Curio Wellness, the Maryland-based medical cannabis company, is the latest to launch a marijuana dispensary, joining with Unity Rd., The Open Dør, Miracle Leaf, and others in a challenging but potential want to gain a foothold in the lucrative segment.
Called Far & Dotter, a nod to the Swedish roots of Curio’s father-daughter founders Michael and Wendy Bronfein, the franchise is targeting Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. States with “attractive medical programs,” said Wendy Bronfein, and also some that have legalized recreational marijuana.
Unity Road earlier this year. opened his first marijuana franchise store illustrating the long road to franchising a cannabis brand.
With a holistic pharmacy selling vitamins, nutritional supplements, and hemp-based cannabinoid or CBD products, as well as a cannabis pharmacy, Far & Dotter’s retail locations represent “a development in the cannabis sector,” said Bronfein. The locations are meant to “break the stigma surrounding this plant,” she continued, with flexible space for educational events, removal of the traditional “waiting area” that customers are normally directed to after check-in, and “pod look rather than a long” continuous Counter “to enable advisory and purchase transactions.
Wendy Bronfein is the Co-Founder, Chief Brand Officer and Director of Public Policy at Curio Wellness.
“We weren’t just thinking about cannabis, we were thinking about where retail is going in general,” she said.
The cost of opening a Far & Dotter location ranges from approximately $ 500,000 to $ 1 million, including a franchise fee of $ 40,000 and a construction management fee of $ 10,000. This initial investment area does not include the cannabis license, which the company estimates will cost between $ 20,000 and $ 70,000 in its franchise disclosure document. “State and local laws differ significantly in terms of the procedures, difficulties, and costs involved in obtaining a cannabis license,” the FDD states.
These higher startup costs, combined with federal banking regulations and a desire to tackle diversity disparities within the cannabis industry, led to the creation of the Curio Wellness Investment Fund, designed to help minority entrepreneurs open their own medical cannabis franchise.
As part of Far & Dotter’s franchise launch, Curio has opened the application process for the fund, which has raised $ 20 million to date, said Jerel Registre, managing director. A franchisee would contribute at least $ 40,000 to start the business, with the balance being raised through the mutual fund through a combination of low-interest fixed-rate loans and a direct equity stake for 40 percent of the property. Franchisees would then use the cash flow from the business to buy up Curio’s equity stake.
Far & Dotter is looking for owner-operators, Registre said. “We want the person who cares most to walk through the door every day,” he said.
Jerel Registre is the managing director of the Curio Wellness Investment Fund.
Each franchise location will have a clinical director “who fits our brand positioning” and Far & Potter’s goal of taking a clinical approach to meeting cannabis needs, Registre continued.
“The varieties have what I call different therapeutic effects” on the customer, he said, such as “faster onset of action and shorter duration compared to a variety that takes longer to work”. A chronic pain sufferer “would look for a longer lasting product as opposed to someone who wants to relax after a long day.”
As part of the franchise expansion, Bronfein hopes to turn what Curio Wellness has learned since launching in 2014 into a cannabis product manufacturer and distributor with its own wellness center in Timonium, Maryland.
“There are so many people who want to be here, but there is so much that you don’t know until you are there,” she said.
Curio Wellness recently completed a $ 22 million capital increase and secured a $ 26 million mortgage to expand the indoor grow facility at the Timonium headquarters facility.