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Cannabis goes upscale

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2019

* Tribune

Cresco Labs is renovating its 56 marijuana dispensaries around the country, including five in Illinois, and reopening them under a single brand name: Sunnyside.

The dispensaries will be welcoming and bright and will create room for customers to learn about the products, said Joe Caltabiano, president and co-founder of the Chicago-based cannabis company. There will be light wood tones and sunflower-colored accents.

The idea is to make the marijuana purchasing experience more inviting and warm — that’s where the name Sunnyside came from, Caltabiano said. Marijuana retail locations often have opened in industrial areas instead of more highly trafficked retail corridors, he said.

“We want this store to fit in the retail corridors that exist within the city of Chicago and the surrounding areas,” he said. “As you’re walking down the street and seeing the new retail stores pop up and the new retail concepts that come, you can kind of figure out where those stores typically go. We don’t want this to be different.”

* Artist renderings

* Sun-Times

“Sunnyside wants to feel more like a national wellness chain than a dispensary. Think of a Whole Foods or Sephora … but for cannabis. It’s the new generation of cannabis shopping,” the company said in a statement announcing the change.

“For far too long, I think cannabis has been relegated to the industrial corridors and the parts of cities where traditional commerce does not exist,” Joe Caltabiano, Cresco’s co-founder and president, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “So we’re excited to have cannabis be in the center of the commerce parts of the city where consumers go to buy coffee and where consumers go to buy their retail products.”

In addition to the makeup retailer Sephora, Caltabiano also cited the Apple Store as providing design inspiration, noting that both chains offer customers an inviting environment to learn about products. The first Sunnyside dispensary is slated to open in November in Philadelphia, and additional storefronts will follow in Illinois, Florida, Ohio, Arizona, Massachusetts and Michigan.

That’s a really good idea and I hope other companies follow suit. It’s past time to remove the stigma from this product. Get them off the back streets and out of the industrial corridors.

* More

A public notice appeared recently in the window of John Barleycorn tavern in the Wrigleyville neighborhood — less than half a mile from MedMar Lakeview — noting that a Cresco-owned venture intended to “establish a medical cannabis dispensary” there. The move would require zoning approval.

Chicago-based Cresco has been looking to move the dispensary to a larger spot to accommodate growing patient count and demand for medical marijuana, said spokesman Jason Erkes.

* And

A bill signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker this summer makes recreational marijuana use legal in Illinois starting Jan. 1, and sets the stage for existing medical dispensaries to expand their physical presence. The 55 medical dispensaries currently operating in in Illinois can apply to sell recreational marijuana at their stores. They also can open a second dispensary.

One opportunity being eyed on the Mag Mile, according to real estate sources, is the former Apple store at 679 N. Michigan Ave.

The space is controlled by Chicago-based Water Tower Realty, a small, local real estate investor, through a long-term ground lease. The multi-level, 30,000-square-foot space has been vacant since Apple moved its Mag Mile flagship south to a new building along the Chicago River in October 2017. […]

Many property owners are rolling out the welcome mat, viewing cannabis as a fast-growing retail concept, said Dan Molnar, a broker at Baum Realty Group who is representing marijuana company Cresco Labs in retail leases in the Chicago area and other cities.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

32 Comments »
  1. - CT Resident - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    I can’t be the only one screaming Apple Store at these renderings…


  2. - SpfdNewb - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 11:17 am:

    -I can’t be the only one screaming Apple Store at these renderings…- Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.


  3. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 11:19 am:

    To me it looks a lot like the Sun Times’ branding - the word “Sun”, the font for Here Comes the Sun, and the 8 point star evokes the Chicago 6 point star


  4. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 11:21 am:

    Very inviting design, however I’m not sure it will work on the Mag Mile. There have been a number of smash and grab burglaries in the area over the years, and you’d have to think a cannabis business would be a target for that. Might want a more reinforced storefront.


  5. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    Awesome. A sunnier day is approaching, when adults can legally buy marijuana. Great to see it going mainstream.

    Cresco/Sunnyside is supposed to hire more, which is great—and hopefully union jobs, too.

    Many years ago there was Sunnyside Records in Chicago, and they used to sell paraphernalia.


  6. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 11:40 am:

    “Think of a Whole Foods or Sephora … but for cannabis.”

    To be honest, I’m more of a Jewel-Osco kinda guy.

    – MrJM


  7. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 11:43 am:

    I wonder what this picture of a BigCannaBiz business looks like from a prison cell…?…viewed by a prisoner…in prison for selling cannabis.


  8. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 11:50 am:

    Rich White Men selling cannabis in Illinois = Big Business Heroes

    Poor Black, Brown, White people selling cannabis in Illinois = Convicts doing Big Time in The Big house.

    Rich = Legal

    Poor = Illegal


  9. - Siriusly - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 12:00 pm:

    Chicago-based Cresco has been looking to move the dispensary to a larger spot to accommodate growing patient count and demand for medical marijuana, said spokesman Jason Erkes.

    Aka the former spokesman for former foir time gubernatorial candidate, former Attorney General, Former US Senator Roland Burris


  10. - SpfdNewb - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 12:02 pm:

    Dotnonymous, you do realize there is an automatic expungement process for non-violent drug convictions with possession of 30 grams or less in the law correct? Those convicted with more than 30 grams but less than 500 grams still have access to clemency but require a court petition If not, you really need to read up the details in HB1438 that was signed into law.


  11. - Winderweezle - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 12:15 pm:

    Looks like an Apple Store with a Walmart logo.


  12. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 12:16 pm:

    @- SpfdNewb -

    I’ll try and keep up with your legal knowledge…can you tell me about the people convicted of selling over 30 grams?

    The “legal” sellers are growing one half million pounds for sale…right now…You realize,eh?


  13. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    Oh, Naperville is sooo gonna want one of these now.


  14. - Ok - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    I love the name “Sunnyside” alongside the Blagojevich news…


  15. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 12:43 pm:

    It’s kinda cloudy…but the Sun is shining at my house.

    I’m illegally high…and wondering how that is even possible.


  16. - Captain Obvious - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    Upscale? With a logo they ripped off from Walmart?


  17. - Johnnie F. - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 1:42 pm:

    Looking forward to seeing some smaller and more coffee shop style local dispensaries. I expect that will happen as the law rolls out and allows additional locations. I wonder if initial recreational demand can be met with so few locations?


  18. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 1:52 pm:

    I wonder if initial recreational demand can be met with so few locations? - Johnnie F

    The Magic Eight Ball says…highly unlikely.


  19. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 2:03 pm:

    Just grow your own?…is still illegal…unless you paid the State of Illinois in order to join what appears to be a state sponsored monopoly…in that case, you may grow unlimited tons of cannabis.

    Get it?


  20. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 2:06 pm:

    There are five plants I want to grow…for me…cause I’m free?…agree?


  21. - OneMan - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    Still think TokeHut is a better name


  22. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 2:32 pm:

    - OneMan - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    Still think TokeHut is a better name

    Better rope it… and brand it.


  23. - Jibba - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 2:39 pm:

    I was thinking more like The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.


  24. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 2:40 pm:

    If not, you really need to read up the details in HB1438 that was signed into law. - - SpfdNewb -

    Please correct me where I’m in error?


  25. - Mama - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 3:00 pm:

    Is “Sunnyside” an Illinois company or out of state?


  26. - m - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 3:07 pm:

    I hope their cannabis is grown by Illinois farmers. We need a market for our crops.


  27. - Mama - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 3:08 pm:

    Change the name to the House of the Rising Sun?


  28. - Mama - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 3:24 pm:

    Who owns Sunside?


  29. - CEA - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 3:40 pm:

    “Think of a Whole Foods or Sephora … but for cannabis”

    I don’t smoke weed and I wasn’t planning on starting, but this clinches it: now I know that I can’t afford it.


  30. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 3:57 pm:

    - m - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 3:07 pm:

    I hope their cannabis is grown by Illinois farmers. We need a market for our crops.

    Current law stipulates cannabis sold in Illinois must be grown and processed in Illinois…until interstate commerce comes back into fashion?

    Think of the wine and beer markets…for comparison.


  31. - Pacman - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 7:05 am:

    “I don’t smoke weed and I wasn’t planning on starting, but this clinches it: now I know that I can’t afford it.” And this will be the problem. with fancy store fronts, expensive license and taxes, and small number of license issued, the blackmarket will continue to thrive.


  32. - Renzo - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 10:55 am:

    Challenging all cannabis companies to stop using “Apple store” in their descriptions of their retail concepts.


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