As the U.S. eagerly watches the April 20 sales story of 2019 unfold, Colorado is still the undisputed leader in holiday weed tourism.

In 2018, Colorado saw a 128% increase on sales on 4/20 compared with the typical Friday, Marijuana Business Daily reported. Sales in the state spiked higher than California at 102% and Nevada at 106%. Washington, though, saw a slight dip, reporting at 97%.

Dispensary storefronts and brands are preparing to exceed 2018’s numbers by a long shot.

Here’s what Denver companies are doing to prep for the weed store madness.

Seth Wiggins, Chief Revenue Officer of The Clear, a concentrates company on shelves in Colorado, California, Washington, and Oregon, said his company prepares inventory about 45 days in advance of this date.

Retailers are stocking up on vapes (Photo courtesy of The Clear)

“Every year, it seems to get a little more exciting. We prepare with a buffer beyond what we think that growth will be to ensure we have an ample product supply for our customers,” Wiggins said.

Looking at 2019, The Clear is expecting sales to exceed a normal retail day by as much as 150%. The Clear will be delivering concentrates to retailers to the very last minute to match this demand.

“We’ve gotten at least a dozen emergency phone calls today [April 18, 2019] asking, ‘Can you get us more product?’ ” Wiggins said. “I’ve employed every single person in the office to do hot-shot runs. Stores are already running out.”

April 20 demands a “better safe than sorry” mentality when it comes to stocking up on supplies across states.

“We certainly expect to see the biggest lift here in Colorado,” Wiggins said, “but we prepare in a similar fashion across the board.”

Which products are top of mind?, “Cartridges and disposables are the most popular this time of the year,” Wiggins said. “It’s the convenience.”

The largest cannabis chains in The Clear’s network — Livwell, Maggies Farms, Native Roots — began planning and stocking inventory for 4/20 as early as January 1, 2019.

Wiggins’ parting advice for business owners? “Plan early and often, the thing about planning is, always have a plan C. Because it’s going to change.”

‘This is Cannabis Christmas and we are the North Pole.’

Dispensary owners see the holiday from a different and equally busy vantage point. On the ground on 4/20, Simply Pure founder and CEO Wanda James is Mrs. Claus.

“This is cannabis Christmas and we are the North Pole,” James said as she worked on last-minute preparations for the store to open its doors in Denver’s Highland neighborhood.

Scott Durrah, left, and Wanda James, shown Aug. 23, 2016, co-own Denver dispensary Simply Pure. In addition to his co-ownership and political aspirations — a bid for the Denver City Council — Durrah is a canna-chef who is competing on the third season of Viceland’s “Bong Appétit.” (Photo by Lindsey Bartlett)

“It takes over a month to stock the shop and get everything packaged with prerolls, eighths, quarters, and ounces. We work hard to get all the advertising just right, which we planned way back in January with the designers,” James said.

Simply Pure’s marketing efforts are creative and reach into as many avenues as possible, reserving its presence in the 4/20 media frenzy with articles, email blasts, even TV appearances.

This year, Simply Pure co-owner, veteran, Denver City Council candidate and cannabis chef Scott Durrah will be promoting the store in a very on-brand way — competing on Viceland’s premiere episode of “Bong Appétit Season 3 Chef Challenge.”

For a small-business owner, James said exposure on social media is key. James explained that the in-store pop-ups with brands that are meant to engage customers both in person and in pixel.

“Our product partners have claimed their day in the store and created promotions with us exclusively,” she said.

The retailer has a working relationship with the surrounding neighborhood, the backdrop which plays its own role in the holiday. Partnering with local restaurants and bars helps to position the shop as a destination location. “We have worked with the surrounding businesses to cross promote them and the specials we do as a ‘hood,’” James explained.

Simply Pure also takes an all-hands-on-deck mentality to staffing the space.

“Our Budologists are always on point, however, they have no vacation days during this week. Everyone is technically working or on call,” James said.

Judging by the expression on the face of this staff member, they don’t mind.

Feature image: Union Station in Denver, Colorado (Eric Donzella/Unsplash)