We had the good fortune of connecting with Isaac Thompson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Isaac, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The month before I started The Puff Club, I had just turned 29. I really started to feel a time crunch to be closer to “success” heading into 30. Even though I had years of experience in different fields, I didn’t have a set career path. At the same time I felt like I wasn’t going to be satisfied with a set career path. When I started the business I had the goal in mind to build something solid for the future. I took everything I had saved and partnered with a close friend who already had a space in a same venue. From there I just took every step of the way with an open mind, it’s been a learning experience.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I feel that what sets me apart is the drive to provide something special for someone. I love meeting new people who have never seen my products and they absolutely lose it. I really enjoy giving people something they haven’t seen before, for price that isn’t insane.
In October of 2020, I decided to open a business and work for myself. The local Phoenix Park N’ Swap allowed me to set up shop and I began my journey as a smoke shop owner. Cannabis has been a big part of my life for quite some time. I’ve had the privilege of watching the stigma around Cannabis slowly change in Arizona as the years go by. Luckily, by November 2020 Marijuana was officially deemed recreational in Arizona; which changed the landscape immensely.
It’s been a bumpy ride, and I absolutely love it. This is my first time operating a business, going into it, I assumed it to be a simpler task. I had to learn that working for yourself does not mean your working less hours. The store is something that’s always going to be on your mind 24/7; which has it’s pros and cons. Aside from that, I would say my biggest hump was getting thru the Summer. Being in an open air market, we depend on the community coming out and supporting their local vendor. The heat would make that very hard for people to do. So I had the opportunity to learn how to operate and grow a business that’s seeing a dramatic loss in revenue. I’m in an amazing space of growth and learning everyday, the process is beautiful.
My main goal and mission is to keep prices as low as possible. The purpose wasn’t to beat out the competition, but to apply my mantra of helping people in whatever I do. This concept was very well received by the community and we’ve gotten nothing but a warm welcome. I’m hoping to continue making ripples in this massive Cannabis industry as things continue to change. People feel the difference that we are here to make we are determined to turn our ripples into a wave.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I had a friend visiting, I’d take them on a tour thru Tempe, Phoenix, and Scottsdale; then a few places outside of the city. Starting off in Phoenix/Scottsdale we could start off at the Desert Botanical Garden for the day, if there was time we could check out the Phoenix Zoo or take a long walk down Tempe Town Lake. If I was coming back from that Phoenix Zoo area we would stop at OHSO in the Arcadia area of Phoenix and try some of the signature brews. Getting the trip started in the desert areas is a good way to acclimate and see the landscapes.
The next morning could start off with a hike depending on the weather. Papago Park is one of my personal favorites for a moderate hike. If the visitor is more of an adventure seeker then I would highly suggest the Lost Dutchman Trail at The Superstition Mountains. There are lots of great breakfast places in Scottsdale but I feel like Lolo’s Chicken and Waffles is Arizona’s staple place for soul food, so it’d be great after a morning on a mountain. That night I’d take my friend downtown to check out some of the vibes down in Central Phoenix. There’s a few museums downtown that are definitely worth checking out as well. I’d make sure to take one day out of the week to head up to Sedona, that’s a breath taking city, no matter where your from. Personally I enjoy the nightlife, so I would finish off Friday and Saturday in that scene. Downtown Phoenix is very active Friday nights, depending on the week it may even be First Friday. I’d take them to Killer Whale, Cobra, Valley Bar, The 13th Floor, and a few others for a little bar crawl. Then I’d make sure to get some kind of section situated at Monarch nightclub downtown. Saturday is the best night to go to old town scottsdale, just coasting thru the entertainment district in the area is a great time. Sunday I would start the day kind of early so we can get some brunch time in scottsdale, letting that lead into what we call Sunday Funday in Arizona. I’ve lived here my whole life, I have never found myself bored with nothing to do.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost I have to give a genuine shoutout to the everyone in the valley for all the support, I wouldn’t have a business with them. One of my closest friends really took me under his wing in more ways than one when it came to learning how to run this the right way and its been really helpuIt’s been great being able to bounce ideas off of someone who already has a solid business going.
Yelp: The Puff Club