Otis Poultry Farm eyed for marijuana business; country store to stay
OTIS — Andy Pyenson has worked on his grandparents nearly 25-acre Otis Poultry Farm since he was just 5.
Now, more than 60 years later, he is poised to hand off his family's 115-year-old country store to new owners who plan to add a more modern kind of business: cannabis cultivation and retail.
On Saturday, David Reiner and other principal owners of Turning Leaf Centers of Otis will host a community outreach meeting regarding their proposal to build an indoor marijuana cultivation and processing establishment and medical and retail dispensaries at 1553 and 1570 North Main Road. The meeting will begin at 2 p.m. in Otis Town Hall, 1 North Main Road.
"We love, obviously, the ambiance and the small, tight-knit community. Were happy to participate and be a good neighbor for Otis," Reiner said. "We like having the country store. We like that we're going to be able to continue that, improve what's there, perhaps expand it."
The property is large enough to allow cultivation and processing, as well as have a retail store to sell cannabis products, he said.
"We're going to continue the country store as the country store," Reiner said. "The plan is to have the retail facility separate from that, just so we can keep the store more a family-oriented type of environment."
The owners, who come from backgrounds in health care, real estate and career training, have business interests in other markets as well, but have been interested in the Otis property for several years.
When they first approached the town, they found residents to be welcoming, Reiner said.
On Saturday, he expects to talk about expected revenue and other business details.
Although there has been no official traffic study done at this time, Reiner believes that by the time their business is ready to open, some of the novelty of recreational marijuana will be worn off.
"As more and more dispensaries open up it's going to spread that demand out," he said. "We don't anticipate traffic will be as bad as what we're seeing today. However, we'll be prepared for it."
Reiner said that the group is close to finalizing a host community agreement with the town and, after the outreach meeting, they will get permitting in place for retail and processing.
After receiving licenses from the state — a process that typically has taken six months to a year — the company will begin construction on the site.
"Some of the other folks we're involved with have run hospitals, clinics," he said. "We got into this whole thing through the medical side, to be a source to help patients. There are a lot of people out there who are suffering, whether it be cancer or other illnesses, who can really benefit from cannabis."
As for Pyenson, the time has come for a change.
His country store currently sells eggs, gifts, jams, jelly, chicken pot pies, and other grocery items. In the summer there is a deli that sells breakfast sandwiches and other food.
He's hoping that will continue under the new owners.
"It's getting that time in life when I need to start getting out, instead of working seven days a week," he said.
Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.