West Michigan entrepreneurs to open Middleville’s first dispensary

MIDDLEVILLE – Backed by a group of West Michigan business partners, The Botanical Co. opens the first adult cannabis dispensary in the village of Middleville.

The dispensary, Botanical’s fourth store at 640 Arlington St. and slated to open in early October, features a coalition of owners including Middleville residents Jarred Biggs, Dennis Weiss and Kirk Weiss, and Grand Rapids entrepreneurs Jonathan Jelks and Willie “Willie the Child” Jackson.

Copper Rock Construction Inc. completed construction of the space, which cost about $1.6 million, according to the owners.

Biggs, who led the team to open the dispensary, traces his involvement in the industry over more than a decade as a licensed caregiver and medical cannabis patient. In late 2021, he also completed construction in Edmore of a 2,000-plant cannabis cultivation facility called Bigg Canna.

At the same time, his hometown of Middleville shifted to selling cannabis for adult use, which led him to open a dispensary.

Biggs worked with Middleville Village management on its Adult Use Ordinance and was one of two retail applicants chosen. Middleville capped the number of dispensaries at two.

Owning a business in your community is “a dream come true,” according to Biggs.

“Middleville is a growing little town,” Biggs said. MiBiz. “It’s been recently in the last couple of years that the population has grown with a bunch of young families all over the place. My family owned other businesses in Middleville, so I wanted to carry on and keep our family name in Middleville.

Biggs said he was pleasantly surprised at the support he received from village leaders and the community.

“Middleville is known as a more rural, low-diversity area,” he said. “But you can see a lot of new families moving in. I’m African American and thought it was really cool that Middleville endorsed someone like me. It’s interesting how supportive the city is of someone like me, so that’s cool to see.

Biggs also has another grow facility currently under construction in Manistee and is working to launch its nationwide “Pablo” cannabis brand by early October.

Jelks, whose companies include Ambiance GR Kitchen & Living room, Sip coffee and cocktails, Spirits Motu Viget and Motu Lakeshore Wine Bar in Muskegon, was attracted to this opportunity due to Biggs’ previous experience and track record in the cannabis business.

“Jarred Biggs has an innate knowledge of the industry and understands what’s on the precipice, and what’s happening right now, and how to make one of these companies successful,” Jelks said. MiBiz. “It was compelling for us.”

Jelks said he was also interested in joining the ownership team because the dispensary is located in Middleville, which has yet to be “oversaturated” with cannabis. He also wanted to help ensure black ownership in the cannabis space, which is currently underrepresented in the industry.

“Our priority with this venture is to create opportunity for underrepresented communities that have been impacted by the use and trade of marijuana,” Jackson said in a statement. “It’s refreshing to be part of a company firmly committed to creating real change through job creation, developing the talent pipeline and improving the ‘cap table’ to foster minority ownership in this industry.”

The Botanical Co. also operates dispensaries in Lansing, Tawas and Kalkaska. The company has one of only two cannabis consumer lounges in the state next to its Kalkaska store.

Many cannabis industry leaders in Michigan consider the market to be oversaturated, as evidenced by the average retail medical flower price, which fell to $109.42 in August 2022 from $204.79 a year earlier. .

As of August 31, 1,742 recreational cannabis licensees were active statewide, which includes all uses of cannabis, including growers, event organizers and retailers.

“The market has definitely gone down,” Biggs said. “It happens in every market when it’s brand new, then all of a sudden the supply exceeds the demand. These are times when most people are afraid to do things, but if you take the risk and do it right, these are the best times to get started. Everything we do is top notch in quality and price range, I believe in the marketing and the products we offer.

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