Published in Economic Development

Dispensary owner — among early entrants in West Michigan — fears oversaturation

BY Sunday, December 20, 2020 06:10pm

Born and raised in Muskegon, Greg Maki was the first to open recreational cannabis dispensaries in Muskegon, Ottawa and Montcalm counties. While many businesses ground to a halt during 2020, the cannabis industry continued to grow in West Michigan. Park Place Provisionary in Muskegon, Exit 9 in Nunica, and Edmore Provisionary are open under Agri-Med LLC, and Maki is working on opening more locations in the region.

What does the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine mean to you?

I’m going to get that shot the second I can. It will definitely help business, but it will still be a long time before most people will get it. We were blessed that the governor did find us essential this year, but having the vaccine will make it better for everybody. We need more businesses open in the community.

Greg Maki, owner of Agri-Med LLC COURTESY PHOTO

Are you concerned the cannabis market in West Michigan will become oversaturated?

The market will definitely be oversaturated in Muskegon. There will be 10 dispensaries open in the county in 2021 for sure and there is still a lot of activity going on, but I don’t see Muskegon being able to support all the stores they have. 

The Grand Rapids recreational stores are also definitely going to take some of the business that we get.

How did you get into this business?

I knew nothing about the cannabis industry three-and-half years ago, but we are kind of the industry leaders in our area. What’s most unusual is we’re local. I was born and raised in Muskegon, and 90 percent of the companies we compete against are big, multi-state operators or from Detroit. I still feel like we’re kind of cutting-edge. I am concerned about the oversaturation of the market, but still realize what a blessing it was to be first in the market. I didn’t realize the importance of that. We made all the mistakes first.

How are you able to compete against larger companies as a local business owner?

We expect to be growing in Park Place in Muskegon in 90 days — it’s 80 percent done. We knew we wouldn’t be able to compete unless we became vertically integrated. It would be harder if we hadn’t gotten in when we did, it’s all a big boy’s game now. People and municipalities can say they want to do something for local owners trying to get into the industry, but they care about the money and getting as many buildings remodeled as they can. 

Is it still possible for local owners like you go get into the cannabis industry?

It’s going to be a tough road. Even if they have their own building and grow operation, it’s still hundreds of thousands of dollars you need to invest. I sold everything I owned to get in, and it was a gamble for me. The taxes are enormous. You have to be very dedicated and work hard.

You recently opened your third dispensary, Edmore Provisionary. Do you have plans for more locations, and how do you decide where to open a new dispensary?

We’re going to have eight or nine provisionaries by the end of 2021. It’s full speed ahead. Everybody on my team is running in a million different directions. 

We’re mainly sticking to West Michigan. Everywhere I look, parking is paramount because the regulations for parking, especially in some areas, are so restrictive. You see a nice building but if there is not adequate parking then it’s not worth it.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to clarify a quote from Greg Maki.

Read 29306 times Last modified on Monday, 21 December 2020 15:07