Marijuana shop hiring in Holyoke

  • Eladio Montanez fills out an application at the Canna Provisions job fair in Holyoke on Thursday. His stepdaughter Jonairys can also be seen. Bera Dunau—Gazette Staff

  • From left, Canna Provisions Chief Marketing Officer Andy Katkin, Chief Executive Officer Meg Sanders and Chief Operating Officer Erik Williams are seen at the company’s job fair in Holyoke on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/Bera Dunau

Staff Writer
Published: 9/5/2019 11:53:03 PM
Modified: 9/5/2019 11:52:52 PM

HOLYOKE — Canna Provisions, a recreational marijuana company that plans to open a dispensary in the city this fall, held a job fair Thursday.

The company held the fair in Nueva Esperanza’s 413 Main St. space from 3 to 7 p.m. At around 5 p.m., Andy Katkin, chief marketing officer for Canna Provisions, estimated that about 100 people had shown up so far.

Chief operating officer and co-founder Erik Williams said Canna Provisions plans on hiring around 40 full-time employees for its dispensary at 380 Dwight St., as well as around eight employees who will have more flexible hours. Williams said hiring will be done in two phases, and the company plans to begin to extend job offers within the next two weeks, with start dates of Oct. 15.

The minimum pay for full-time work at the Holyoke dispensary will be $16 an hour, while part-time work will have a $15 an hour minimum.

Williams expressed a desire to encourage personal growth in employees of Canna Provisions, and a hope that that personal growth would occur within the company.

“We’re looking for people who want to build careers,” he said.

Additionally, he said that the large amount of training the employees will be given is a distinguishing feature of Canna Provisions.

“Several weeks of training for every employee,” he said. “We need to be the most educated and knowledgeable persons in America.”

Williams said that, ideally, the company wants everyone to start as a guide, the company’s term for salespeople. However, he said that a number of jobs, such as inventory, security, marketing and accounting would be needed — “anything that you need for any other traditional business,” he said.

At the job fair, those interested in working at the dispensary filled out an eight-page employment application. Applicants were also interviewed at the fair, with some attendees getting second interviews on Thursday as well.

First for Holyoke

Williams said that Canna Provisions has a provisional license for its Holyoke dispensary, and once construction is finished on it, the company will ask the Cannabis Control Commission to conduct a final inspection. Once that inspection has been completed, the CCC will be able to give the dispensary the go-ahead to begin sales.

“Later on this fall is when we expect that that would happen,” Williams said.

Currently, there are no recreational marijuana dispensaries open in Holyoke, although Rise Holdings maintains a cultivation and product manufacturing facility in the city.

One of the applicants at the fair was Eladio Montañez, 38, of Holyoke, who brought along his 6-year-old stepdaughter, Jonairys.

“I need a job,” said Montañez, who said that he’d seen the event advertised at the Family Dollar, and that he previously worked at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

He expressed a desire to be a long-term employee and possibly move into management.

Carolyn Izquierdo, 41, a certified nursing assistant from Holyoke, said she was “excited to learn something new and something else.”

She also expressed an interest in advancing in the company.

“I’m looking for a change in career basically,” said Santaicha Lozada, 23, another CNA from Holyoke.

Lozada said the industry is new and exciting, “especially for Holyoke.”

“You wouldn’t think that they’ll bring a dispensary down to Holyoke,” Lozada said.

Canna Provisions is not part of a national company, but Williams and CEO and co-founder Meg Sanders have extensive experience in the cannabis industry, including having done consulting and worked for companies in multiple states.

“They really are the most experienced cannabis entrepreneurs in Massachusetts,” said Katkin, the marketing officer.

Katkin is new to the cannabis industry himself, having previously worked for Lego in Enfield, Connecticut.

“The opportunity to be in a growth industry is fantastic,” said Katkin, who also said that he’s always loved and is really passionate about cannabis.

Canna Provisions opened its first dispensary in Lee in July, and Williams said it employs 43 people. While he said that the Lee store and the Holyoke store will have the same culture, he also said that their looks will be quite different.

“We try to honor both space and place,” he said.

In Lee, Williams said that art and local antiques were incorporated into the dispensary, as the store is meant to look like the Berkshires. In Holyoke, art will also be incorporated into the dispensary on the ground floor of 380 Dwight St.

“We plan on working hard to feature local artists,” he said.

But the dispensary will also pay homage to the city’s industrial history, as the building is a former factory. For instance, the display tables will be made from converted factory trolleys.

“We’ve really tried to repurpose as much as we possibly can,” Williams said.

The city’s large Puerto Rican community will also be honored, he said.

Williams said that the company plans on opening a third store, but did not say where that third store would be.

Sanders said she and Williams “really fell in love with the town,” and that she appreciated getting to know the community.

“We feel like we’re getting into the ground floor of Holyoke,” she said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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