Jim and Pam Parco grew up in Pueblo County. In fact, Jim was born and raised next door to where the store is today. He remembers when Pueblo had a thriving steel industry, and he witnessed the devastation of losing it in the 1980s. Pueblo never really recovered, and it remained one of the most economically depressed counties in the state for decades.
When Colorado legalized adult-use retail cannabis in November 2012, Jim & Pam saw an opportunity. After retiring from the Air Force after twenty years on active duty, they moved back home and started a vertically-integrated operation. Since then, Pueblo County has seen an economic boom — all thanks to cannabis legalization.
Jim grew up next to Greenwood’s Restaurant - a thriving diner from the 1940s until 1980.. The small building sat on the corner of Baxter Road and Highway 50 East on the outskirts of Pueblo. Eventually, the diner closed and changed hands, and the building became a bar and later, two different Mexican restaurants. Then when the roof collapsed from a lack of maintenance, the structure was condemned and became vacant. Soon thereafter, the property became overgrown and a local dumping site. Every time Jim was home visiting his parents, they would complain about the abandoned building next door and the state of its growing disrepair. After Colorado legalized retail cannabis in 2012, Jim and Pam decided to buy the building and turn it into a dispensary.
Jim, now an economics professor at Colorado College, and his wife, a former elementary school teacher, knew nothing about marijuana or how to grow it. “I’d never even seen a cannabis plant,” Jim admits. He took a sabbatical from his job and spent four months working as a janitor at a similar medical marijuana operation in El Paso County. He mopped floors, emptied buckets and helped trim the plants. Once he learned everything he could, he did his best to replicate it in his own business: Mesa Organics.
“We dumped our entire life savings, Pam quit her teaching job, and two years later, here we are,” he says. “Very rarely do you see a business professor who actually runs a business. I’m seeing if what I teach actually works — and thankfully, it does.”