Dank Frank’s fighting to get its chance at business
Steamboat Springs — Stagecoach residents Frank Haughton and Lyndsey Shaw entered the marijuana business industry in Denver in 2007, more than half a decade before the state decided to legalize the recreational drug.
Together, they founded Brighterside Consulting, a remote business that helps re-engineer marijuana grows all across Colorado.
“We create the perfect growing environment,” Haughton said.
They started with Colorado medical dispensaries, utilizing Shaw’s finance degree to specialize in land and development design with business planning.
They’ve helped turn mediocre grow operations into thriving ones, Haughton said, but their dream has been to open their own facility — one where they can use their growing techniques and also sell from an on-site storefront. They chose Oak Creek, purchased a small, asbestos-ridden building at 208 S. Sharp St. and put in their business application to town officials last year as Dank Frank’s.
What has ensued for the couple has been one delayed meeting after another with the Oak Creek Planning Commission and Town Board. Haughton and Shaw wanted to tear down the old building and construct a much larger grow/storefront hybrid, but Oak Creek land-use code wouldn’t allow the change.
So, they changed their construction plan and resubmitted their application. More delays came as the town looked to revise its definition of a non-conforming buildable lot. Multiple proposed marijuana cultivation facilities and a retail storefront have come through the board and passed with approval, and still Dank Frank’s LLC remains on the table.
In a town that has no restrictions on the number of marijuana-related businesses, the couple’s dream has hit some snags.
“We can’t possibly make every person happy, but we can do everything we can to make sure every personal experience is going to be on the up and up,” Haughton said. “We’re two people who have worked really hard to have a business, and that business will hopefully turn into the one we really want.”
Tracks & Trails Museum’s Mike Yurich, who has spent most of his life in Oak Creek, is adamant that he is not against marijuana legalization and business in town. He is far more concerned with location and building choice, noting that the town’s designated light industrial performance district around Arthur Avenue better suits businesses like Dank Frank’s.
“You really don’t want it mostly around Main Street,” Yurich said about where he thinks marijuana businesses should be located. “Any prospect of future business coming in, they may have taken up all those locations on Main Street and Sharp Avenue.”
During a Town Board meeting in early February, Haughton and Shaw got the news they’ve been waiting for. Changes to the land-use code made it possible for Dank Frank’s construction plan to fit the town’s definition of a buildable lot.
Haughton and Shaw lauded Oak Creek’s open mindedness with the new industry, thanking town officials for giving them a chance to make their business work. As for the lengthy delays, they understand it’s a new industry and it’s all part of the process.
“It’s quite amazing to go into the politics of a town and have the town react to you in a way that is, ‘Hey, let’s get this done for you,’” Haughton said. “If it was running into walls for the sake of running into walls, our patience would have been tested more.”
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