With only 23 legal dispensaries open across the state, the Finger Lakes Region is in need of more safe, trustworthy places to purchase recreational marijuana. Enter Herbal IQ’s newest pop-up shop in Rochester, which opened on August 30.
Herbal IQ’s main location is located in Depew, NY. When the NY Cannabis Control Board approved a resolution on July 19 to authorize Cannabis Growers Showcases (CGS), Herbal IQ saw an opportunity to establish a presence in Rochester. This location was chosen because there were no dispensaries open in the Rochester area; plus, customers from the Finger Lakes Region can drive a moderately short distance to reach the city. “We figured the community needed a safe place where they could get tested, NYS-grown cannabis,” said Sidney Barrett, Herbal IQ’s regional manager.
According to requirements set by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), a CGS applicant must have at least three licensed cultivators and one processor. Herbal IQ’s Rochester store partners with four growers – Two J’s, Ananda Farms, Tap Root and A Walk in the Pines – and processor NoWave.
Once Herbal IQ obtained a landlord, location, its partners and inventory list, the rest of the process proceeded in a timely manner. It took about 15 to 20 days for Herbal IQ to receive its approved application from the OCM, and the growers showcase opened just a couple days afterwards. “There was quite a bit of regulation we had to abide by to get (the showcase) approved,” Barrett said. “But the state is at a point where they do need to move product because there are expiration dates on the products, so it wasn’t too hard to make it happen.”
Operating the Rochester growers showcase is “definitely different” than running the Depew location, Barrett observed. Herbal IQ’s permanent store has more than 500 SKUs and they are not limited on how many vendors or brands they carry. Meanwhile, the Rochester pop-up is required to have a certain percentage of flower versus other products; it carries roughly 20 to 50 products, according to Barrett. She added that Herbal IQ’s prices at its locations are a little higher because the state doesn’t allow discounts or sales.
In the three weeks that the Rochester location has been open, Barrett has seen a great reception from the community. At first, customers thought the shop sold medical marijuana, since there wasn’t enough time for Herbal IQ to properly promote the growers showcase. However, word has spread and customers now fill the store. “It’s been way better than we ever expected,” Barrett stated. “This community has been waiting a long time to have this regulated option.”
Herbal IQ’s growers showcase is located at 1749 East Avenue in Rochester. It’s open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. It will operate until Dec. 31.
“The state requirements for the pop-ups are meant for them to operate like farmers markets,” Barrett stated. “It’s not supposed to be a brick-and-mortar shop, but a temporary solution to push the product that’s been coming closer to expiration date.”
Herbal IQ’s main location in Depew opened on July 21 and operates every day. The store’s owner, Brad Kyler, has no plans on stopping, Barrett said. In fact, they hope to continue to expand, add more growers showcases and establish three permanent locations.
No matter whether a customer visits its Depew or Rochester locations, they will receive a warm welcome from its well-trained budtenders. All patrons need to bring is an ID to prove they are at least 21 years old. “We have products for everyone, from low-dose to high-dose to inhalation and edibles,” Barrett said. “If you have questions or if you’re new and leery about trying cannabis, we’ll walk you through every step of the way.”