The historic town of Westport has been an important trading point in Kansas City, Missouri since the early 1800s. Starting as crossing point between the California, Oregon, and Santa Fe Trail, Westport has been a bustling district for decades. The culture remains steady, while the shops and businesses have evolved to keep the town a destination point for all Kansas City natives.
On the block of 39th and Broadway, It’s A Dream Smoke Shop joined the locale. Since their establishment in 2008, It’s A Dream has become a pillar of the community. Offering the latest and greatest in smoking accessories and fine art glass is only a portion of what this smoke shop does for their city.
Josh Funk, General Manager of the resident flagship store, invited COUNTERPRODUCTIV in to discuss the past, present and future of It’s A Dream.
So you guys have been here since 2008. How did it all get started?
The owner’s name is Malik. He came to America on the citizenship lottery in the 90s. He had a few other businesses until his friend told him this place was up for sale. It used to be a convenience store. They sold shirts and shoes. He turned it into a smoke shop. He’s a religious, compassionate person and he has an MBA so he’s a really good businessman who knew this would be lucrative. With me as his manager and us working together, we’ve been able to create this successful business. It has so much opportunity, especially after the recent legalization of cannabis.
When did you start working at It’s A Dream?
Four years ago, I became manager and a year after that they changed the legal age from 18 to 21. So when that happened it was really a big shift. We had to completely change our business model. We didn’t have the teenagers coming in who just wanted the big, expensive stuff. Older people are a lot more concerned. They research things online and you can find everything cheaper. So we had to create what I like to call the “genius bar” mentality. Yeah, you could probably buy this for $5-$20 cheaper online, but you come here because you get to talk to us. We’ve used all this stuff and we have the experience. We can tell you, this one’s cheaper, this one’s not, but you should get this one and if you have issues you can bring it in and we can help you. We educate people and don’t just sell stuff to people.
The shop has always sold smoking accessories and now you sell CBD products. Will you be opening cannabis dispensaries?
We’re opening 3 new medical facilities. One in an old bank in Independence, one in Gladstone, and one at 103rd and State Line. We won’t be able to get the license until December and probably won’t be able to open until April or may next year.
Will the dispensaries be called “It’s A Dream”, or will you operate under a separate name?
We’re going with Dream Leaf. It’s a tie back to It’s a Dream, but because it medical, we wanted to be professional. If someone sees “leaf”, they will know we have cannabis.
How are you preparing for the opening of Dream Leaf?
We’ve been training on cannabis and how it interacts with your nervous system, the different cannabanoids and terpenes, etc. I think that will stand out in our dispensaries. We won’t just tell you “this bud is really dank.” We’re going to be working with a local guy who is certified in education and also has a huge background in the cannabis industry. He’s going to be training us on state regulations, neuropathy, and all that kind of stuff.
There are tons of one-of-a-kind pieces in here. How much of your shop is local product?
Two or three years ago, we started working with local artists. At least 50% percent of our product is local or directly from the artist, which is awesome. That’s another big point of our business model, is helping the community. We have local artists do murals and sell canvases and prints. Kryptc will be doing our mural this year on the front of the building. We like to keep the whole local art vibe going. People who live here get the money, and people who live here spend the money in our shop. It creates the vibe that you want to be here: ‘I want to go to It’s A Dream. I want to see the cool robot and the murals. I want to get some CBD slush and hear some music and talk with the guys.’
Do you ever host events?
Yeah! We started doing events where local artists would come in and set up for Halloween, Christmas, and 4th of July. The 4/20 CannaBrew Flame-Off and Art Show was definitely the biggest event. We try to get a lot of different people in here and support as many artists as possible. Every time we do an event, we’ll do some kind of community drive. We usually pair up with Harvester’s and do food drives. We’ll do raffles here and we’ve gotten hundreds of cans of food to donate to charity. The money that we raised from the silent auction at 4/20 CannaBrew , we donated to the Veteran’s Cannabis Project.
We’ve worked a lot with New Approach Missouri. They were some of the main people responsible for the Amendment 2 passing. So for a couple years they had petitions going. We always hosted them in here. We collected thousands of signatures over the years. NRML KC, we’ve donated a lot of stuff for events that they’ve done. We just try to be an active part of pushing the cannabis legislation.
“We’re doing something to change the connotation that is with the cannabis industry and with stoners being lazy and non-productive. We are active community members and we’re the people who are affecting change.”
With the country’s change in cannabis laws and Missouri passing Amendment 2, It’s A Dream will be the one of the first in the state to dispense cannabis medically and legally. Not only will they be able to help and heal the people of Kansas City, but they will also provide a genuinely remarkable experience. Stop into It’s A Dream to spin the Winnie Wheel, get a CBD slush, browse the highest quality specialty glass in the area, buy local art, listen to good music, get to know their knowledgeable and friendly staff, and join the Dream Cool Club.
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Robot Sculpture by Daniel Schaeffer