The company TRP has been quietly working behind the scenes since 2019 helping dispensary brands like Cookies and Dr. Greenthumb’s to open more stores throughout the state and the country. On September 10th, TRP officially opened Cookies Brentwood, a new Cookies location in the Northwest part of LA, a prime area which, until now, has had no dispensaries open.
TRP founders Daniel Firtel and Brand Johnson specialize in both real estate and licensing, undertaking the arduous task of getting dispensary locations approved, licensed, and up and running. They came to work with legacy California brands through their own connections and teamed up in 2019 to form TRP (which stands for Tradition, Responsibility, Progress).
Opening Cookies Brentwood was a special opportunity for TRP because of its prime location.
“On a global scale, people know where Brentwood and Santa Monica is. It’s a flagship location. I don’t know if there is a dispensary in a better real estate location in the world than right here,” Johnson said.
The Brentwood location opened without a lot of fanfare because, Johson said, they wanted to be respectful to the local community, which is not an area known for weed consumption. The men have always tried to fit each dispensary to the personality of its neighborhood.
“I think that we look at every store opening that way. What’s the community going to receive the best? Because ultimately, in every community we go into, we’re asking them for permission to be here,” Johnson said.
Being in a high-end neighborhood, Cookies Brentwood will be stocked with “the newest and the latest and greatest” of Cookies strains and products, Johnson said.
The store is able to showcase the best of the best due to its prime location.
“We know that our customers are going to be discerning and, probably here more than most, would be willing to pay the premium,” Johnson said.
The store is stocked with brands that TRP partners with such as Cookies, Dr. Greenthumb’s, and Nature’s Lab. They also carry trendy legacy brands like Backpack Boyz, Preferred Gardens, and Doja Exclusive.
According to Johnson and Firtel, TRP started when they were asked by Berner to help expand Cookies into retail storefronts. It wasn’t exactly Berner’s plan at first, but Cookies dispensaries rapidly became popular.
“[Cookies] was taking a couple of different investment groups in, one of which introduced Brandon and me to really be the engine behind building out a lot of the stores. And so, we got tasked with the nationwide retail launch,” Johnson said.
The rollout over the past two years has been expansive and successful. It’s not easy for a California cannabis brand like Cookies to take on that level of national and international growth.
“It’s incredibly capital intensive and it’s incredibly logistically difficult in order to scale. Every time you open in a state, it’s like starting a new business: it’s a new supply chain, it’s a new regulatory framework, it’s new hiring, it’s new SOPs,” Johnson said. “We’ve done that now in states over two and a half years, and we’ve got another five states that are slated for the next 12 months,” he said.
After working with Cookies, TRP partnered with another celebrity-backed legacy dispensary brand, B Real’s Dr. Greenthumb’s.
TRP now has stores operational in 9 states, with a footprint in 14 states. In California alone they are slated to open ten more storefronts.
Firtel says that he was involved in cannabis in the legacy days before focusing on working for large chain retail clients. After about a decade, he was reconsidering the weed industry after seeing the changes it was going through.
“I always felt that I would love to be in it, and then the opportunities arose to take my retail talents back into the weed industry,” Firtel said. How, he says, he’s in the position of “having a dream job of being able to do what I love, which is real estate and cannabis together.”
Firtel says that his personal interest in cannabis tended towards being a connoisseur of high-end flower tied to the true culture of California weed. Now he prefers to work with legacy brands, even though they are not comfortable with a corporate approach.
“I’ve always been drawn to the quality end of it. Brands that have really good quality, a lot of those guys have come from the legacy market. Dealing with those guys is always different than dealing with people in the corporate world,” Firtel said.
Johson says that working with legacy operators in cannabis means adhering to a certain ethos that is against the corporatization of weed.
“I think that the message that they have is, you want to have high quality products that support people who put blood, sweat and tears into this industry. Is that anti-corporatism? Somewhat, but it’s also protectionist of the people who risked their lives, risked their freedom, in order to make this so that we can sit here and sell this product today,” Johson said.
Cookies and Dr. Greenthumb dispensaries both emphasize brands that come from the legacy weed culture.
“If you look at our shelves, we’ve got a lot of legacy growers,” Johnson said. “There’s a story behind it, you can tell that story. We think that resonates with cannabis consumers. They want to know where it came from,” Johnson said.
Cookies Brentwood is open 7 days a week at 13030 San Vicente Boulevard.