If you follow the happenings of the Missouri cannabis industry on social media you’ve undoubtedly seen something unique to our market, The Community.
A cornucopia of music-inspired influences, a blend between concert fliers and street art, a mix of trendy cannabis brands from the West side of the state, and a push for participation between patients and employees all combine to create the identity of The Community.
Greenway caught up with the men behind the curtain, Joey Pintozzi, Vice President of Retail Operations at BesaMe Wellness, and Tim Gutschenritter, Missouri Sales Account Executive at Timeless Refinery, to talk about what it takes to make The Community a, well.. community, and what makes it work.
Understanding where Gutschenritter and Pintozzi come from helps to understand the swirl of art and culture that encapsulates The Community. Two veterans of the music and service industry, Gutschenritter and Pintozzi partnered on The Static Bar, before Pintozzi left to build businesses in Las Vegas and Gutschenritter went on to run The Hurricane and open The Riot Room.
With both finding success in their respective locations, the pair separately moved into the cannabis industry, unbeknownst to one another.
Amid the pandemic, the pair reconnected and found that, once again, they were working in the same field. The pair found a unique opportunity to work together and bond their passions to create The Community, a way to benefit patients, showcase the cannabis industry, and provide opportunities for those in the service industry after a year of quarantine and shuttered doors.
How did The Community come to fruition?
TG: I have known Joey for years from the music/service industry. Due to Covid, we both had to pivot our professions into the cannabis space. I like to call it fate. He moved back to KC from Florida and we connected over text. This was during the heat of the virus and its initial aftermath of our industry. He told me where he was headed and I was like, ‘No way! I just took a position in the cannabis space as well.’ Needless to say, it worked out swimmingly for us both! I for one am very stoked to be able to work with a great old friend again, doing something that we both have always been passionate about – helping people!
JP: Tim from Timeless and I put it together. Years ago, he and I use to have a few live music venues called The Static Bar. I left KC and moved to Las Vegas where I opened a handful of nightclubs and restaurants, Tim bought. I spent time working for The Hard Rock and opening a lounge for Elton John. After moving back here to take this amazing opportunity Tim and I reconnected. With both of us working in the cannabis industry and our love for music, we looked to create something that unites the two.
The goal was to take cannabis to the people. Teach, educate, and help people with the medical card process. We wanted to create a place where those in the cannabis industry can showcase their products and network. And because of what Covid-19 did to the music, bar, and live entertainment industry… we want to fill venues, help their staff, and put music back on stages.
Why the name The Community?
JP: We are one giant community. We promote each other, teach each other, and support each other.
TG: This was all Joey really. He had a vision and we agreed to run with the name. Honestly, it sums up what we are trying to build the brand into standing for. All for one, one for all. Music. People. Art. Culture. Love.
What is on the agenda in the near future?
JP: (We want) to keep educating potential patients, to grow into multiple cities and venues. To promote those in the cannabis industry and put some money back into these venues. A lot of them are still struggling to recover from the pandemic.
TG: With the industry being so new it is really tough to get things organized as Joey and I are both super busy in our respective roles with our organizations. But ultimately we plan to knock off another event in KC or the surrounding area in August and continue to try and bring people together to connect and talk about the cannabis industry. I think the initial plan is to try and do events once a month over the entire state.
How do you gauge success for something like this?
JP: Easy, the bar/venue made some money, the vendors got to shake hands with others in the industry, we helped patients get their cards, and music played.
TG: We wanna build this organically and continue to grow with it, as it grows. The main objective is to be able to spread knowledge about our industry through getting people in the same space. Our true passions have always been people, art, music, and community – so it just seems to make total sense. When we see a packed room with people vibing, to us that is the ultimate success!