Ryan Tunseth stands at the counter of his business, East Rip, on Monday in Kenai. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Ryan Tunseth stands at the counter of his business, East Rip, on Monday in Kenai. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

East Rip: The Kenai Peninsula’s newest cannabis shop opens in Kenai

East Rip is the peninsula’s newest recreational marijuana retailer, and the first cannabis business located in Kenai’s compact commercial center.

Ryan Tunseth has been working to get East Rip set up for nearly a year, and has had his share of hiccups over the location and nature of the business. When East Rip was working on getting a permit from the city, there was some controversy surrounding the proposed location of East Rip, which is adjacent to Arby’s in central Kenai. In Dec. 2017, the Kenai Planning and Zoning Commission narrowly approved East Rip’s city permit after the commission reconsidered their November 2017 denial of the permit. The shop received their permits from the state earlier this summer, and East Rip was able to have a soft opening the second week of September.

Q: What made you want to get into this industry?

A: Personally, I was going through a bit of a life change. I was working at Exxon Mobil when there was a shakeup with my Cook Inlet job. Exxon wanted to move us to Texas. I didn’t want to uproot my family. My kids like it here. I grew up here and have lived here my whole life. My dad lives here. We love it here. So, we decided to stay. My wife and I tossed around a few business ideas that might pay the bills and this one just stuck.

Q: With a density of churches, playgrounds, schools and parks in central Kenai, it is difficult to find a spot to open this sort of business. How has this location been working for you since opening?

A: The location is great. It’s something we feel is one our biggest assets. We are on a frontage road, and we like that it’s not right on the highway. People can access the store discretely. We’re a little bit removed, which was something we were looking for.

Q: Cannabis is a booming industry; how has business been for East Rip since first opening?

A: Business is great. We came in and opened and there was a lot of momentum. Then we were on the heels of the Permanent Fund Dividend. Sales have been great, but we’ve been seeing this momentum from opening and from the PFD. I think it will get slower and steadier in the winter. It’s been better than expected.

Q: How have you been promoting your new business?

A: We’ve gone with the sort of grassroots marketing strategy through word of mouth. We have one radio commercial right now, but we had no advertisements for the first two weeks. We were focused on knocking our customer service out of the park.

Q: How much locally grown product does East Rip carry?

A: Pretty much everything on the menu is locally grown on the peninsula, whether it’s from K-Beach or Nikiski, it’s almost all locally grown.

East Rip is open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday – Thursday, at 10767 Kenai Spur Highway.

East Rip, a new Kenai marijuana shop, is photographed on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

East Rip, a new Kenai marijuana shop, is photographed on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

East Rip, the peninsula’s newest marijuana retailer, is photographed on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

East Rip, the peninsula’s newest marijuana retailer, is photographed on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove poses for a photo on Jan. 9, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. The veteran Alaska legislator was passing through Homer while waiting to take the M/V Tustumena ferry to Kodiak. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Clem Tillion, PFD founder and former legislator, dies at 96

Tillion died Wedneday, Oct. 13, at Halibut Cove home.

Thunder Mountain High School on April 18.  Earlier this fall, vandalism including stolen soap dispensers and toilets clogged with foreign objects such as paper towel rolls were a problem at schools nationwide and in Juneau. But, principals say the local situation is improving. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
After brief surge, vandalism subsiding at local high schools

Principals say internet trends, stress likely behind incidents.

In this Jan. 8, 2020, photo Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, heads to a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. An Alaska man faces federal charges after authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill Murkowski, according to court documents unsealed Wed., Oct. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite,File)
Delta Junction man faces charges over threatening Murkowski’s life

Authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill the senator.

Donna Aderhold recites the Homer City Council oath of office and is sworn in for duty at the city council meeting on Oct. 11. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
New council members sworn into duty Monday

Newly-elected Homer City Council members Shelly Erickson and Jason Davis and re-elected… Continue reading

Runners participate in boys varsity race at the Ted McKenney XC Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The trails recently reported incidents of vandalism and theft. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Vandalism and theft reported at Tsalteshi Trails

One trail user reported stolen skis recently and multiple signs have been defaced.

At left Bonita Banks, RN, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) nurse at Homer Medical Center, and at right, Annie Garay, RN, Community Health Educator, pose for a photo at South Peninsula Hospital on Sept. 27, 2021, at Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
New hospital community health educator starts

Garay, a Homer raised nurse, came home to ride out COVID-19, wound up doing pandemic nursing.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Montessori school goes to universal indoor masking

As of Tuesday, eight KPBSD schools were operating with universal indoor masking for staff and students.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Crabbers look at cuts to quotas

Tanner, opilio crab quotas cut on top of cancellation of fall king crab fishery.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Judge sides with psychiatrists who alleged wrongful firing

Two psychiatrists said they were wrongfully fired when Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy took office.

Most Read