ABOUT THIS PROJECT
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, a coalition of Colorado journalists already had been talking about how to better serve the public by collaborating and sharing stories. The urgency of the situation accelerated the work. More than 40 Colorado news organizations — newspapers, TV, radio and digital outlets — are now sharing their reporting through the Colorado News Collaborative, COLab for short. And on April 16, 22 outlets joined together to report on the impact of the pandemic on Coloradans. The result: COVID Diaries Colorado, stories of grit, ingenuity and hope.
In dozens of states, what Dan Pantaleo does for a living — selling marijuana — could get him locked up. In Boulder, it’s an essential service.
“It’s a weird feeling. I’m very grateful right now to still have a job and be considered part of an essential business,” Dan Pantaleo, general manager of the Eclipse Cannabis Co. dispensary in Boulder, said. “ … We might be just selling weed, but I feel we are an essential business right now. We’re helping people keep their sanity.”
If Eclipse sales receipts from a snowy Thursday in April are any indication, locals are in desperate need of anything to help keep them sane amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With us getting into the 4/20 ramp up, we were very busy for a Thursday afternoon,” Pantaleo said, referring to the unofficial marijuana holiday held annually on April 20. “Considering the weather and the style that we’re doing things, that was pretty impressive.”
Eclipse’s higher than normal sales Thursday came despite taking only phone-in orders and serving customers curbside.
“We’re taking phone-in orders only, and there are still a ton of folks who haven’t communicated yet,” so a portion of Pantaleo’s day Thursday was spent politely informing walk-up customers of the new ordering protocols.
Call-in ordering isn’t the only new element at Eclipse, which has always been a cash-only establishment.
“Just this week we implemented debit card processing so we’ve been working out the kinks over the last couple of days with the card processing machine and our new system,” Pantaleo said.
The new payment system was implemented “not only for speed and efficiency reasons but also for cleanliness,” he said. “A lot of our customers were stoked today when they saw it was available.”
It’s not just customers that Pantaleo must look out for, but employees too.
“We’ve had to be more mindful of our own distancing among ourselves because we are a smaller store — six feet just isn’t a reality all the time.”
Editor’s note: This story is a part of COVID Diaries Colorado, powered by the Colorado News Collaborative, or COLab. BizWest joined this historic collaboration with more than 20 other newsrooms across Colorado to better serve the public.