Dunegrass officially opens Thursday for medical, adult use
MANISTEE — Dunegrass, Manistee’s first marijuana business, is ready to officially open its doors for business at 28 Arthur St. on Thursday.
The business has a grand opening with a ribbon-cutting event set for 10 a.m. on Thursday with the first 50 people eligible to receive door prize gifts.
THE THEME AND THE EXPERIENCE
As patients and customers walk past the freshly planted young dune grass outside and enter the lobby area, sandy beach tones greet visitors as well as handmade cherry wood cabinets that nod to the business’ Traverse City roots and a watery blue epoxied floor meant to reference water near the dunes.
After checking in at the front desk, visitors meet a sales staff member and visit the next room to browse available products and seek advice and have questions answered by staff.
“So that person comes back (to the sales floor) in a one-to-one capacity,” said Eric Piemonte, Dunegrass chief operations officer. “They’re going to get a very intimate, very individual, customer-driven experience. … We see ourselves just as much as educators as we do as sales (people).”
The sales floor also features several photos from Manistee’s dunescapes on canvas.
When asked why they would go to the extra lengths to include more of Manistee sights into the business, Piemonte asked “why not?”
“We don’t want to do the minimum amount required. We truly want to go above and beyond,” Piemonte said. “We feel the customer experience is a big deal and everything we can do to let everyone know that we’re grounded in northern Michigan and big fans of the area.”
The business has products such as flowers in various forms such as loose or prerolled, concentrates, waxes, topicals and edibles.
Dunegrass aims to serve both medical patients and adult use customers and is the first out of about nine marijuana businesses that were proposed in the city last year.
All products at Dunegrass are divided between medical and adult-use.
With adult use marijuana, Michigan requires a customer to be 21 or older. Medical marijuana products are specifically for medical marijuana patients.
And each product is meticulously weighed, labeled, recorded and tracked from origin through sale.
Piemonte said those products also list specific amounts and percentages of aspects such as CBD, THC and others.
Piemonte said Dunegrass is a family-run business featuring two sets of brothers who are cousins and others working on the business together.
“It’s a very big deal for me and my brother. We’ve (spent) a lot of time building this business and (are) very excited to finally get this off the ground,” he said.
His brother, Dunegrass chief executive officer Nick Piedmonte, said in an email that “Dunegrass began as an outgrowth of our family retail business, GT Vapor.”
“We have long wanted to move into the cannabis industry but held off until the legislative changes in 2018,” he said.
He added, “The Dunegrass brand is a reflection of all those times spent on the lakeshore, enjoying the long slow days of summer.”
“The culture that defines our organization has been developed over decades spent living in northern Michigan. We feel there’s a special fit between our brand and the Manistee community,” the CEO said.
Though similar to the dunegrass theme, the location was originally pitched to be called Fresh Coast Provisioning last year with a different designed sign and branding, according to city of Manistee documents from the early stages of businesses applying for licenses and permitting.
Eric Piedmonte said Dunegrass plans to have its own app, and he said even though visitors may be excited to check out the new building, customers are encouraged to utilize the business’ curbside service option.
“So you’ll be able to order online, and pick it up here. You can come here and we can order it from the parking lot for you and fulfill,” he said adding that he hopes the app will be available within the week.
He said in the future, the goal is to have the app also handle payments and that the business would also like to offer delivery by the end of the year.
Also by the end of the year, the family plans to open five adult-use locations. This is the first Dunegrass business to open, and others are planned in places like Beulah, Big Rapids and Marquette.
Nick Piedmonte said their goal is to “to grow Dunegrass into the largest multipoint marijuana retailer in the state whose base of operations is located here in northern Michigan.”
He said they hope to create well-paying, long term jobs for employees and a unique experience for customers and communities.
So far, there are 12 employees at the business.