COVID-19 delays opening of Abington’s first retail pot shop
Abington’s first retail marijuana shop won’t open until early next spring due to COVID-19-related delays, the store’s top executive said Thursday.
Alex Mazin originally hoped the store, which will be called Bud’s Goods and Provisions and located at 1540 Bedford Street, would open this fall. However, a global pandemic hit.
“COVID threw a wrench in everything,” said Mazin, who serves as the company’s president and CEO. “It set us back about three months on everything.”
Abington Town Meeting in 2018 voted to allow two recreational marijuana retail shops in town. Selectmen approved the first permit for Bud’s in 2019, and the Planning Board approved the site plan in December. Selectmen in 2019 also approved a permit for Green Harbor Dispensary, which would be sited at 1430 Bedford Street. Plans for that shop, which involve tearing down and rebuilding part of the existing building, is still being reviewed by the Planning Board.
Mazin said he is currently finalizing designs for the shop’s interior and hopes to start pulling construction permits the first week in September. He estimates it will take 16 weeks to build out the store, which will include a main retail space, a secure vault, and new security system.
“I really hope by spring 2021 we are open. I feel really good on that prediction, and potentially even sooner,” he said. “It depends on how quickly contractors can move. One challenge right now is finding contractors.”
Massachusetts’ burgeoning recreational marijuana industry has not escaped the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Recreational shops were closed for several weeks in the spring. Mazin, who is also opening a shop in Worcester, said consumers are now spending less time inside the stores, but that some are still selling $30,000 in marijuana daily.
Mazin estimated during the permitting process that the Abington location could initially make $10 million in sales annually, with that number settling around $8 million once the industry matures and new stories open up. In 2019, Town Meeting approved a 3 percent local tax on all retail marijuana sales. If Mazin hits his $8 million sales target, that would mean an extra $240,000 in tax revenue for Abington annually, on top of additional commercial and personal property taxes generated by building improvements and store equipment.
According to his permits with the town, the company has secured additional parking spaces on a piece of land next door at the foot of the large billboard. The store will also operate as appointment-only when it opens in order to prevent large traffic issues.
Mazin said the company will start looking to hire assistant managers about eight weeks out from the opening, and sales staff about three weeks out. Employment opportunities will be posted on the company’s website as well as a range of job posting boards, such as Indeed and Craigslist.