MANSFIELD: ReLeaf Alternative’s entrance is sleek and elegant with wooden and stone walls. Behind the desk, Emily Gahan greets customers, checks their ID, and dispatches them to the store through a hidden door behind her.
“People like to see the door,” Gahan said. “It’s more than a dispensary, it’s an experience.”
ReLeaf Alternatives at 321 School St. is Mansfield’s first retail cannabis store.
Beyond the door is a spacious room where the black L-shaped countertop is the main feature. The counter is full of records of staff willing to answer questions about the store’s countless products, from pre-rolls of cannabis and concentrates to groceries and seltzer. ReLeaf offers flowers, cartridges, CBD oil, dog treats and more. Groceries to choose from, from snickerdoodle bites to strawberry jelly beans.
There are touch screens and flyers where customers can research their options and soon there will be a table where they can see and smell floral products in small clear and closed boxes.
Behind the counter is a wall covered with green leaves and golden hexagons.
“I was really looking for an Irish Gatsby feel,” said ConL McLaughlin, owner of ReLeaf.
The store’s design incorporates Irish colors of dark green, gold and black with modernized elements from the 1920s, such as clear figures and lettering, he explained.
“It was important for us to try to create something different in the market,” McLaughlin said. “It’s common to see shops with Grateful Dead or farmers’ market issues. They are nice, but we wanted to be unique. I want professionals over 40 to come in and feel welcome.
“I think we’ve created a unique, welcoming and enjoyable experience here.”
McLaughlin grew up in Easton and now lives in Norton. His father, Brian McLaughlin, owns DeAngelo’s in Mansfield, as well as other businesses. McLaughlin began his career in finance working at Morgan Stanley and now runs Pier 37 Boathouse, a family-owned Falmouth restaurant. He also works in commercial real estate. He saw the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts as a business opening.
“I saw an opportunity and I believe in the product,” McLaughlin said. “I use cannabis in a recreational and therapeutic way. I don’t see a clear difference with the alcohol business. “
McLaughlin said he lost a brother because of heroin addiction and had several family members who fought alcoholism.
“I don’t see this as an entry drug,” he said. “I want to break the stigma.”
Cannabis products can be used as a sleep aid or topically for the treatment of muscle pain, said Luke Hunsberger, CEO of ReLeaf.
ReLeaf currently has products from ten different vendors and plans to expand them to 12 to 15, McLaughlin said.
“Products always change,” he said.
Also on display are hand-blown glass pipes created by New England artists and the sale of T-shirts and hats.
McLaughlin said he is excited about the holidays, when ReLeaf will be offering gift baskets.
Customers can also pre-order from the ReLeaf website and then pick up the purchase at the store.
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ReLeaf opened in late August and currently has about 175 customers a day, but is ready for more. The first few days were just by appointment, but now customers can come down at any time.
There were no traffic or safety issues, Hunsberger said.
There are 14 staff members and more will be hired as business grows, he said.
“We can handle that volume two or three times,” Hunsberger said.
“We target 500 to 1,000 customers a day,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said ReLeaf has a wide market to pull out because neighboring communities like Easton, Foxborough and Stoughton do not allow cannabis shops. ReLeaf reached a community reception agreement with the City of Mansfield in 2019 and then began the state approval process working with the Cannabis Control Commission. COVID slightly affected the schedule by delaying construction, McLaughlin said.
The hosting agreement states that the city receives 3 percent of the revenue and ReLeaf will donate $ 70,000 a year to local nonprofit organizations in the city.
“If you buy your product here, 3 percent of sales go to the community,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said he recently also ordered traffic speed monitoring to be given to the Mansfield Police Department as one of the planning board’s mitigation requirements.
ReLeaf is already planning an expansion. The company recently signed a host community agreement with Natick to open a dispensary there. This location will also be owned by McLaughlin’s sister, Kerry Bourne, and brother, Brian McLaughlin Jr.
McLaughlin is already imagining the design: an entrance like a library with bookshelves where customers take a book and leave a book.
ReLeaf is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 508.258.7236 or go to releafma.com.
Staff editor Donna Whitehead can be contacted by email at email@example.com. You can also make her a friend on Facebook. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to the Independent News Journal today.