ORLEANS — Orleans demographics may skew gray, the average resident’s age is 61.9, but that doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm of would-be marijuana entrepreneurs looking to set up shop here.
The town has two retail licenses available and there was no shortage of businesses willing to put up the $10,000 application fee.
“We had five respondents,” Town administrator John Kelly told the Orleans Select Board . “After staff review all five met the qualifications for the next step.”
A series of outreach forums for public response were set for the week of April 26 to 30, via Zoom.
“Following that the next step by all of them is to appear before the select board, on May 17 and 18. We’ll set up times,” Kelly said. “You will have a scorecard with all the requirements to be met and you can rank them one to five The board will select the top two and then have an alternate. The decision will be made May 26, and then we’ll start to negotiate community agreements.”
Some applicants are local and some less so, and what follows is a preview of the five.
Bwell Holdings Inc. has operated a retail shop on Commercial Street in Provincetown “flawlessly” since Sept. 4, according to their filing. They also hold a license for a product production facility at 45 Court Street in Provincetown that they expect to open by September.
The retail shop in Orleans would be at 29 West Road, currently the home of West Branch Capital, almost across the street from the Hog Island Brewery.
Bwell is certified as woman- and veteran-owned and has expedited status by the Cannabis Control Commission. Karen Nash, Kimberly Premny, Judy Mencher and Jack Hudson are the owners. Premny has owned the Beacon Room restaurant in Orleans at 23 West Road since 1999, next door to the proposed shop.
Mencher is a hedge fund manager. Hudson founded a dispensary in Quincy and Nash is BWell’s founder and CEO, and also founded Sniff Snout, a pet care business. Mencher and Nash have provided the funding, and the success of the Provincetown enterprise has allowed them to purchase 29 West Road. BWell has a $1 million credit line with Mencher.
“Provincetown’s been great,” Nash reflected. “We’re competing with the big guy; Curaleaf but we’ve had a great reception in town and people are happy with it. We’re happy to be open after three years.”
They will not seek a cultivation or manufacturing license from Orleans. If the state permits medical sales, “without vertical integration we would be thrilled to offer medical use marijuana at that time.”
“We have to buy from a lot of big wholesalers but as we’re woman and vet owned we try to buy from micro businesses and minorities and veteran’s businesses,” Nash said. “We support that. We’re a small and locally owned business.”
In their filing Bwell said they hoped to be open in Orleans by December if awarded a host community agreement.
Nash isn’t concerned that Orleans has fewer millennials than Provincetown.
“I think it’s a different market,” she said. “It’s more year round compared to the Provincetown store. I think it’s two different communities. People go to Provincetown for a day trip. People who go to the Orleans store will also go to Eastham, Wellfleet and also take a trip to Provincetown.”
BWell will pay 3 percent of sales to Orleans and will negotiate an impact fee. They’ll also donate 1 percent of sales to local charities and they have fulfilled their requirements in Provincetown.
The office building is 1,398 square feet, on a .46 acre lot and they plan no expansion. The shop would be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. They plan to replicate the design and feel of their Provincetown shop and noted that a couple select board members visited the Provincetown outlet. There are 10 parking spaces at present and that would be sufficient. They do plan to add a second driveway.
Bwell expects to hire locally.
“Here in Provincetown everybody is 90 percent (living) in Provincetown,” Nash explained. “We have one manager from Eastham and she will go to the Orleans store. We want to do business in town. I was in Boston and sold everything in Boston and moved here. There’s such a need for year round jobs where people would be able to support themselves. Between production and retail in Provincetown we have 40 jobs and in Orleans we’d have 15 to 20 with health and dental and paid time off.”
The proposed shop is in the limited business zone and the shop will need a special permit.
“We do have a provisional license for production where we hope to be producing gummies and chocolates and products like that, high quality chocolates and vegan sugar free gummies,” Nash said.
Those would be available at the Orleans shop.
They had looked at the 5 Namskaket Rd. location (where The Cape Codder newsroom is located) but passed. Strain LLC. Is proposing to operate a retail shop at that location.
Strain LLC is based in Mattapan. Five Namskaket Road is The Cape Codder building, although the newspaper sold it to Peter Kimball several years ago. The paper now leases the front office.
The Strain would open their shop in what was the Fitness Revolution gym that once housed the paper’s printing press. They expect it will cost $1 million in renovations and permits.
The gym closed last year.
Dune Wellness would locate their shop at 2 Bog Hollow Road, where a plumbing supply business is located. They would renovate the building at a cost of about $300,000 into a 3,200 square foot shop. They’ll have 20 parking spaces.
Bog Hollow Road is accessible by Bay Ridge Lane off Route 6A.
Dune Wellness was founded by Alex, Tim and Demetra Jamoulis of Harwich, and Mark Schupara and Dan Lawless, and incorporated on March 15. CEO Alex Jamoulis will open the medical and adult use Emerald Grove shop in Eastham this year and has a provisional license for product manufacturing in Middleboro under the emerald Grove name that will supply the store.
They also expect to begin cultivation operations in Middleboro in a 5,000 square foot facility next year in time for the anticipated opening in Orleans . He and Tim own several liquor stores on Cape Cod including South Chatham Liquors and Moonshine Liquors in Harwich.
Ember Gardens proposes to operate its store at 41 Route 6A, roughly across from the Birdwatcher’s General Store.
Its executive teams consists of off-Cape people: Shane Hyde, George Friedlander, Dan Gillan, Aaron Washington and Matt Griffin. Its local partners are Don Delaney, owner of Delaney Builders, in Orleans, and Mary Ann Tagliaferri and husband Fred Fulcher. Tagliaferri and Fulcher own the property.
The retailer’s cultivation site would be off-Cape.
Ember Gardens envisions opening in Orleans in May 2022, in the 1,400 square foot building.
Seaside Joint Ventures
Seaside’s principals include at least two familiar names: Dave Currier, the former Orleans selectman, and A.J. Luke, owner of the Luke’s package stores – six across the Cape.
Others listed as principals are Adam Higgins and Tim McNamara.
It proposes to open a retail location at 14 Lots Hollow Road, in a leased, 8,400 square foot building. The first floor would house the store and the basement would be used for wholesale packaging and production. The site has 41 parking spaces.
Seaside plans to operate its retail store from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. It hopes to open next winter.