FRESNO — Located in North Fresno on the west corner of Palm and Nees in the Park Place Shopping Center, local consumers can now find a new business venture proudly unique for residents of the city of Fresno.
The first county-approved recreational cannabis dispensary.
Known as The Artist Tree, the dispensary focuses on a curated experience for every guest, assigning a proverbial “tour guide” to help consumers both new and old to understand the obvious and nuanced differences between various cannabis strains, as well as their intended consumption methods. Boasting a veritable cornucopia of fresh cannabis flower, oils, CBD products, and edibles of all shapes and sizes, there is sure to be something to suit every patron of The Artist Tree.
The Artist Tree originated as the brainchild of Lauren Fontein, Avi Kahan, Mitch Kahan, and Aviv Halimi.
The Artist Tree founders have their roots in operating medical dispensaries and their ideas were allowed to evolve as regulations did, culminating in the opening of their first location and West Hollywood’s first recreational dispensary in 2019. The goal then, as it is now, was to educate consumers while also providing a uniquely enjoyable experience. Local community member, Fresno State Alumni, and former Miss Fresno Courtney Caron is also partnered in the new local Fresno operations, being both legal council and invested partner. She had this to say when asked about her involvement in the local branch of the company.
“In 2018, I met co-founder Lauren Fontein at a City Council meeting before The Artist Tree was formed. I worked with them on the formation of The Artist Tree in West Hollywood and helped them win their first licenses. Once those were won, I assisted with winning the additional licenses as well. I am an owner in the Fresno project, but not in the other projects. At this point, I continue to be legal counsel for The Artist Tree and work with them on each of their projects. Hopefully, in the future, there will be other opportunities for ownership. For the Fresno project, it was near and dear to my heart because I’m from the area. I also brought in all of the local partners for that project.”
The name “Artist Tree” is inspired by the founder’s two main focuses.
One is the arts. Each Artist Tree location hosts various local artists’ works, giving them a venue to show off their craft. The second and more obvious focus is on the “tree”, the store’s main product; “tree” is a colloquial term used synonymously with marijuana.
When asked, “What kind of customer base and demographics are you expecting to patronize your store?” co-founder and owner, Lauren Fontein had the following to say:
“It’s been more similar to our current LA stores than we would have thought. We have a lot of older consumers down there. People often come in specifically for medical reasons. A lot of customers in Fresno are also looking for cannabis for those same medicinal purposes. Since we’ve been open, we’ve been blown away by the older demographic consistently attending here. I think the art gallery setting is an environment where people come in and feel extremely comfortable even if they aren’t in their twenties and thirties. We have a 1-to-1 ratio of customers to our retail guides to walk and talk customers through the various products, and this is very helpful to our guests. Employees are educated and not in a rush to ring customers up, and can cater to all ages.”
The Artist Tree is a monthly destination for ArtHop
On-site consumption of products is still forbidden in Fresno county, but for those who find themselves seeking to enjoy the full experience, The Artist Tree’s West Hollywood location does have a fully operational consumption lounge for those who want to test and enjoy the products on site. And for those who want to interact with the dispensary further in our local area, The Artist Tree is a monthly destination for ArtHop, Fresno’s local city-wide art show, on the third Thursday of every month, including this Thursday, August 18. For ArtHop, The Artist Tree will have live music, free food & drinks, and live art by local Fresno artists.
Providing an aesthetically pleasing, educationally focused, and consumer experience-oriented business model, and with plans to open a second location in South Fresno once permitting has been approved by the city council, The Artist Tree is sure to become a popular first choice for many of the valley’s cannabis consumers.