Last year as his recreational vehicle business was going to pot, Lino Catabran came up with a back-up plan — going into the pot business.
Now the former home of RV Brokers Inc. in Sacramento, Calif., is the home of the One Love Wellness Center medical marijuana dispensary, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Last August, Catabran cited the recession and declining revenues in announcing he was shuttering a recreational vehicle business that once totaled three Sacramento sales outlets, 40 employees and $15 million in annual sales.
At the time, he told the Sacramento Business Journal: “I always felt I wasn’t selling RV’s. I was selling fun.”
He’s now draws a salary as an officer for One Love Wellness, a non-profit collective for more than 8,000 registered medical marijuana users.
“And this is more fun,” he says. “I mean, truly. There is no service department. There is no warranty department. And there are very few unhappy customers.”
Catabran registered the marijuana collective with the city of Sacramento last June, just making the cutoff as the city was about to impose a moratorium on new pot shops. It opened its doors in November.
At the El Camino Avenue location, where Catabran once could get you a deal on a 2008 Big Foot motorhome and a 2009 Teton Prestige fifth-wheel camper, his staff now serves up Sour Diesel and Hindu Kush medical marijuana. The dispensary also offers massage therapy and yoga classes.
Catabran, who worked 17 years selling motorhomes, also sold Porshes at the same site years earlier. Now, as an employee for the pot outlet, he says, “I’m drawing one fifth of what I was making in the RV business. I can say that much.”
Catabran says he was a recreational user for more than 40 years before he obtained a physician’s recommendation and formally became a marijuana patient.
Though One Love Wellness must operate as a non-profit under existing medical marijuana laws, that could change if California voters approve Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Catabran said One Love Wellness would be able to reorganize as a for-profit business if the legalization measure passes and it chooses to do so.
But he doubts he will stick around long enough to run any retail pot dealership. At 62, he’s hoping to retire soon. And he says learning the ropes of the medical cannabis trade was challenging enough.
“I had to learn everything,” he says, “except to smoke.”
RV Brokers Inc., which has been selling recreational vehicles in Sacramento, Calif., for a dozen years, announced Tuesday (Aug. 4) that it will close its doors in September, according to bizjournals.com.
Owner Lino Catabran said in a news release that he’ll shutter the store because sales and revenue have declined for two years.
“We’re feeling the recession like everyone else,” Catabran said in the release. “We did everything possible to continue to serve new and existing customers, but there frankly hasn’t been enough of either to keep going. It’s a tough decision, but one that needed to be made.”
Catabran started the business online in 1997 as an RV broker, and opened a store two years later. He grew to three locations with sales, parts and service staff of nearly 40 employees. As recently as 2005, RV Brokers had annual sales of about $15 million, Catabran said in his release.
“We’ll concentrate on liquidating our existing new and used RV inventory as well as all parts, shop equipment, forklifts, racks and shelves,” he said in the release. “We will provide our customers with parts and service as long as our doors are open.”
Catabran, a Sacramento native, added that he appreciates his customers’ loyalty during his 12 years in business.
“I always felt I wasn’t selling RVs. I was selling fun,” he said.
Catabran, a former member of the Natomas Fire Department, took a job selling RVs in 1992 as a temporary step with plans of getting his real estate sales license.
“It turned out differently,” he said, “and I’ve loved the experience and the customers I’ve been fortunate enough to have served. But economic conditions make it clear that it’s time for a change, and we’ll just have to see what tomorrow brings.”