Trailblazers: Ratu’s Cannabis Supply Brings Island Vibes to Wilmington

Jennifer Betit-Engel, left, and Christian Engel, right, founders of Ratu's Cannabis Supply in Wilmington, Vermont.
Rebecca White 5 Apr 2023

“We knew adamantly that this was a passion. Not just a moneymaker,” Co-Owner Jennifer Betit-Engel said of Ratu’s Cannabis Supply, a friendly southern Vermont dispensary with island vibes and Green Mountain sensibilities.

Ratu’s Cannabis Supply is a fully state-licensed retail store in Wilmington, focused on quality, small-batch products, education and providing a safe space for adult cannabis consumers.

Christian Engel, left, and Jennifer Betit-Engel, right, founders of Ratu’s Cannabis Supply, pose for a quick photo with Shane McFarlin, center founder of Old Growth Vermont, at the Ratu’s store in Wilmington. Courtesy Photo.

“It’s really something that we believe in, and we want people to feel relief,” Betit-Engel added. She mentioned customers who slept through the night for the first time in months or finally felt relief from anxiety after purchasing products from the store.

Owning a cannabis supply store had been Christian Engel’s plan since CBD became federally legal, and he opened up a section of their already established liquor store, Ratu’s Liquor and Market, to sell high-quality CBD products. Engel and Betit-Engel took the opportunity to purchase the building next door, and it served as an apparel and skate shop until they were able to start planning for a dispensary.

In December of last year, Ratu’s Cannabis Supply opened its doors after becoming officially licensed to sell Vermont cannabis products. Within the past three months, the store has focused on building relationships with local growers and wholesalers while offering a variety of products for their customers. They’ve worked with around 35 growers and produced around 46 strains.

“It’s really something that we believe in, and we want people to feel relief.” — Founder Jennifer Betit-Engel, Ratu’s Cannabis Supply

“It’s really been pretty awesome to see all the different varieties and tiers of flower that’s coming down the pipeline,” Ratu’s store manager Alex Rioux said.

The mood-lit, island-theme store, Engel said, is inspired by growing up on the islands and is a different experience for his customers. Customers can buy non-cannabis items in the front of the store or walk into a separate space where cannabis products are sold deli-style.

In its three months of business, the cannabis supply has established a great rapport within the community and a flow of regular customers.

“It just makes it that much more of a drive to make sure we always have quality, top-shelf Vermont products,” Engel said. Having owned a liquor store for the last ten years, Engel and Betit-Engel have extensive knowledge of compliance, along with what the community is looking for.

“A big part of our thing is pricing to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to purchase Vermont cannabis, and not just a certain pay grade.” — Founder Christian Engel, Ratu’s

Surf shop vibes meet Vermont sensibilities at Ratu’s Cannabis Supply, a dispensary in Wilmington, Vermont. Courtesy Photo.

“A big part of our thing is pricing to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to purchase Vermont cannabis, and not just a certain pay grade,” Engel said. The store offers amounts as small as half a gram and discounts for locals, Veterans, and people with medical cards.

Along with being affordable, the store strives to inform customers about the farmers and growers behind the products they sell. Social equity and economic empowerment are important to Ratu’s, and whenever possible, they stick to working with small, local businesses.

Ratu’s is looking forward to keeping its menu full and being even more influential within the community.

“For us, it’s a lot more about the culture and not about profit,” Betit-Engel said. “We feel like we’re impacting people in a good way, and it just feels wonderful.”

Thanks for reading! 🙏🏽

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