Ukrainian Immigrant Colorado Cannabis Company Opens New Store in Saginaw

Rita Tsalyuk, a Ukrainian refugee who has become a successful entrepreneur since immigrating to the United States more than 30 years ago, opened a recreational marijuana dispensary, Courtside Gardens, on Court Street in Saginaw.

Tsalyuk, the company’s CEO, and his business partner, Kirill Merkulob, are co-owners of Yuma Way, a Colorado-based cannabis company that has expanded into Michigan, with plans to establish new dispensaries in five other states across the country. over the next year, company officials said.

“Michigan is a beautiful state. Our landlords have visited us frequently and feel a connection,” said Jessica Reuven, compliance manager at Yuma Way. “He has a similar feel to Colorado.”

This is the third Yuma Way store to open in the state. It already has one in Bay City (CannaBay) and another in Kalamazoo (Urban Gardens) which is celebrating its grand opening during the same period (May 9-14) as the new Saginaw location.

Yuma Way likes to refer to Courtside Gardens as a neighbor store. It is located at 1321 Court Street, just down the road from Old Town, a historic business district of Saginaw on the west side of town.

“Customers can expect to see a wide selection of locally sourced, affordable cannabis products and will benefit from our existing location in Bay City, CannaBay,” said Reuven. “We like our small businesses to fit into the surrounding neighborhoods. We hope to take what we learned in Colorado and apply it here.

In Denver, the company opened the nation’s first social consumer lounge about four years ago and, through its advocacy work, has become a voice for cannabis regulators and government entities, according to Reuven.

“They came to see our facilities to see how we operated. We quickly became known for our advocacy work,” Reuven said. “Thanks to this recognition, we have been able to give a voice to disadvantaged people who do not necessarily have one.

Yuma Way, Reuven said, has previously been honored in this region by Saginaw Future Inc. for economic excellence.

Courtside Gardens employs 12-15 people and is on a mission to create seamless access to the healing powers of cannabis through safe, compliant, and informed retail and educational experiences.

“Our approach to making cannabis accessible to everyone is to offer a variety of products – cannabis flowers, concentrates, subjects and edibles at affordable and competitive prices,” Reuven said.

Courtside Gardens is promising drastic product cuts in the big opening week of its Saginaw store. Food trucks and giveaways are also part of the program. A portion of the sales at the inauguration will be donated to charities in Ukraine to help the refugee crisis in the war-torn country.

“Philanthropy is important to us,” Reuven said. “Yuma Way is one of the few accredited social equity accelerators in Colorado. We support a lot of activities for young people. We provide mentorship and tools for social equity enterprises.

In Yuma Way’s Colorado store, you can find many local artist’s creations for sale. This will also be the case in its Saginaw store.

“It helps beautify our stores while supporting local artisans and local businesses,” Reuven said.

Courtside Gardens, Reuven said, is much more aesthetically pleasing than the auto repair shop that once stood there.

“We totally rehabilitated the building,” she said. “It was kind of an eyesore. Our Courtside Gardens feels like an upscale retail store.

The store will be open to recreational cannabis consumers from 9 a.m. to 8:45 p.m., seven days a week.

“Our value proposition is that we offer a product for every budget and for every connoisseur,” Reuven said.

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