By Gretchen Wehmhoff

A second retail marijuana business is planning on opening in Skagway sometime next year.

BoonTown Buds will be located in the front half of the building once housing Starfire restaurant on Fourth Ave.

Skagway Brewing Company owner Mike Healy, and his cousin, Dylan Healy are opening the store. They submitted the completed permitting packet to the Alaska Marijauna Control Office earlier this week. 

Dylan Healy is employed by Skagway School as the chef.

Healy says the state Fire Marshal’s office will need to sign off on the building. The cousins hired an architect to “basically push the paperwork through” to get the building ready to meet the state’s codes.

“So I can do all of that 100% of all of this myself, including the paperwork. It’s just that for whatever reason, when you have a stamp, or an architect’s stamp on the paperwork, it goes through much quicker and easier,” Healy said.

The application requires an operating plan, public notices, store floor plans and a description of how the business will comply with statutes and regulations involving prohibitions, signage, advertising, displays, exit packaging, labeling, security, waste disposal and customer traffic both walk in and drive up.

In addition to bud and edible products, Healy will also highlight health products.

“We will be focusing pretty heavily on the medical side of things,” he said.

They expect to have around four or five employees working the store. All of them, including  the owners, will need state marijuana handlers cards and a criminal background check. The cards require completion of a handlers course.

Healy is not new to starting businesses. He first came to Skagway on a road trip in 1999. 

“I just kind of fell in love with it. And then when I knew I wanted to go into business for myself, I moved up in 2003 to open what at the time was Glacial Smoothies and Espresso,”

Healy ran the smoothie shop for about a decade while he started other businesses. In 2007 he started the Skagway Brewing Company.

Not all ventures panned out. Two failed Mexican restaurants followed. One restaurant Healy attributes to a bad location, but according to his polling and research, the second one took a hit as cruise companies started adding Mexican restaurants to the ships.

“When people got here, they already had their Mexican fill. So that wasn’t something that really interested them,” Healy said.

With the paperwork in, he anticipates the request will go before the Alaska Marijuana Control Board in November. After that there will be comment time for the city. Skagway currently doesn’t have any specific regulations on the number of marijuana shops allowed in the municipality.

Healy says reception has been good.

 “Yeah, we’ve had nothing but really,  really great positive feedback from people. People are excited,” he said.