Martinez, Calif., June 24, 2020 -PRESS RELEASE- Velvet Cannabis opened its doors in late May as the first and only cannabis dispensary in California’s Central Contra Costa County. Founded by East Bay natives Matt Morea and Farid Harrison, Velvet aims to bring a new cannabis retail experience to the area.
“We are extremely excited to bring what we believe is an elevated experience in cannabis to the East Bay,” Morea said. “This region has been under-served for a long time, forcing people along the 680 corridor to drive to Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and beyond. We are not only giving them a place in their own backyard but have created a destination that is efficient, comfortable and highly personalized.”
Born and raised in San Ramon and Walnut Creek, respectively, Morea and Harrison have been friends for more than 15 years. Both longtime cannabis enthusiasts and passionate about its benefits, they embarked on completely different career trajectories – Morea in corporate sales and management, and Harrison in tech sales and real estate. Anxious for a change, and with the impending legalization of recreational cannabis in California in 2018, they decided to get into the business of something they loved, and the vision of Velvet was born.
As the duo started to lay the groundwork for Velvet’s future, Morea pivoted to positions in cannabis sales with Privateer Holdings and later CannaCraft, giving him an opportunity to learn about the cannabis supply chain and connect with some of the best operators and thought leaders in the field. This experience, combined with Harrison’s real estate and business expertise, along with the deep ties to the area, gives Velvet not only a true connection to the community but a team dedicated to and incredibly knowledgeable of the product.
Velvet offers lab-tested CBD and THC products, organized as “good, better, and best” when it comes to pricing. The crew is will take guests through its selection of flowers, pre-rolls, vaporizers, concentrates, edibles, topicals, tinctures and more.
Velvet partnered with Walnut Creek’s BALI Construction and Alhambra Valley Millworks to build out an existing 2500-square-foot industrial space. To help conceptualize the interior, Morea and Harrison brought on Gi Paoletti Design Lab, a San Francisco-based interior designer with more than two decades of experience in mixed-use development, resort, restaurant and bar design. “We had the unique opportunity to work with a space that features floor to ceiling windows and it was important for us to take advantage of that natural light and its ability to make a retail space open and – most importantly – inviting,” Gi Paoletti, owner of the design company, said.