Youri is (co-)owner of coffeeshop Balou in Amsterdam; and for over 20 years manager of the biggest shop in the world: Prix D’Ami in the heart of downtown. In S03E05 of The High Cloud podcast, he talks in song about how the cannabis scene has changed in recent decades, the differences between a small and mega-shop and wonderful stories about working in the cannabis industry.
Youri of Balou and Prix D’Ami
More than 20 years ago, Youri Florijn started behind the bar at Prix D’Ami. He was a hospitality man by trade, but as a smoker, he really liked working in the coffeeshop. He went through 3 renovations there and saw the joint transformed from an old-fashioned shop with both weed and alcohol. To a modern lounge without alcoholic beverages. ‘Been a good choice,’ Youri says of it. Because you have more trouble from drinkers than from smokers.
He worked his way up to manager there and provided much input into improving the store. A trend that the enthusiast enjoys continuing, because Youri’s passion for the craft shines through. Perhaps that is why the hard worker also got the chance to become (co-)owner of Coffeeshop Balou. A challenge he recently accepted with both hands. And where he runs a very different store with the same mentality.
Coffeeshop Balou Amsterdam
At Balou, you’ll find some of the topshelf you’ll also find on the Prix D’Ami menu. But also some unique products. All fairly labeled with clear provenance, from Dutch, Canadian and weed from the US. You’ll find something tasteful in every price range. Youri is a true enthusiast and therefore tests all the products himself. He also offers an impressive selection of pre-rolled joints. From your regular sticks to rockets adorned with oil and kief that will get you attention at every sesh.
Finally, Balou is one of the (still) few shops in the Netherlands that offers extracts. Featuring a super selection from our friends at Black Cats Dead Rats. Which we also dabbed on podcast S03E04 with Maurice! In addition to other delicious stuff from the likes of Pressure Labz. A brand that pays close attention to packaging. Something Youri also likes to pay some extra attention to. That’s why, for example, he offers his menu in Re:Stash jars for extra freshness and impressive presentation.
Large vs. small coffeeshop
The differences are huge between Prix, the largest coffeeshop in the world; and Balou. A small neighborhood shop between the Amstel and Rembrandtplein. From customer type to product throughput, the contrast is obvious. Although some things always remain the same: hospitality, good products and hygiene. Because that is hugely important to Youri. Whether it’s the mega lunch menu of the industrial kitchen at the Prix D’Ami – with 25,000 milkshakes sold per week. Or to the 6 special teas that Youri himself selected for Balou. The same amount of attention goes into everything.
Changes in 20 years of coffeeshop
Youri is a true tradesman who has been around long enough to have experienced all kinds of things. From the elimination of alcohol from coffeeshops to the introduction of tobacco laws. He had to put up with it all. Fortunately, the coffeeshop boss has an adaptability that would make a chameleon jealous; and no longer shies away from a challenge. For example, he tells Uncle Kush that a lot had to be kneaded at Prix over the past few decades; but now there is only “keeping up” to secure a good atmosphere.
Enjoy the colorful stories of the good-humored Youri of Coffeeshop Balou in S03E05 of THC Podcast with Uncle Kush: