Work has begun as Waukegan cannabis dispensaries prepare to … – Chicago Tribune

A storefront and a onetime bank building a half-mile apart on opposite sides of the Fountain Square shopping center are under renovation to become Waukegan’s first two cannabis dispensaries.

Ivy Hall hopes to open its dispensary at 960 Waukegan Road in a few weeks, while Planet 13 intends to begin operating a larger one at 4000 Northpoint Blvd. over the summer.

Workers were painting the interior of Ivy Hall’s 4,600-square-foot shop Wednesday after receiving a building permit from the city of Waukegan on Nov. 29. Fixtures did not appear to be installed as the interior begins to take shape.

Planet 13 recently acquired the former bank building where it will open its 15,000-square-foot dispensary. Frank Cowan, the company’s director of Illinois operations, said renovations began quickly to turn a onetime financial institution into an upscale dispensary.

“We’ve started our demolition of the inside, and we hope to open this summer,” Cowan said. “We already have billboards up on the highway.”

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the Ivy Hall cannabis dispensary in Waukegan scheduled to open in a few weeks.

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the Ivy Hall cannabis dispensary in Waukegan scheduled to open in a few weeks. (Steve Sadin / Lake County News-Sun)

Since Ivy Hall received its conditional use permit from the city over a year ago, and Planet 13 got the approval of the City Council in December, both companies have undergone changes.

Labeling itself the “sensory dispensary,” according to its website, Ivy Hall attempts to distinguish itself from other cannabis operations in Illinois through its environment and customer service.

“We’re a sensory dispensary set in a comforting neighborhood boutique environment,” Omar Delgado, the company’s director of retail, said in an email. “A key differentiator for the Ivy Hall brand is a robust rewards program that unlocks discounts, events and experiences.”

Waukegan will be the third location in Illinois for Ivy Hall. Delgado said it already has shops in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago and in Crystal Lake. It hopes to open 10 locations throughout the state.

Cowan, who was originally the 51% owner of Planet 13′s Illinois subsidiary, sold his interest to the publicly traded parent corporation on Feb. 7 to comply with federal securities regulations. He said unless the parent company owned the subsidiary, it could not include its revenue in its financial reporting.

Already operating dispensaries in Nevada and California, Waukegan will be Planet 13′s first Illinois venture. David Farris, Planet 13′s vice president of sales and marketing, said the company is not concerned about Ivy Hall opening so close. There is room for both, he said.

“We look at traffic,” Farris said. “We’ve looked at a lot of traffic studies and know there is a lot of traffic in the area. The future casino will bring a lot more,” he added, referring to American Place’s temporary casino.

Nearby competition is not a concern for Ivy Hall either. Delgado said the location fits the profile because the market in Illinois continues to grow and many parts, including the Waukegan area, are underserved.

“Ivy Hall looks for markets that are underserved and don’t have safe, convenient access to cannabis,” Delgado said. “The industry continues to have dispensaries open in underserved markets. We will see the overall market expand.”

When Ivy Hall opens, it will be the closest cannabis dispensary to Wisconsin, where the sale of recreational marijuana remains illegal. Planet 13 gains the distinction by less than a half-mile when it begins operations.

“That was a huge part of our decision,” Farris said. “We see a lot of untapped potential in Wisconsin.”

Currently Lake County cannabis dispensaries are located in Mundelein, Highwood, Highland Park, Buffalo Grove and Wauconda.

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via rk2’s favorite articles on Inoreader

February 15, 2023 at 11:02AM

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