Native Roots joins neighbors for cleanup

45 volunteers collect trash, recycling in Speer area

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Rules barring large group gatherings because of the coronavirus prevented Native Roots from hosting a traditional grand opening in May for its new flagship store in Denver’s Speer neighborhood.

So, the marijuana dispensary decided to celebrate its by giving back to the community, and teamed up with the Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods organization and the Harm Reduction Action Center for a neighborhood cleanup effort on June 27.

“Community is one of our core values as a company (and) this seemed like a good way to celebrate the grand opening,” said Shannon Fender, director of public affairs for Native Roots. “People really enjoy getting out and doing these types of things — especially because of COVID and recent stay-at-home orders.”

The cleanup took place in the vicinity of Native Roots’ new location at 500 Grant St. and included the Cherry Creek Trail, south Capitol Hill and Alamo Placita.

To participate, volunteers had to wear masks and practice social distancing, Fender said adding the event was a “fun and safe event for a good cause.”

About 45 people volunteered — a mix of Native Roots employees and community members. In about three hours, they collected 45 garbage bags of trash and 10 garbage bags of recyclables such as aluminum and plastic. Additionally, Native Roots gave a contribution to the Harm Reduction Action Center on behalf of each person who volunteered for the cleanup. The donation ended up totaling about $750, Fender said.

The Harm Reduction Action Center is a nonprofit with a mission “to educate, empower, and advocate for the health and dignity of Denver’s injection drug users, in accordance with harm reduction principles,” states its website.

CHUN is a registered neighborhood organization, and its relationship with Native Roots began in August 2019 when the two worked closely to develop a good neighbor agreement prior to Native Roots opening its business in the Speer neighborhood, said Travis Leiker, CHUN’s president.

“When they (Native Roots) reached out to us about the grand opening and a neighborhood cleanup project, we immediately seized the opportunity,” Leiker said. “Our board, staff and volunteers are always eager to roll up their sleeves to support Capitol Hill’s many wonderful neighborhoods.”

Native Roots opened its first store on the 16th Street Mall in 2010 and now has 20 stores across Colorado, Fender said.

“It’s super important for businesses to be involved in their communities,” Fender said. “It makes for a better neighborhood.”

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