This spot in West Boylston feels like a camping retreat in the mountains. There’s a tent, a canoe, a vintage Coleman grill and plenty of firewood.
While it has all the makings of an outdoor weekend getaway, it’s actually the home to Campfire Cannabis, a marijuana shop planning to open soon in West Boylston.
When the Patel family decided to break into the state’s emerging marijuana industry, they wanted to create an atmosphere that was nostalgic, interactive and comfortable. It’s a departure from the decor seen at some of the state’s retail cannabis shops, where sleek countertops and clean lines offer a modern ambiance.
“One reason why we chose campfire is when we’re going out hiking or by a campfire, a lot of it is a sense of community with your friends, with your family. We wanted to bring that inside the store,” said Nehar Patel, chief business officer at Campfire Cannabis.
The company is women- and minority-owned. Mita Patel (mother of Chief Operating Officer Neel Patel), Alpa Patel (Nehar’s mother) and Anand Patel (cousins with Nehar and Neel), are owners and CEOs of the business. Nehar, Neel and Anand will be the day-to-day operators.
Anand says he has plenty of fond memories at backyard fires with growing up with friends. For Nehar, studying abroad in South Africa gave him a new appreciation for nature.
At Campfire Cannabis, budtenders will be called “rangers,” a nod to the country’s national parks. Once a customer has their ID checked at the front vestibule, the ranger will greet the customer and take them to different “stations” around the dispensary that will have a selection of products on display. At the tent station, a vintage cooler has been outfitted with locks so rangers can safely show off products to customers.
The process will give customers the chance to ask questions, explained Anand Patel, creating an interactive experience before checkout.
While the space at 65 West Boylston St. is already dotted with decor reminiscent of a national park, there’s still work to be done. The Patels are adding an RV to the property, which will be a focal point.
Campfire Cannabis received its final license from the state Cannabis Control Commission during its Thursday meeting. That means the company can start bringing marijuana products into its shop and get ready for final inspections before getting the green light to open. The Patels hope they can open in October.
Campfire Cannabis is partnering with wholesalers in Massachusetts to offer a variety of products.
“One of our goals is to have almost all the products in the state available,” Nehar Patel said. A wide selection of quality products and customer service and experience are the priorities, Anand Patel added.
The family has owned convenience stores in Connecticut for years and wanted to secure a new venture for the younger Patels.
“Our family saw this as a good opportunity to invest in the future generation,” Nehar Patel said.
For Anand Patel, a lot of excitement comes with breaking into a new emerging industry.
Initially, Campfire Cannabis plans to hire 20 to 30 employees, said Anand Patel, adding that hiring a racially diverse staff is a priority. Applications are being accepted now at firstname.lastname@example.org for those interested, the Patels said.
In addition to the West Boylston location, the Patels are planning to open a Campfire Cannabis dispensary with a more nautical take in Salisbury. For that location, the Patel’s have received a provisional license.
When looking for a location for Campfire Cannabis, the Patels said West Boylston was welcoming and offered feel of a close-knit community.
One thing that especially resonated, Neel Patel said, is West Boylston’s town motto: “small town, big heart.”
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