Retailer Interviews

How a Native Dispensary Builds Community

We recently interviewed Katy Simao, the Retail Manager of Oak Creek Dispensary. It is a Native owned and operated dispensary in Independence, California. They do everything from accessories and apparel, to home goods!

Hi Katy! Could you tell me a little bit about your business and what inspired it?

Sure! We’re native run and operated by the Fort Independence Paiute band in Independence, California. It’s a small tribe of a little over 80 people. The boutique is native and inspired by nature as well as local handmade items. We have different buyers per season, so we have Mammoth people from Los Angeles and from all over the world really!

We see a lot of people from all over, so the inspiration is also the different seasons. In Spring, we have our hikers and it’s eclectic. We have anything from high end boutique wear to more natural, fabric hippy wear. We have a local artist from Los Angeles who does some artwork for us with prints of Marjuana leaves, and sticker work.

We have other local people who make hats. Pour Vida Art & Plant House, Lemon Lorraine’s, Mad Man, and The Healing Sanctuary are some of my favorite brands you guys have! I love that we can purchase homemade jars for crystals since this is a rocky place and crystals are huge. We’ve only been open for 3 years. Our three year mark will be August 30th.

The first year was really rough, but the second year was better, and the third year has been amazing! I feel like our traffic has definitely doubled and we’re doing well! We started our own cultivation and now we’re trying to reach out to other tribes to get them into dispensaries. What’s great about tribal dispensaries is we really get to do what we want. We’re able to have a retail store inside our dispensary, which doesn’t happen in any other dispensary if it’s state legislated. It’s pretty special!

I read that you have Tribal Status. Could you please go more into detail about what that entails?

Yes! We are operated by the Fort Independence Paiute Tribe. The tribe here practices Sovereignty so everything is tax free. It saves people so much money in taxes and because of that, we do our own ordinances. Each tribe is different. We don’t report to the state on taxes, but we do have a commissioner and ordinances that are set in place.

People often have a misconception that it isn’t regulated, but that isn’t true. We are much more regulated, because our tribe is looking at things from every aspect. We get our plants tested from every juncture and we’re able to fine tune things because we’re cultivating ourselves.

The Paiute tribe in general is a little larger, but there are different bands through each Paiute. We’re just trying to get our foot in the door and set a precedent and quality to teach people about Cannabis and CBD. We even do pet CBD and treats! That’s one of the reasons I use Mad Men. They have those doggy duos that sell like wildflowers.

What are your favorite products?

We have everything in house from edibles, joints, infused joints, and tinctures. We are kind of like a wholesale place if you will. It’s a lot of fun!

What would you want to see more of on our platform?

You know honestly, you guys have everything that I need! You guys work on picking up the slack. Where I can’t find local vendors or Native American local stuff, I turn to you guys! I no longer have to worry about finding products. It’s a breath of fresh air!

What has been your favorite part of working with Abound?

My favorite thing is that I can set any parameters that I want, whether it’s features or new arrivals. It just makes it easy! Even filtering the lead times and price point makes it easy and organized. I love that we’re able to reach out to the makers as well. It’s very user friendly! It’s not rocket science, anyone can use it to get what you want.