By Alan Madlane
There’s a new kid in town in the recreational pot trade, and its name is Puff.
Er, like the magic dragon, yes. A song we all know was written without any help from this very type of, ah, product.
Joining westsider Quality Roots and southsider Pleasantrees is the latest “puff” shop in the city, located at 11941 Jos. Campau Ave., on the southwest corner at Commor.
The building used to be the home of the Three Star Bar-B-Q, a city mainstay for decades before closing several years ago.
Seems a shame they couldn’t have figured out a way to combine the two. What a natural alliance.
But I digress.
Did you ever think about how odd the word “digress” is? Try saying it slowly out loud ten times … Ah, what am I doing?
Anyway, Puff’s drastically repurposed grey building features a sticky shade of bright green trim that just about jumps out at you as you drive past, like you were paranoid or something. Puff currently has two other stores open in the state, in Bay City and Traverse City.
Kind of “far out,” if you ask me.
According to their website, Puff has half a dozen more outlets in the budding stages, including in Ann Arbor, Utica, Monroe, Lansing, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.
Speaking as someone who, once upon a certain decade, used to have a “passing” familiarity with Mr. Muggles (as he was known to only the most-coolest kids, I think), the amazing variety of products available now to tickle the senses is almost overwhelming.
Puff’s website lists product from no less than 26 vendors, like a veritable alphabet of high. “VFires” and “510 cartridges” and “claw vapes” sound like the stuff of fantasy movies, but in fact are terms that all appear to reference vape pens, an apparently popular item/delivery system.
It’s a wild world out there, you see — and in here, too:
Forty-four strains of “flower” (sounds like a way to throw cops off the trail, you ask me. This ain’t no floral shop.)
Forty-eight “concentrate strains,” but we ain’t makin’ orange juice neither.
Twenty-six “edible options,” and not one of ‘em a legit stock buy.
Seriously though, the effect of this overall array can be, well, disorienting to those who haven’t kept up with the (high) times.
Not everyone is enamored of these particular “choices.” There has been considerable and vocal pushback from certain sectors of the community, often citing the worn-out old saws of “dispensaries increase crime in the area” (nope) and/or “it will get into the hands of kids” (like it doesn’t already, and that hasn’t changed in the last 50 years).
To get the straight poop, we contacted Puff. One of their very nice store managers passed our queries on to the director of compliance for the company, who in turn gave our humble questions to the actual company owner, Justin Elias. He sent back some “illuminating” responses.
The Review: How long has Puff been in business overall? Was Bay City the first store to open, Traverse City the second and Hamtramck the third – is that right? When did Hamtramck’s store officially open?
Elias: Puff has been in business since May, 2019. Bay City is the first store, then Traverse City, then Hamtramck — and now (we’ll be) opening Utica and Madison Heights, both one month away.
We opened the Hamtramck location on Feb 15, 2021.
The Review: Why was Hamtramck chosen for a location?
Elias: Hamtramck was chosen for a location because it’s a beacon to the city of Detroit, and they are not rec yet.
We were getting a lot of messages and requests on our website and social media platforms, for us to open somewhere in the city, and we thought Hamtramck would be the perfect center point.
The Review: You are the third dispensary to open in Hamtramck, following Pleasantrees and Quality Roots. What sets you guys apart from them?
Elias: What sets us apart are our product lines and our customer service.
(Product-wise), we are partnered with some of the best growers in the state of Michigan, and they are producing some of the highest quality and testing product in the state, if not for the (whole) east coast. Local Grove is the flower brand.
Besides that, we have the most exceptional customer service for everyone that walks through our doors.
The Review: Is there any difference in what products sell best here, versus your Bay City or Traverse City customers? Any new products you guys are particularly excited about?
Elias: We stay a uniform company — what you see at one store is going to be available at all locations. We have (only) one website, and one social media account, for each platform.
We like to stay uniform all across the board.
The Review: I see by your website that you have more than half a dozen more stores planned for the near future — which one is set to open next?
Elias: The stores set to open next are Utica, Madison Heights, and Kalamazoo.
The Review: Anything else you want to make known, now’s the time!
Elias: We love the City of Hamtramck, and we love that we are a destination in the city now!
Well, we certainly enjoyed getting the scoop. It was like a breath of “fresh air.”
I think you see what I did there.
(Editor’s note: The writer was not on any “product” during the writing of this article. He is, however, a former writer for CREEM magazine, so there’s that.)
Once again, Puff is located at 11941 Jos. Campau, at the southwest corner of Commor. Call (313) 552-4200, or check ‘em out at www.puffcannaco.com, or on Facebook.
Posted May 7, 2021