The Gas Station Set to Open as Wayland's Latest Cannabis Retailer

May 15th, 2024 Business & Industry
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Jarred Biggs and Dennis Weiss, the business duo behind Middleville's inaugural cannabis dispensary, are expanding their footprint with a new venture, The Gas Station, slated to open next month in Wayland, Michigan. The new dispensary is located at 1124 W. Superior St., strategically positioned less than half a mile east of the U.S. 131 interchange.

Biggs, who has familial ties to the area, selected the Wayland location for its proximity to Gun Lake Casino, approximately 4 miles south. The casino is currently undergoing significant renovations and a $300 million expansion that includes a new 252-room hotel, spa, pools, and a restaurant. This development influenced Biggs' decision, as he aims to capitalize on the regional growth.

"The current developments are an opportunity we couldn't overlook," Biggs remarked. He, along with Weiss and their partners from Grand Rapids, entrepreneurs Jonathan Jelks and Willie Jackson, have previously collaborated on The Botanical Co., which opened in Middleville in October 2023.

Both The Botanical Co. and The Gas Station have been constructed with the expertise of Grand Rapids-based CopperRock Construction Inc., each project representing an investment of $1.6 million. While The Gas Station will resemble The Botanical Co. in design and operation, it will be slightly smaller in scale.

Beyond Wayland, the team is planning to expand further, aiming to establish five to six more stores across Michigan, with aspirations to venture into other states. All future outlets will operate under The Gas Station brand. According to Biggs, the focus will soon shift towards Grand Rapids for their next opening.

Biggs noted a distinct lack of local ownership in West Michigan's cannabis market, with many operators and growers based elsewhere in the state. This gap presents a strategic advantage for his group, emphasizing local ties and commitments.

Their strategy includes not just retail but also cultivation, with Biggs spearheading the opening of a 2,000-plant grow facility, Bigg Canna, in Edmore in fall 2023. Additionally, he launched the cannabis brand "Pablo" and is developing a second, larger Class C grow facility in Manistee.

"This vertical integration is crucial for our growth. It not only allows us to control product quality across our locations but also helps in securing shelf space in other dispensaries," explained Biggs.

Their arrival in Wayland marks a new chapter, as the city already hosts established cannabis retailers, unlike Middleville, which was a new market for the industry. This situation requires a more calculated approach to marketing and customer service, as Biggs acknowledged the need for a competitive edge.

Jelks, who has a diverse background in the beverage and bar industry, finds the partnership with Biggs beneficial, leveraging his deep understanding of the cannabis sector. "Our combined efforts, particularly in innovative marketing strategies, set us up for positive momentum," Jelks commented.

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