By Jack Shea Staff Writer, The Daily News, Jul 2, 2020
Jack Shea/Staff Photo: Spencer Kalker, owner of Cape Ann Cannabis in Rowley, and Samantha Kravitz, a shop employee.
ROWLEY — The North Shore’s two newest adult use cannabis shops have opened just down the road from each other, offering a variety of THC-infused products.
Cape Ann Cannabis, in the Rowley Crossing Plaza at 300 Newburyport Turnpike, opened its doors June 19. At 117 Newburyport Turnpike, Fine Fettle Dispensary opened for business June 22.
Cape Ann Cannabis is the first marijuana storefront owned by Spencer Kalker, who also owns Cape Ann Botanicals in downtown Newburyport and Old Planters of Cape Ann in Ipswich.
Both of Kalker’s other shops specialize in CBD-infused products that do not contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis.
Cape Ann Cannabis, on the other hand, offers customers a variety of ways to get high, with a menu of 60 cannabis strains and 135 products that include cannabis flower, prerolled joints, vape cartridges, edibles, tinctures and topical products.
In 2018, Kalker’s business was at odds with another Rowley Crossing Plaza tenant while Cape Ann was undergoing its local approval process. The shop’s upstairs neighbor, Northeast Counseling Associates, expressed worry that having a marijuana shop downstairs could disrupt its practice, which often serves people and families dealing with substance abuse and addiction.
But once Kalker got the go-ahead to open up his shop, he said he was able to work things out with his neighbors.
“We pay rent, so we get to use the space as long as we do it legally and there’s no issue,” he said.
Kalker said the store’s opening was delayed by about two and a half months after final government approval was put on hold because of COVID-19.
A steady stream of business since the shop’s opening has made it worth the wait, he said. And because of its curbside pickup and online ordering system, there haven’t been the long lines experienced by some of the first cannabis retail shops that opened in Massachusetts.
Noting that his three shops are working as a unit, Kalker said the company is offering consultations with its cannabis nurse via Zoom and inside its Cape Ann Botanicals stores so customers can learn more about their THC products.
“The Cape Ann Botanicals store is really the entry space for anyone who is interested in the cannabis plant,” Kalker said. “You can go in and not have to deal with a line and have a consultation with our nurse, whereas here (at Cape Ann Cannabis) it’s more transactional.”
“Together, (both stores) can work as a team to meet the public’s needs,” he added. “There are people who don’t want to have products that are intoxicating, and there are people that do want to have products that are intoxicating. We really want to look at the cannabis plant and cover both sides of it.”