Westland Tool and Die Shop Transitions to Cannabis to Revive Family Business

May 13th, 2024 Business & Industry
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A long-standing tool and die shop in Westland, Michigan, is pivoting to the cannabis industry to breathe new life into its business. R&A Tool and Engineering, located at 39127 Ford Road, is planning to establish a cannabis microbusiness on its premises, named Ancient Herbs.

The Westland City Council previously greenlit the initiative last summer, and now, owner Greg Raymond is pursuing special land use approval to operationalize the microbusiness. This move was supported by the city's planning commission, which recently recommended approval during their meeting on May 7th.

Raymond expressed his commitment to the new venture, saying, "I'm going to do my best to make this a win-win situation for the city and for my employees. I understand the responsibility that comes with a license, and I'm willing to take that on." He sees the introduction of the cannabis microbusiness not only as a strategic shift but as a way to sustain a property that has belonged to his family since 1968.

Cannabis microbusinesses are unique in that they are allowed to cultivate up to 150 plants on-site, and can also process and sell their products directly to consumers from the same location. This model supports a more distinctive product offering due to its independent operation.

The proposed business would mark the second cannabis microbusiness in Westland, a city that anticipates a notable increase in tax revenue from such establishments over the next six years.

Despite the change in business focus, Raymond plans to continue operating the tool and die shop as long as feasible, though he acknowledges it will eventually close. The industry has faced challenges, particularly as many manufacturing jobs have moved overseas. "We're just trying to play the cards we were dealt," Raymond commented on the economic shifts.

The addition of the cannabis microbusiness is expected to create approximately 30 new jobs, contributing to local employment and economic diversity.

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