The Reef co-owner Adam Simon, right, addresses invitees to a preview of the new shop on Thursday, Aug. 16. General manager John Ueding is at left.
The Reef co-owner Adam Simon, right, addresses invitees to a preview of the new shop on Thursday, Aug. 16. General manager John Ueding is at left.
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The Reef, Capitol Hill’s latest retail cannabis shop, opened in time for Hempfest, and beat competition on East Olive Way to the finish line.

The Reef took over a license originally issued to District 420 in Georgetown, and replaces Amante Pizza & Pasta at 1525 E. Olive Way.

Business partners Adam Simon and Aaron Bennett purchased the property for $1.42 million in June 2017, and applied for a retail pot license that November.

Amante closed this spring, and The Reef owners brought in upscale architecture firm Olson Kundig for help designing the interior.

Simon and Bennett showcased The Reef with a party on Thursday, Aug. 16, with plans to open the next day. A grand opening is set for Friday, Aug. 24.

“The buildout, when we took the space we had a lot of hope we would find some real cool architectural details,” Simon said. “And when we started moving stuff, we found a lot of mess. More than the kitchen, the whole place was full of ‘70s-‘80s dry wall and trap ceiling that turned the space into a little cocoon, and we were really committed to showing the building’s bones.”

The Reef kept the big windows, where neon lights and circular display cases highlight the pot shop’s offerings. Old exposed brick from the building, constructed in 1926, are complimented with wood paneling.

People can order online through Leafly or with The Reef’s proprietary online system, which is also available on iPads set up inside the shop. Bennett said they’re still working on a notification system, and there will likely be specials, but no plans for discounts for online orders.

One section of the store is set up for online pick-ups and pre-rolls, and another station in the back center is where people can learn more about various products from knowledgable budtenders, Bennett said.

Bennett, who works in retail commercial real estate, helping others open businesses, said this is the first one he’s done for himself.

“I found a great partner in Adam, and we kind of combined our expertise and made this happen,” he said.

City documents indicate Uncle Ike’s proprietor Ian Eisenberg is still waiting for a construction permit to transform an office building he purchased for $2 million in October 2017 into his latest retail shop.

There are two other retail marijuana stores in Capitol Hill, both a stone’s throw from each other on 15th Avenue East, and one being an Uncle Ike’s.

The Reef’s opening on East Olive Way adds convenience for people who don’t want to go uphill for their weed.

“We feel like we’re really in the heart of what’s happening in Capitol Hill, right now,” Simon said.