Get to know our leaders
The Fire Station Cannabis Co. was established in October of 2019 in Upper Michigan. As the second medical marijuana facility and first licensed Upper Peninsula recreational retailer, we’re proud of our U.P. roots. Now serving locations across the entire Upper Peninsula, The Fire Station is committed to providing customers with high-quality cannabis products, education and exceptional customer service.
The Fire Station is U.P. owned and operated.
In this Q&A style article, we get to know TFS Co-Owners and Co-CEOs Stosh Wasik and Logan Stauber.
What made you want to start The Fire Station and get into the cannabis industry?
In college I was definitely a heavy user and there was a lot of fast money being made in the space. It was definitely intriguing and attractive. I also grew up in cannabis. It’s been a family business for as long as I can remember. So it was just the natural progression moving from just being a cannabis user to getting into the cannabis space and starting my first business back in 2012 when I was still in college. I started Northern Hydroponics and that’s what really opened the door for me in the cannabis space. It’s been almost 11 years since then.
My journey in cannabis started in 2012 when I was still in high school. I invested in Medical Marijuana Inc., which was a publicly traded pink sheet stock. I made a little bit of money from that, and that was what really started my wheels turning on cannabis becoming legal in the United States. When I got into college, it was just everything I could do prepping for the future. And it wasn’t just cannabis. It was other businesses as well. Flipping fireworks, running an online retail store, starting a manufacturing business, and also working as a cannabis caregiver.
I took an internship with a local attorney to learn more about the cannabis laws and continued actually growing cannabis at the time. I brought my then girlfriend, now wife, to my house to show her my grow and she laughed and kind of smiled and said, “You know, my brother grows just as much cannabis as you do,” and that was kind of what started the connection between Stosh and myself. And from that point it seemed pretty organic.
As brother-in-laws, can you tell me what it’s like working with family?
I would say working with family is not always the easiest thing to do, but we’re lucky enough to work with the people that we love and it makes going to work easier. I know that sometimes work isn’t always the most exciting part of people’s days. But being able to sit across from family members and really good friends, it just creates an environment where you’re excited to go to work.
I think we’re pretty good about it nowadays, about separating work and home life, but there’s definitely days where there’s blurred lines between work and home life balance. But overall, it’s great.
As hands-on CEOs since day one, what’s a crazy story from the time you were working in store?
If we could pull all the footage from all the things that happened in that parking lot during the first year, I mean the amount of car accidents, vehicles breaking down and us having to push cars that are overheated or leaking antifreeze all over the parking lot – we were always out there helping with the unexpected. We were also giving interviews to hire staff as quickly as we possibly could on the porch while there was a two hour wait in the parking lot and we were just like, okay, great, you’re hired. Put a vest on, let’s go.
And a lot of those people ended up becoming some of our best employees. I mean, the first people that we hired, a lot of them are still with us today. And they’ve grown dramatically with us as the company has scaled.
The Fire Station was recently ranked as one of the best cannabis retailers to work for in the entire country. How do you think that speaks to the culture that you’ve helped create here and the people that you have working for you?
To me, it’s so impressive that we’ve been able to be a part of a culture where our employees feel comfortable and safe and respected and have the things that they need to be successful in their careers. I’d be remiss to say that I take responsibility for that. It takes everyone from the person cleaning the bathrooms all the way up to us and everyone in between. And so, I think it really was a team effort. It just really shows what a group of people can do if they really look at workplace culture in a progressive light and give people the tools they need to succeed.
The experience that we were going for was buying cannabis from your friends. You know, we looked at these other retail chains that had opened up and they had armed security guards. It looked like a white wall doctor’s office. And that wasn’t the feel and the experience that we were trying to go for. And in order for it to feel like, hey, you’re having this experience where we’re a resource for information, we had to foster that environment. Put the customer first, go above and beyond, make this a true experience for them.
What has been one of the most rewarding things of your entrepreneurial efforts to date?
For me, the most rewarding thing is just seeing the success and growth of the team. We’ve seen people go from having serving jobs to being directors in the organization and being able to be a part of something that’s bigger. That’s the most rewarding thing. You know, the locations, all of that, that’s cool. But to me, it’s really about the people.
I agree with that but also for me it’s just seeing the industry legitimized. It was having the audacity to look at it and say, “Okay, this is what’s coming next in our society, this is the trend that we’re seeing.” And I think, just the struggles that we face now versus the struggles we faced when we opened are completely different. There was a lot of pushback, there was a lot of unknown. But I think we do our best to put our best foot forward and show that cannabis isn’t this crazy drug. We’re kind of debunking all of those myths about cannabis, and it’s great to see the industry evolve and have it legitimized.
What is your favorite TFS store mural?
Hannahville. It was the first one that our muralist, Steven Sprague, did that brought depth. The crossed axes were really cool because they symbolized the local community because we’re in partnership with the Hannahville Indian Community and also they tied to The Fire Station. So it was able to connect all of those dots. Then when you actually run your hand over the mural you can feel the texture that he put into the axes which is a really cool feature.
Iron River. It connects so well to the local community as there’s a lot of logging heritage there. And it’s so unique because he used a lot of colors that we hadn’t previously used in our murals. Ultimately, it just encapsulates almost the entire lobby and it’s a great piece of work.
Outside of work, what kind of things bring you joy, what are your hobbies?
I would start with my friends and family, to be able to spend time with them, that’s why we go to work. To have a good balance and be able to spend time with the people that mean the most to you. So, for me, that’s what’s really important outside of TFS. I spend a lot of my days in the summer golfing, and then in the winter I enjoy snowmobiling or snowboarding. I like playing board games at home with my family and friends and just anything I can do to just be active and compete and I guess that translates to the business.
I love the outdoors. I’m originally from Metro Detroit. So, moving up to the Upper Peninsula in itself was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life. I had a lot of anxiety about moving that far away from home and my family, because family is super important to me. But now that I’m here, I love mountain biking, golfing, skiing, snowboarding, and still spending time with family, albeit it’s a little different. I’ve got new family with my wife, brother-in-law, and family up here. It’s great.
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