Page 47 - BusinessWest December 12, 2022
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The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the par- ties listed, or the court, for more information concern- ing the individual claims.
Pierre Grenier and Michelle Grenier v. City of Springfield and Bernard J. Calvi personally and
in his capacity as fire commissioner of the city of Springfield
Allegation: Employment discrimination, violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, violations of employment under federal contracts, violation of Rehabilitation Act, age discrimination, veteran dis- crimination, disability discrimination, retaliation, intentional interference with employment, inten- tional interference with contractual relations, negli- gent interference with contractual rights, negligent infliction of emotional distress: $25,000
Filed: 10/14/22
Continued from page 29
become better leaders, which creates happier employees,” she told BusinessWest, adding that most all of these employees have experience in business and customer service but are new to this industry.
“We work really hard to train employees, we spend a lot of money training them, and it’s ongoing,” she went on. “We’ve been told multiple times by people from this industry, and also not from this industry, that they’ve never been to a company that invests so much in training, and they appreciate it.”
Down to an Art
While Sanders is certainly well-known within the industry and probably recognized by many she encounters (especially when she shows her ID), she still calls what she does ‘secret shopping.’
These are regular visits to dispensaries across this region and beyond, during which she is always look- ing at the product mix, the presentation, the staff, and how they interact with customers — all with an eye toward making her own operations better and her own employees ever more responsive to what clients want and need.
“I shop everybody — everybody,” she said, “so that we’re more accurate in our differentiation. I’m able to see what competitors around us are doing, and I can say, ‘that’s one business model — it’s not a bad busi- ness model, it’s just not my business model.’”
These secret shopping excursions are just a small part of a broad operating formula aimed at continu- ous improvement, setting the bar higher, and then clearing that bar.
Sanders believes Canna Provisions does all this in all aspects of its business — from product selection to presentation, but especially with how those on the floor and behind the counter interact with and effec- tively serve customers, some of whom may suffer from what she called “dispensary phobia,” and a fear of going inside.
And this is a product of all that intensive — and expansive — training that Sanders talked about earlier.
“People have to be on point because your custom- ers expect a certain level of service — they have to know the products,” she said. “It’s training and role playing and practicing and coaching on the floor — teaching them to be more aware of the people who
Christine Adams v. Jennifer Hallowell, MD; and Baystate Ob/Gyn Group
Allegation: Medical malpractice, negligence, breach of express and implied warranties: $1,050,000 Filed: 10/17/22
Eileen Roach v. Nada Kawar, MD; Ziad Kutayli, MD; and Daniel Fish, MD
Allegation: Medical malpractice, wrongful death, negligence: $300,000
Filed: 10/18/22
Scott Hall v. John Doe, Brown Packaging Inc., and Pacific Packaging Products Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall resulting in per- sonal injury: $150,000
Filed: 10/19/22
Nicolaas La Guerre-Mercury v. Justincredible Cul- tivation LLC, Reginald Stanfield II, Chetoia Walker, and Jonathan Siberon
Allegation: Money owed for services, labor, and
are in front of them.
“This is not a cheap spend, “she went on. “Our
average ticket here in Holyoke is close to 100 bucks a pop. When I’m spending $100 or $200 at a location, I do have a bit of expectation to be treated well.”
Overall, she likened the cannabis-buying experi- ence, at least at her dispensaries, to jewelry shopping in many respects, from the high cost of the products to the way that many customers need guidance, or education, on what they’re buying.
Overall, Sanders believes she and Williams have created a different kind of cannabis experience in their locations. The one in Holyoke resembles an art gallery in the way products are displayed, and there are even works of art on the wall. Meanwhile, it pays homage to the property’s roots as a paper mill by put- ting some of the equipment and office furniture to work in displays.
Impact Statement
As she talked about the broad influence that can- nabis has had on the local landscape, and will con- tinue to have moving forward, Sanders again flashed back to the early days in Colorado, which came in 2009, the middle of what became known as the Great Recession.
“They just ran with cannabis, and it was crazy,” she said of the rapid growth of the industry and its impact on real estate, cities, towns, and individual neighborhoods. “And this started right after that mas- sive crash and its impact on real estate and mortgag- es ... it was a nightmare. But in Colorado, the oppo- site happened because all these growers, all of these dispensaries, ended up leasing more than 1 million square feet of warehouse space that had been off the tax rolls for years, just in Denver.
“So, it immediately just infused the city with vibrancy, and it happened all over,” she went on. “It was just one of those interesting economic moments where Colorado did not feel that economic down- turn, the bottom dropping out, nearly as much as other states; it was fascinating. And then we kept adding all these jobs, and we kept adding jobs, and building, and then science was involved; the industry just came a long way really fast.”
It continues to grow and evolve, and now, much of what was seen in Colorado is being experienced in other states and other region, including Western Mass., she said, adding that cannabis is having a pro-
materials; violation of Massachusetts Wage Act: $99,787.89+
Filed: 11/3/22
Court Dockets
Town of Ware v. 3M Co., et al.
Allegation: Product liability, negligence, breach of implied warranty
Filed: 11/7/22
Danielle Merlob v. Justincredible Cultivation LLC, Reginald Stanfield II, Chetoia Walker, and Jonathan Siberon
Allegation: Money owed for services, labor, and materials; violation of Massachusetts Wage Act: $144,158.92+
Filed: 11/7/22
found impact on communities like Holyoke and Lee, where she has chosen to put down roots, especially the former.
Indeed, this was a city that rolled out the red carpet for this industry, with its former mayor, Alex Morse, jokingly — although it was no joke — wishing it to become known as Rolling Paper City, a twist on its original nickname, Paper City.
Few actually call it that, but Sanders said there
is no disputing the profound impact that cannabis has had in this city, where hundreds of thousands of square feet of unused or underused former mill space has been converted into dispensaries and cultivating facilities.
“Bringing more people to Holyoke is the goal for all of us,” she said. “And I think Holyoke and its bones often get overlooked; I’m so excited that there’s a new art gallery opening on High Street, that there’s sev- eral restaurants that we frequent and another new restaurant going in across the way. We have Gateway City Arts, which does concerts all the time. So, there’s momentum, and we’re hoping to be a part of that and help a city that’s been struggling for a long time.
“Together, we’re all going to make Holyoke a better place, with more jobs, more places to live, more res- taurants to go to, more shopping, art,” she went on. “I absolutely love this town, and that’s why we came here and spent $1 million to open this dispensary.”
Looking ahead, Sanders wants to see a day when more women can become business owners in this sector.
“It’s very much a closed door, and the numbers are actually going down, which is unfortunate,” she said, noting, again, the sky-high costs of opening and then operating a business in this sector, and the challenge to turn a profit when 70 cents of every dollar earned is returned to the government in taxes.
“Through initiatives at the state level and maybe even at the federal level with safe banking and other things they’re talking about, we need to give minori- ties and women an opportunity to win alongside all the rich, white money,” she told BusinessWest. “As a female leader in this space, I am super proud to be
in this space as a leader and an owner, and I would say it’s one of my biggest motivators to talk about this and do something about it.” u
George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]
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