Long Island City’s first Black-owned dispensary TRENDS to open this weekend with mission of inclusivity and education

owners of TRENDS
Brandon Carter (l) and Rodney Carter (r), owners of TRENDS in LIC, with their sister Kiara Carter (c).
Photo by Monica Vie

Long Island City’s first Black-owned dispensary is opening for business on 4/20.

TRENDS, which stands for ‘The Real Experience Needs Different Stories’, is the creation of brothers Rodney (CEO) and Brandon Carter (COO). The store spans 6,000 sq. ft., making it the largest cannabis dispensary in the neighborhood.

As Queens locals, they thought Long Island was the perfect place to set up shop.

“We actually live in this community. Me and my father moved to Long Island City back in 2015, we grew up in Jamaica, Queens,” said Brandon. “[Our father has] grown to love this neighborhood. We knew this is where it had to be. This feels like Manhattan outside of Manhattan.”

The opening of the store honors Rodney and Brandon’s father, Rodney Sr., who received a marijuana conviction just about 30 years ago. Their father initially brought the opportunity to open up TRENDS to the brothers after their uncle was approached by investors.

However, after the fees increased dramatically during the application process, the investors backed out at the last minute. That’s when the brothers decided to take on the application process themselves.

The interior of TRENDS.Photo by Monica Vie

“I think in the last minute, they upped the price to 40,000 and due to that the investors dropped out, the lawyers, everybody dropped out and it was probably like a week, a week and a half left before the application deadline closed,” recalled Brandon. “We just reviewed the paperwork ourselves and said, you know, what, why don’t we just apply ourselves, put up the money ourselves and see what happens? We got the license in April 2023, and from there we have just been hitting the ground running.”

For Rodney and Brandon, taking away the stigma is incredibly important to the customer experience at TRENDS. They want to foster an environment of inclusivity and education, so customers can feel rest assured they are walking away with the best information possible with their purchases.

TRENDS offers its customers a variety of cannabis products, including pre-rolls, tinctures, edibles, vapes, and concentrates. The store also has a focus on promoting wellness with cannabis, offering cannabis products for sexual and personal health, as well as CBD options for pets.

“Being that my background is in health and wellness — I run a fitness gym in Harlem — we definitely wanted to focus on holistic wellness in our store as well, in addition to having specialty and novelty items,” said Rodney. “We like to do things differently.”

In addition to the storefront, TRENDS also has its own event space onsite and an art gallery with 10’ installations titled “Trending Through Time”, highlighting the history of cannabis. . The brothers want the store to serve as a hub for the community.

“We intend to hold all types of events, anywhere from comedy shows to fashion shows, to movie nights, elevated yoga.  We’re looking to do tea parties, a few dinner parties, our art gallery,” said Rodney. “We wanna transition into an art gallery at some point and also have like monthly installations, listening parties for different artists and book signings. So it’s a lot of different engaging immersive experiences we like to bring to the community.”

What’s important for TRENDS is not just that they are a local neighborhood cannabis shop, but also a blend of wellness, community, culture, and education.

“We’re a cultural hub community and that’s the difference between a real lifestyle brand that not only sells cannabis, but we also sell health and wellness. We also sell knowledge and information through our podcast Trends and Friends,” said Rodney. “We also sell swag, we have some amazing merch. Our merch could stand alone to be a fashion line in itself.”

TRENDS is located at 27-25 44th Dr. For more information, visit trendslic.com.