, there’s a whole case devoted to Black and Brown-owned brands.” 

Among those products is Octavius, which is owned by a prominent local African-American leader, heavily involved in Pasadena’s civic life.

In the total range of products offered by Sweet Flower, the company features its own product range, known as ‘Sweets by Sweet Flower.’ 

(For the uninitiated, “flower” generally refers to actual cannabis buds, as opposed to edibles, tablets, or other forms of the product.)

“Sweets is our own flower product,” said Dodd.  “It’s California-based. It’s based in Southern California, and available at all of our stores. We launched that about three or four weeks ago, and it’s now our second highest-selling product in all of our stores.” 

As Dodd explained, their goals center around building a strong cannabis culture in Pasadena.

“We want to build a legal cannabis culture to talk to everybody. We talk to all people from all walks of life, from all levels of income, and all backgrounds.”

Dodd said that since its April 15 opening, they’ve seen lots of experienced buyers as well as those who’ve never purchased cannabis at all.

Many of those customers are coming in for one of three things: pain, stress or lack of sleep.

“And they’re looking for things that can help with those.”

Casting a wide customer net as well as creating a very strong cannabis industry in Pasadena, is Dodd’s primary goal, he said.

“It’s a very prominent foothold for the cannabis industry in Pasadena,” he emphasized. “And we want to make sure that we’re responsible and compliant, and that we show people that this is a good addition and a positive benefit to Pasadena.”

Visit Sweet Flower at 827 E. Colorado Blvd., in Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 314-3106 or click https://sweetflower.com/stores/pasadena/

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