Sam Linsk came to her job as a budtender at The Tufted Puffin in Seward with personal knowledge of cannabis, a background in sales and a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation and human services with a minor in psychology.
Being a people person is her nature. Her strategy is simple. She listens.
The 27-year-old was named top budtender of 2021 by readers of Alaska Cannabist magazine.
She is originally from New Jersey and moved to Seward in 2019 after working summer jobs there in tourism and deciding that she wanted to be in Alaska year round.
“I love it here,” she said.
She drove up from California, where she had been working as a nanny, in February of 2019.
Linsk quickly worked her way up from budtender to store manager.
“It’s a small store. There are not that many employees,” she said.
Linsk has worked a variety of jobs that involved helping people, including in a preschool and at an adult camp for the blind. She’s waited tables and sold boat tours.
The cannabis industry drew Linsk in part because she partakes and because she was interested in trying out a new industry. It felt a little risky but Linsk didn’t mind.
“It’s always scary but I think it did come to me pretty naturally just because I love the product,” she said.
One of her goals as a budtender is to make people feel welcome when they come to her store.
“Every day, I have somebody come up to the door who says ‘I have never been to a place like this.’”
When that happens, Linsk likes to offer a little tour of the store and answer questions.
“I think if you just listen to the people, you end up getting exactly where you need to be,” she said.