Verilife, PharmaCann’s dispensary brand, officially opened its new location in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts on Tuesday, July 28 in a socially distanced ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Verilife team members.
The Shrewsbury location is Verilife’s second adult-use retail operation in the Bay State and Pharmacann’s 27th dispensary in the country, according to the company's press release. The company expects to create 40 new jobs in the area located roughly 40 miles West of Boston.
“Our highly-trained team is excited to be part of the Shrewsbury community and serve as a resource to our customers,” Shelley Stormo, East Coast District Manager of PharmaCann, said in a statement. “We strive to provide the most diverse menu in the state and offer a consultative approach to our customers in an effort to help guide them in making an ideal selection to meet their needs.”
The Shrewsbury location (at 939 Boston Turnpike) opens after Massachusetts shut down adult-use cannabis sales in late March through May 25 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, deeming those adult-use only retailers as non-essential. To continue to protect consumers and team members from COVID-19, Verilife’s second location will only serve patients through online order pickups and by appointment. Each appointment block is 15 minutes long, according to the company’s website.
“During discussions with the town of Shrewsbury, they felt most comfortable having an appointment-only system for the first two weeks,” Stormo told Cannabis Dispensary in an interview. “We launched our own system called Click-and-Collect for folks to actually place an order online and then set a reservation time” for in-store pickups. This system helps space out customers throughout the day to reduce the odds of customers congregating in the lobby or outside. Stickers spaced 6 feet apart outside the store also mark where customers can safely stand and wait their turn, she explained.
For customers, especially new patients or first-time consumers who need some education before making a purchase, Verilife hired a customer outreach representative whose sole job it is to provide telephone consultations and help customers navigate Verilife’s product offerings.
“Everyone has to adapt and change how they do things in this environment,” Stormo said, adding that “people seem more comfortable having the longer conversations over the phone,” than in-store.
As the company creates its roots in the community, Stormo said Verilife Shrewsbury is going to be supporting local non-profits and organizations. “We've already made a few connections with some nonprofits in that area, and we'll be providing some education and resources whenever requested,” Stormo said.
Since Massachusetts legalized adult-use cannabis sales in 2018, the CCC has awarded 222 retail licenses, 167 cultivator licenses, 132 manufacturer licenses, and 13 microbusiness licenses (as of July 30, 2020). The CCC also is reviewing 105 retail license applications, including five that qualify for the state’s economic empowerment status (also as of July 30, 2020).