Photo: An image of Mint’s retail pot operation on Pleasant Street.
An Arizona-based firm described as “an industry leader in the blossoming cannabis industry” has sent a notice of intent to Belmont town officials to open a “world class adult-use“ retail marijuana dispensary on Pleasant Street where a service station is currently located.
Mint Retail Facilities LLC which runs a pair of retail shops in the Phoenix suburbs of Guadalupe and Mesa hopes to open its first Massachusetts operation at 768 Pleasant St. “no later than Dec. 31, 2020” if all goes to plan.
The one-story building will be constructed where Lenny’s Service Center is currently operating, adjacent to My Other Kitchen and Auto Engineering Body Work and Cityside Subaru.
The firm, owned by Eiavan Sahara, is concurrently seeking state cultivation and manufacturing licenses in Palmer and Beverly.
Mint joins Winchester couple Kelly and Stephen Tomasello who have expressed interest in turning a commercial storage site at 1010 Pleasant St. into Cal Verde Naturals, 3,600 square foot single story “retail wellness shop.”
While both ventures will need to commit to discussions on host community agreements, no time line has been established with either group, said Patrice Garvin, Belmont’s town administrator, to the Select Board on Monday, Dec. 16.
The town is currently drafting guidelines with the help of Town Counsel George Hall for applicants to follow during the licensing process.
Once the business receives a provisional license from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission – following the signing of a host community agreement with the town and the issuance of a special permit from the Planning Board – it will begin construction and open its operation within 180 days.
According to a business plan sent to town officials, the firm will seek to operate seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The building will have limited access areas for security and operational reasons with “buzz-in” electronic/mechanical entry systems. The firm’s letter to the town details other areas of the operation including odor controls, waste disposal, storage, inventory and transportation of weed.
The store will sell flowers, concentrates and extracts, infused edibles, accessories and branded merchandise with produces coming from its own manufacturing plants as well as other suppliers including providing “priority consideration to product cultivated in Belmont by independent cultivators.”
One area Mint hopes to cultivate is a delivery service which would go counter to one of the two town restrictions placed in the marijuana bylaw; the other being a 25 year old age restriction on the purchase of pot.
In a profile by the Spanish-language press association EFE News, its Arizona operations – located near the Arizona State University – are “visited daily by some 1,000 customers” selling everything imaginable related to the weed “from infusions to cannabis-themed T-shirts and souvenirs.” Mint’s website promotes store proportionals like a “Toasted Tuesday Sale” when customers can purchase “one gram of flower wrapped in Shatter, then submerged in Kief” for “ONLY $25.”
Mint’s most innovative offering is a first-of-its-kind medical marijuana kitchen serving up “blueberry muffins, salad, pizza, and macaroni and cheese with a dash of cannabis.”
Crunching the numbers, the firm expects to spend $1.5 million in capital costs and working capital to open the Belmont store. By its second year, the firm predicts the store will gross $9.5 million with net income of $700,000.
In addition, Mint forecasts Belmont receiving $276,000 in combined local marijuana and community impact taxes in the first year increasing to $660,000 by the fourth year. The firm said it will create 20 new jobs and pay half a million dollars in salaries and benefits.
Mint, which is also seeking to enter the Michigan market in 2020, is seeking to ride the rapidly growing cannabis retail market with forecasts of the total economic output of legal retail pot will skyrocket 150 percent from $16 billion in 2017 to $40 billion by 2021, according to BDS Analytics.
A Detroit native, Sahara started his first business at 19 with a low price auto glass repair operation before heading to Phoenix to start up a number of discount businesses. Sahara is owner of a glass repair operation for the past 11 years achieving $1 million in profits in 2018.