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Plans For New Becket Recreational Marijuana Store

By Cannabis Pictures - ANQ1, CC BY 2.0

A business owner is opening a recreational marijuana store in a rural Berkshire County community. Heather Anello is the CEO of cannabis licensing company Spencer House LLC, which owns a grow facility in Franklin County as well as the soon-to-be-opened Canna Corner in Becket. Anello tells WAMC that she’s put 30 months of work into the new business, which is holding a job fair on Saturday.

ANELLO: I actually own a business in Becket. So I own real estate there through Northeastern Holding Company. I run and operate the old Becket general store and restaurant. And at that time, I decided that, you know, it was the right property for a very convenient, small, rural, local retail cannabis business. We had an overwhelming amount of support from the neighborhood. So I just went for it. And you know, now we're on the homestretch of being open pretty soon here.
WAMC: Part of that effort to open includes a job fair coming up on Saturday. With that, what are you hoping to offer the community in Becket job wise?
Well, to be honest with you, we're hoping to offer competitive career jobs for people that would allow more time to stay at home and accommodate people through this COVID-19 pandemic. So in doing that, we're hoping to achieve a unique schedule that's not common in the workplace nowadays, where you do three 12s, then you're on call for four hours on your fourth day, and then you have three days off. We're hoping that by providing this job opportunity, people will be able to adapt to the pandemic as we sort of climb through and hopefully make an exit soon. But this way people can stay home and help their kids learn remotely.
What kind of jobs are being offered? And what kind of numbers will you be offering?
Well, with all three licenses, we're going to be offering upwards of 50 positions. Our first industry will be the retail business, where will we be employing between nine and 20 people in order to supply the retail business with employees, and then at a later date, which isn't too far off in the future, but by the end of the year, we'll be looking for head cultivators, budtenders, manufacturing experts, human resources, compliance officers, security positions and transportation.
There's sort of a glut of businesses in Western Mass now offering recreational marijuana. How are you going to distinguish your businesses from the existing ones?
I think what distinguishes us from other businesses is that in our retail shop, we're doing a lot with the software for remote ordering, and online ordering and curbside pickup. However, what makes our location unique is that we are close to a very traditional- You know, Route 8 is a very popular route to commute for people who live in rural areas. And I think that what makes us different is that even if you forget to pre-order after work, you'd be able to stop by in our neighboring businesses accommodating us, you could go in and have beverage, order a pizza. And when it is your turn in line, there'll be a text message alert. So we're using higher levels of technology, and there's no lines and no waiting. And our property just happens to offer a convenient location for you to, you know, have dinner and a beverage while you wait so you're not standing out in the cold.
Massachusetts os requiring recreational marijuana businesses to engage in social equity programs. Do you have a plan on what that's gonna look like for your businesses?
Absolutely. We have a lot of plans for our social equity program. We're working directly with veterans associations. Our general manager as a retired Navy masterchief for 25 years. And we're all very invested in working with veterans associations, minorities, women, in, particularly people who've been negatively impacted by marijuana prohibition.
Can you expand on that a little bit? What does it mean to your business?
What it means for our businesses that we're looking to hire people who have previously been convicted of a marijuana charge, we're looking to hire people who are exiting the military and trying to adjust back into civilian life. And one of the things that we offer that a lot of other companies don't offer is the flexibility for these types of people who are exiting into civilian life. To take an approach for stability and adapt back to what it's like to be back in the in the in the regular world here.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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