Cultivate is planning to open its third recreational cannabis store on Tuesday, a shop in Worcester that will debut with more than 40 strains of the plant available for customers.
In 2018, Cultivate made history as one of the first two adult-use cannabis stores to open on the East Coast. The company’s newest location is at 1023 Southbridge St. in Worcester, where customers step into an open and airy retail space flanked by a moss-covered wall. Doors will open at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Cultivate first opened in Leicester. Then last year, the company opened its second store, located in Framingham. Both of those shops are co-located with adult-use and medical cannabis, but the Worcester store is adult-use only. Cultivate also has a grow and production facility in Uxbridge.
Store manager Rhyader Cookman said customers on Tuesday will be able to select from more than 40 strains that are testing above 20% THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. The first 100 people into the store Tuesday can get a T-shirt that says “Cultivate loves Worcester” and there will be a raffle for a vaporizer for concentrates.
Because of the pandemic, the store was designed with physical distancing in mind. There’s space between each checkout station, which helps to minimize the need for plexiglass, Cookman said. Other cannabis shops that were open before COVID-19 changed daily life had to adapt to new safety protocols around spacing and sanitation.
“Just with the size of this room, we’re really able to space people out,” Cookman said. “It was definitely in mind going into the design here.”
Rather than spread out locations across the state, Cultivate decided to focus on Central Massachusetts. Worcester presents a location central to Framingham and Leicester.
“We have a lot of customers that travel great distances to come to either Framingham or Leicester and we’ve noticed a lot of them are coming from the Worcester area so it made a lot more sense to really focus on Worcester,” Cookman said.
Around 6:45 a.m. Monday, a man riding a bicycle stopped by the front doors wondering when the shop would open. There’s also been foot traffic from people curious about the store, Cookman said.
“Just seeing the outpouring from the community already has been so supportive and we just can’t wait to serve the city of Worcester,” Cookman said.
The new Worcester store will have restrictions in place, similar to the Leicester and Framingham locations, including a limit on the number of customers allowed in the store at one time. Customers must make a reservation, wear a mask and have a temperature check to get inside.
“We are thrilled to be opening in the great city of Worcester,” said Sam Barber, the founder and CEO of Cultivate. “We look forward to bringing jobs, economic activity and revenue to the area and contribute positively to this vibrant and thriving community.”
Cultivate is starting with 35 staff members at the store, Cookman said, and the majority of those workers live in the city.
The shop is in a 3,100 square foot space in a new commercial building and designed by Kripper Studio, the architecture and design firm which adapted an existing building for Cultivate’s Framingham store. Of the 3,100-square-feet, 90% is sales floor, Cookman said.
“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Cultivate to design their new dispensary,” said architect Amir Kripper, the founding principal of Kripper Studio. “Creating a new retail destination for an expanding brand was especially rewarding because our design ideas could contribute to the customer experience which is already distinguishing Cultivate.”
The Worcester store will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.
In March, Cultivate announced that it planned to merge with Cresco Labs, a Chicago-based multi-state, vertically integrated cannabis operator. The agreement was signed last month.