StarbudsBrian Ruden was a top tax attorney five years ago when he shifted careers. “When I told my law school friends I was giving it up to grow pot, they laughed at me. Now, they’re calling me for jobs or to invest a spare $100,000. Now, I’m the one who’s laughing, because their money looks pretty paltry next to the $10 million offers I see regularly. It’s the dot-com boom all over again.” Brian’s four dispensaries are called Citi-Med, AlterMeds, Tree of Wellness, and Starbuds, intentionally named to mimic the coffee chain. His original logo was a direct copy of the green coffee lady, but an aggressive call from the Starbucks legal department prompted a logo change. Still, the name Starbuds has served him well, a simple handle that customers remember easily.Brian is in the fight to turn Colorado Springs recreational, and has located his Tree of Wellness store right on the city's border, making sure it is one of the first stores tourists will see driving in. There is a huge customer base there that drives close to 70 miles to Denver to buy recreational marijuana, and they don’t all go to Starbuds. Brian has a passion for growing the best marijuana on the market and wants to be the ultimate micro-brewer of cannabis. He aggressively pursues growing new strains of the plant to stay ahead of the competition. After much experimentation, he is convinced that his specially calibrated LED lights provide the best results. Although they are more expensive, he’s continued to make the investment.Brian’s passion is to grow, to expand his company by opening more retail locations, grow houses and hopefully a concentrate company, with getting a license to sell in Aurora his primary objective. When we meet Brian he is hoping to get one of the 24 licenses issued for Aurora, Colorado’s third largest city-- each of them is expected to be worth millions. If he is lucky enough to be approved, he will have just a few months to open his doors on the first day of legal sales in the city. Secretly, he thinks he may get two of the coveted licenses, which would instantly catapult him into the lead spot in the new market.
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