Lowell Gardens, Yuma Way's newest marijuana store, at 3615 West 49th Avenue, opened for business in late August, according to co-owners Rita Tsalyuk and Kirill Merkulov. The two are planning grand-opening festivities for October.
The location, a former photography studio that stood vacant for years, is just off Lowell Boulevard. Given Yuma Way's tendency to brand stores after their respective neighborhoods or nearby landmarks, "Lowell Gardens" was an easy choice for the dispensary's name, Tsalyuk explains.
Lowell Gardens is the second dispensary in the Regis neighborhood; it's about a block from Regis University and Rocky Mountain Lake Park. The owners incorporated a good-neighbor agreement into the dispensary license that requires staff to keep the block around Lowell Gardens free of litter, also also to enforce fifteen-minute parking times for customers to lessen traffic congestion.
Although Yuma Way already owns a dispensary less than two miles away in the Berkeley neighborhood, Tsalyuk believes the north Denver area was worth a bigger investment.
"We're in an up-and-coming neighborhood. It's close to Berkeley, and they are building a ton of condos over there. There's more foot traffic than you might think, and there are breweries and cafes around, too," Tsalyuk says.
The new store is Yuma Way's sixth dispensary in Colorado, joining two other stores in Denver and outposts in Commerce City, Glendale and Longmont; the company also owns the Coffee Joint, Denver's only licensed marijuana-consumption lounge, as well as additional dispensaries around the county. After recently opening a store in Michigan, Tsalyuk says, she and her partners have been approved to open additional dispensaries in Michigan, California and West Virginia.
Yuma Way also plans to offer a delivery service for its Colorado dispensaries, and Tsalyuk wants to pursue an infused-product license to produce in-house edibles, as well.
For the next six years, new majority marijuana business owners in Denver must meet a social equity criteria intended to benefit communities impacted by the War on Drugs. Yuma Way obtained the license for Lowell Gardens before Denver's social equity provision was enacted, but Tsalyuk hopes to continue expansion by participating in a state accelerator program in which established marijuana businesses allow new pot entrepreneurs to use their facilities as they launch their own operations, similar to the way a commissary kitchen works.
"We bought an industrial building with four separate 1,700-square-foot units, and they're perfect for manufacturing infused products. They have regular tenants right now, but we wouldn't mind renting them to social equity [marijuana business] owners at some point, and we'd like to operate a unit in there, also," she says.
Until then, she's focusing on fine-tuning operations at her new store as the staff readies for a grand opening on October 6.