Bo Grafsgard had been working on a business plan for a vape and CBD store for more than two years before a heavenly conversation with a customer while working at a gas station changed the course of his career. Fast forward to last Friday, Grasfgard’s boutique, Stratosphere, wasn’t just real, it celebrated its first year in business.
Grafsgard says the company’s evolution and growth in the first year has exceeded all of their expectations.
“We had much more humble plans than they are now. That’s for sure exciting. Grafsgard said.
More than your average smoker, Stratosphere has a relaxed and inviting atmosphere, with shelves crammed with vaping products and accessories, a variety of CBD products, topical lotions, Kratom extracts, and the recent addition of glassware and of water pipes.
According to statistics released by the Small Business Administration in 2019, 33% of businesses fail in their first year, a milestone that rarely brings profitability. Bo’s wife, Savanah, credits the progress the company has made to their efforts to educate themselves not only about the products in the market, but also about the needs of their customers. What has been surprising to the Grafsgards is the variety of customers who come through their doors.
“Obviously cannabis is a popular thing, but you would expect it to be mostly among 24 to 35 year olds. What surprised me was how big the market was in other demographics,” Bo said, “We have mums and grandmothers who play football. We have people helping their children. It’s a broader spectrum than we thought. I think convenience helps a lot”
While North Dakota legalized medical marijuana in 2016, it’s been notoriously difficult for some patients to jump through hoops with their providers to get prescriptions. As of July 6, there were 8,024 active patient cards in North Dakota, according to the Department of Health.
While hemp-derived products like the Delta variants currently on the market are far less potent than actual medical cannabis or legal recreational products, they have nonetheless been popular with Stratosphere’s diverse customer base.
“We don’t tell people what they can and can’t do with it. We tell them to use their own best judgment, and we can use our own experience. We tell them to be aware of how it affects them to make those good choices. I feel like we’re doing our part by giving them that kind of education. says Savana. “It’s just about helping people have a better quality of life, helping them achieve the life-changing outcome they want.”
The Stratosphere team is pleased with the successes of the past year, but for Bo, the company’s long-term success will come from cultivating and building lasting relationships with every client he serves.
“We brought a gentleman in, he walked through the door and he could barely stand. I took one of the drinks we had. He drank that and we were talking, the moment he left he left on his own. Or if a guy comes in and tells me he hasn’t smoked a cigarette in six months. That’s what I’m looking for. It’s all just a happy consequence of what I do to get those feelings. said Bo.
The Grafsgards aren’t going to rest on their laurels, with a line of Stratosphere-branded products on the horizon and aspirations to expand beyond one store, Minot, and even the state.
“I’m not here to own a little hole in the wall smoker. Stratosphere is going to be more than just a local name. It will be statewide and who knows, it might even be in multiple states one day. Bo said, “It was the most fulfilling and exciting year of my life because I got to share it with her (Savanah), my family and the people around me. I live the dream.