Hadley OK with pot store at Hampshire Mall — with exit to outside

  • Route 9 in Hadley, Hampshire Mall. Josh Kuckens

Staff Writer
Published: 6/9/2020 2:16:11 PM

HADLEY — Hadley officials are continuing to support a cannabis retailer coming to the Hampshire Mall, so long as its customers head out to the parking lot after making a purchase.

While the board is allowing the main entrance for Hadleaf Holistic Greens Dispensing to be from an interior mall corridor, after a transaction a customer will have to leave via a rear door to the outside, based on a 3-2 Select Board vote last week to allow the Vernon, Connecticut, company to move forward with its plans.

Select Board member Joyce Chunglo insisted that Hadleaf not be allowed to have customers buy products and then immediately go back into a mall corridor.

“My suggestion is you have an entrance and an exit, and it can’t be the same door you go in and out,” Chunglo said.

Chunglo was joined by members Jane Nevinsmith and Christian Stanley in support of the requirement for a separate entrance and exit. Chairman David J. Fill II and John Waskiewicz voted against this, with both arguing for no store entrance inside the mall.

Fill said he has heard concerns from families that the pot shop would be incompatible with attractions inside the mall, such as the Pinz bowling alley, Interskate 91 and the movie theaters, which bring together children and teenagers.

Hadleaf President Andrew Wielblad said he appreciates that the store location will be centrally located with plenty of parking and a cost-effective build-out plan.

“I thought it was so ideal that we would work together for the placement of this location,” Wielblad said.

Mall general manager Lynn Gray said an interior entrance and exit had always been contemplated.

“We feel strongly that it poses less visibility onto the public eye and those that frequent the shopping center,” Gray said.

It would also be less costly than the estimated $100,000 to build a main entrance facing the parking lots. Such an entrance would need a vestibule and storefront.

The store will be in a part of the mall that already caters mostly to adults, being near the Planet Fitness and JC Penney. Previously the space was used by a GNC store before it moved to a nearby Route 9 plaza.

Gray told the board the mall has a solid security plan and a code of behavior that will reduce congregating near the store.

Chunglo said she would like to see extra mall security to make sure that no black market sales are taking place on the property.

The town still has to reach a host community agreement, and the store needs approvals from the Cannabis Control Commission.

Meanwhile, the Planning Board recently gave approval for an Ulta Beauty to locate at Mountain Farms Mall in the space previously occupied by Pier 1 Imports.

Ulta is a chain store that offers a range of health and beauty products and salon services.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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