Winchester Couple Plans To Open Belmont’s First Pot Shop On Pleasant Street

Photo: A rendering of the proposed marijuana dispensary along Pleasant Street.

A Winchester couple has applied for a license and special permit to operate a recreational marijuana establishment on Pleasant Street.

Kelly and Stephen Tomasello have signed a five-year lease with Paul Tocci, Jr to turn a nondescript commercial storage site at 1010 Pleasant St. into Cal Verde Naturals, 3,600 square foot single story “retail wellness shop” with a large 2,100 square foot dispensary “providing consistent, high quality cannabis and cannabis products … at its proposed Adult Use Retail Marijuana Establishment,” according to the venture’s executive summery provided to the town.

The store’s proposed hours of operation would be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The business will also “invest significant dollars into converting both the exterior and interior of the premise into a first class retail establishment.” That renovation will include repaving the parking lot, which will have 36 spaces, and add state of the art security surveillance “to develop a safe and comfortable environment for employees and customer.”

In addition, the business has hired former Rochester, NH Police Chief Michael Allen as Chief of Security and who has created an extensive security plan with three levels of access control inside the operation.

“Calverde [the store’s name would use two words] will ensure sustainable business growth for years to come and prove to be an exemplary business partner with the town of Belmont,” the Tomasellos said in the summery.

Note: Cal Verde translates from Portuguese to “lime green.”

Patrice Garvin, Belmont’s Town Administrator, told the Select Board on Monday, Oct. 28 that “our next step is to meet with Community Development [Department] and start a timeline” for scheduling public hearings as well as begin negotiations with the business on a host agreement, which is essentially a fee to offset the financial impacts the businesses could “reasonably” impose on the host community.

Under the state’s Cannabis Control laws, the host agreement can not last for more than five years with fees that cannot exceed three percent of the establishment’s gross sales, on top of a three percent state tax. Municipalities can also impose “donations” above and beyond the three percent fees.

Belmont’s marijuana bylaw prohibits customers under 25 from purchasing pot and the restricts all deliveries from the site. The bylaw also limits retail pot businesses to the south Pleasant Street commercial area.

This is the Tomasello’s first venture into the burgeoning retail pot market, a business which will see US sales grow from $9.1 billion this year to $15.7 billion in 2022, according to BDS Analytics.

Kelly Tomasello, who is the company’s CEO and president, has worked in retail as a buyer and manager in California before moving back to her native New England to manage two high volume restaurants. She notes in her company bio that her interest in alternative medicine and wellness began with the birth of the Tomasello’s son who later was diagnosed with special needs. Her search for better treatment options and therapies made her more aware and accepting of non-traditional ways of self care and healthy living.

A Reading native and a 1994 Tufts grad, Stephen Tomasello, who is the company’s VP, has a quarter century in retail real estate brokerage with Atlantic Retail Properties.

Calverde is being represented by Joseph Noone of the Belmont law firm Avery, Dooley & Noone on Brighton Street.

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