Sanctuary Spotlight: Jayke Cooper

  • By Jake May
  • Oct 22, 2021

How did you get into the cannabis industry?

I got into the cannabis industry mainly because I was just looking for another job; I wasn’t looking for a career, just something to pay the bills. I was doing management over at Dunkin Donuts for about four years and just wasn’t really liking it. I ended up coming over to Sanctuary and didn’t realize how much of a career I’d be building. I came here when I was just 23, so I was still very young. Now, I’m actually starting to plan out a future, and being in the cannabis industry really helps me do that.

What were some of the biggest adjustments coming over from the food service industry?

You have to think on your feet. Speaking for myself, I’m big into glass art; cannabis and art just go hand in hand. I really like that in the cannabis industry. Being able to talk about glass art and talk about the artists, you’re able to incorporate those all together. That’s really where my passion comes from. Yes, I love cannabis, its benefits and being a consumer, but being able to combine the two together is great. I want people to know that there is more than just smoking; there’s artwork that goes with cannabis, there’s medicinal benefits and there’s also the recreational piece.

The biggest thing for me was realizing I can talk to my teammates about cannabis. It doesn’t have to be so hidden anymore. The majority of my last staff used and talked about it, but you couldn’t really be open about it or talk about what you did outside of work.

Once you joined Sanctuary, how did you progress up to the GM position in Gardner?

I started off just as a regular hourly associate and was able to work my way up. I started in February 2019 and began learning the industry, regulations and where it’s going. About seven months after that, I was able to step up and become one of the managers at the location. That’s really where everything started to pick up. 

From there, it was just showing up and doing what you do every day, and the rest came together. The industry is so new that we’re showing up and learning how to do it, but also how to be better while coming up with new systems and protocols as well as a better sense for what works and what doesn’t.

What do you enjoy the most about working at Sanctuary?

It’s really just having a job and a career. You wake up in the morning sometimes like, “Man, I got to go to work.” Once that first split second goes by, it makes me realize, “I’m going to work and I have one of the best jobs ever.”

Recently, we just hired a whole new team of about 12 members, and every single one of them is awesome. We have an all-star team, and just watching all these people we pulled out of the application group coming together and building those relationships and friendships is just awesome to see. Being the GM means I’m able to witness all of that from a step back, and it’s just great.

Beyond that, the biggest thing for me is, when I was younger, running a dispensary was all I really wanted to do. Actually knowing that I’m here, I’m doing it–it’s a great feeling.

How has working in cannabis helped mold you as a young professional?

When I was at Dunkin’ Donuts, there were so many stories. They just hire a manager, you go in, do your thing and move to another store in three months. Being at Sanctuary helps my professional career because I’m building relationships with people. I’m sending out emails to corporate and talking with different merchandisers and companies all over. I get to feel like I’m in a professional career or setting; it doesn’t feel like just another job. 

What has you most excited for the future, both in this role and in the industry?

When I was 16 or so, all I wanted to do was run a dispensary. I thought I had to move across the country to do that–move out to California, leave everything, open up a dispensary. What has me very excited is how close to home everything is coming. I’m from Winchendon, a very small town, and we have a dispensary being put in. Seeing how fast everything is evolving and how close to home it’s coming really has me excited, especially to see what we can do in the future. We’re still so new to it and we’re seeing so many positive changes. What can we do 15, 20 years down the line? 

Any favorite Sanctuary products?

I am cuckoo for concentrates! The Blueberry Headband Crumble is my favorite; if it’s here, I’m going with it. It’s so clear-headed, it looks beautiful, presents great–it’s such a good one. 

And finally, for Spooky Season, what was the Halloween movie that unsettled you the most as a kid?

There was this one movie that never really scared me, but it always gave me goosebumps. It was called The Babadook. It just got to me in a weird way; there’s a single mother that has a kid that sees this monster thing, but no one else can see it and he’s always freaking out. I don’t know if it’s a book or not but that would be the one.