The Original Uncle Ike's is about the size of a Subway, yet it gets an absurd amount of attention, from customers and haters alike. The customers bring in cash—a lot of it. Uncle Ike's on 23rd sells almost twice as much product every month as its closest competitor in Seattle. Since it opened in 2014, the pot shop has sold more than $27 million worth of goods, according to 502data.com. No other Seattle store has even cleared $10 million yet.
And the haters? They do what they do best. Uncle Ike's has been the scene of multiple protest marches, where activists claim Uncle Ike's is responsible for gentrifying the Central District and profiting from a system that gives white guys millions while people of color sit in jail for selling the same product. (It's true that there's historical cannabis injustice when it comes to marijuana policy—injustice that has disproportionally affected people of color—but it's a stretch to blame Uncle Ike's over, say, the DEA.) Meanwhile, others in the industry complain that the store's bottom-shelf buds are inferior, or that Ian Karl Eisenberg, who owns Uncle Ike's, uses aggressive tactics to take down his competitors.
I can't speak to those issues, but I can tell you that I shop at Uncle Ike's because they have a ridiculous selection of products at amazing prices. Walk in and you'll see walls covered with more than a hundred strains of flower and dozens of edibles and concentrates that are probably selling for as cheap as you can find them. You can always choose between five or six strains that are selling for less than $7 gram or $20 an eighth. There's often a line stretching out the door, but the half-dozen budtenders inside are instructed to sell efficiently, so the line always moves fast. LESTER BLACK
2310 E Union St,
Hours: daily 8 am–11:45 pm