| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – Payton Shubrick is bucking the apparent trend of companies applying to receive one of the city’s 15 recreational cannabis licenses: she is local, she is a minority member and the business would be operated by a family company rather than an out-of-state corporation.
Shubrick’s company, 6 Bricks, would have their retail store in the Gasoline Alley complex on Albany Street. To start, the company would simply sell recreational cannabis, but she said the intention is to start their own grow operation.
Shubrick is a Springfield native, a graduate of Holly Cross College and works full-time for MassMutual as a manager in its IT department.
She sees a locally owned and operated cannabis store as a way to employ local people and a model for social equity.
She asserted the cannabis industry as described by Massachusetts law has created a new “Jim Crow” situation in which “black and brown people are being penalized.”
She added, “White males are financially and legally benefitting from cannabis.”
Shubrick’s plan to keep as much money as possible from cannabis sold in Springfield in Springfield.
Her company has a “unique advantage” when it comes to interacting with the neighborhood. She has met twice with the McKnight Neighborhood Council before it had a formal meeting to discuss their plans. This way she could address the concerns the residents had before the formal meeting.
“People knew who we were [at the meeting]. It was not the first time,” she explained. “We’ve shown them we’re going to be a good neighbor.”
The neighborhood council has voted to support her company.
The advantage with the Gasoline Alley location is the traffic flow will be manageable – a traffic site plan has been done – and there is off-street parking.
“We’re uniquely positioned to provide customers with a great experience,” she said.
One of the other advantages is her retail store’s chief security officer, former Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney. The security team consists for former Springfield police officers, which Shubrick said is a “very different approach” from other retailers.
Shubrick described the application process as “plenty of red tape.” She explained she and others responded to the Request for Proposals for the licenses that will close in May. By June 17 there will be an initial four licenses selected by the city.
The closest other proposed store would be located at the former Lido’s Restaurant on Worthington Street more than a mile away. There have been four retail locations proposed for downtown Springfield. Shubrick asked, “Would you want that many shops on top of one another?”
She said she wants to “positively impact the community and educate consumers. The market is ever evolving. That’s my focus.”