Buku Loud Dispensary Making Noise for Colorado Springs Cannabis Scene | Westword


Buku Loud Making Noise for Colorado Springs Cannabis Scene

Colorado Springs native Joshua Corbett and his wife, Tifini Scarcella, are building a reputation that attracts customers from around state to their dispensary.
Buku Loud owners and husband-wife team Joshua Corbett and Tifini Scarcella
Buku Loud owners and husband-wife team Joshua Corbett and Tifini Scarcella Buku Loud
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The cannabis in Colorado Springs doesn't receive the same amount of attention as Denver's, but at least one dispensary down south is making noise.

Buku Loud was opened by Springs native Joshua Corbett and his wife, Tifini Scarcella, just over six years ago, and it didn't take long for the couple to dominate the local dispensary scene, where only medical marijuana shops are allowed. Thanks to an award-winning cultivation and a pipeline of popular Denver products (still a rarity in the Springs), Buku Loud attracts customers from all over southern Colorado as well as a few up north. The store's popularity has even led Corbett to start a breeding line.

To learn more about Buku Loud and what makes it stand out, we caught up with Corbett and Scarcella.

Westword: What brought you to Colorado Springs?

Joshua Corbett: I'm from the area. I got my first job in this parking lot where our business is, in 1996. So there's some irony here, too. We started the LLC in 2014 and opened the doors in 2017. We were building it for a long time.

What made you want to open a dispensary in your hometown?

Corbett: It was just a hard process to open anywhere. I'd moved away from Colorado Springs for a time and was working out of state, and I came back to open a dispensary in Denver. But my lawyer at the time said I couldn't open a dispensary in Denver, because there were so many, and that I had to open one in Colorado Springs. Now we're one of the last mom-and-pop shops left here. My sister-in-law, daughter, niece and Tifini's daughter work here. It's all family.

What's that like, running a family business in cannabis?

Tifini Scarcella: It definitely has its challenges.

Corbett: It's good, though. We're like the Cheers of weed over here. Everyone knows us in the community, and we know their names when they walk in. We've been getting a lot of traction lately, and it's been pretty crazy.

What's made you stand out in the Springs? There aren't as many stores down there as there used to be, but competition is still tight.

Corbett: Our quality of the flower, first of all. Our grow won the Connoisseur Cup three times, and one year we swept every category. We pride ourselves on how good our flower is. I'm from this neighborhood, so there are a lot of people who come in who I knew before I owned a dispensary. It's a hometown thing, too.

Scarcella: We have great relationships with everybody who comes in. We try to be as knowledgeable as possible on the products we have and cater to those individual needs.

What are the ups and downs of owning a dispensary in your hometown?

Corbett: It's great, and we've been doing a lot of charity stuff out here, too. Last year I think we had the biggest turkey drive in all of Colorado, and this year I know we will. We donated over 2,000 turkeys last year, all right here in the Colorado Springs community, and this year we plan to give away over 5,000. Being able to do that in my own community means a lot to me.

What about turkeys and Thanksgiving made you want to give back that way?

Corbett: We call it the turkey and teddy bear drive, because each turkey comes with a teddy bear for the kids if people come with a child. This is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Colorado Springs, and I kept hearing people say how they didn't have turkeys on Thanksgiving. The first year we only gave away about 100 turkeys, and the next year we gave away 500. Last year was just the fourth year, though, and we got to 2,000.
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Buku Loud's buds have fans from Colorado Springs to Denver.
Buku Loud
Buku Loud is one of the few stores in the Springs that carry a lot of top Denver brands. How are you able to stock so many?

Corbett: We have a great relationship with all of the top Denver brands. We've been doing things a long time with them and respect each other's grows. That's really where it is.

Scarcella: Not one facility can have all the good weed. It's about not picking sides and actually having happiness for other companies to do well — and to help them do that, too. It's not always a competition, in that sense. We're here for the same thing.

Is Buku Loud's bud only available at your store, or is it sold in other dispensaries?

Corbett: Yeah, our stuff is only sold here right now. It sells out. We are probably going to do a collaboration here soon with a Denver grow, Melody Genetics.

Given all of the licensing stuff involved in legal cannabis, how does a grower collaboration work?

Corbett: I've started a genetics company, Bread & Butta Seeds. I make some one-of-a-kind strains; we pheno-hunt them and then make great genetics. So I'm going to pheno-hunt a strain here, put it in METRC [Colorado's seed-to-sale tracking technology] to transfer to Melody, and then they'll grow it. So you'll be getting a strain that's from both of us.

What new Bread & Butta strains are you excited to drop?

Corbett: I'm really excited about a stain called Honey Donut, which is Granola Funk and Peach OZZ crossed with Papaya. Peach OZZ is Peach OZ crossed with a strain, Peach Rings. And Granola Funk is a Cookies cross. I'm a nerd when it comes to genetics.

What sort of traits do you look for in strains?

Corbett: I'm trying to bring back old-school stuff and cross it with new-school stuff — stuff that was popular before Cookies and Gelato came out. Strains like old-school OG Kush, White Fire OG and Chocolate Thai. We're gonna cross some 1971 Purple Kush, too, and some Maui Wowie and Bubba Kush.

Scarcella: We also like to do this to give strains stability. The more you poly-breed these newer strains, the weaker the genetics become. So going back to the roots of things will create a better, more stable genetic line.

That's why you see a lot of stuff like Durban Poison or other landrace strains used in breeding. So when you come across something unstable but you like it, you breed it with a Durban Poison to make it stable. In the breeding game, we call those strains "nails," because you nail them down with other genetics to make it stable.

How do you think people view the Colorado Springs cannabis scene in comparison to Denver or other markets?

Corbett: I think we get overshadowed because it's a medical-only town, but if you live in Colorado, you should join club med, anyway. Medical patients pay way lower taxes. But this has also given us an opportunity to build our own little island here, so when Colorado Springs does go recreational, people will have a hard time competing with us out here.
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