Northampton’s newest cannabis dispensary, Embr, officially opens

  • Embr, a new cannabis dispensary at 144 King St. in Northampton, held its grand opening Friday, including a morning ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra and a food truck in the afternoon. From left; co-manager Leakhena Kasom, employee Orlando Gutierrez, Sciarra, co-manager Kot Kasom and employee Elkie McGurn. Gazette staff/Brian Steele

  • Embr, a new cannabis dispensary at 144 King St. in Northampton, held its grand opening on Friday, including a morning ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra and a food truck in the afternoon. Employees Olivia Morales, left, and Elkie McGurn, right, complete minor tasks between customers. Gazette staff/Brian Steele

  • Embr, a new cannabis dispensary at 144 King St. in Northampton, held its grand opening on Friday, including a morning ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra and a food truck in the afternoon. Here, husband-and-wife managers Leakhena Kasom and Kot Kasom pose in front of the Phat Panda logo on the business’ eastern wall. Gazette staff/Brian Steele

  • Rapper Waka Flocka during the Carniroll music festival in Northampton, pictured with the custom-made throne of joints commissioned by the Fyre Ants cannabis dispensary in Easthampton. April 2022. Submitted photo

  • left Jonathan Cruz, Kevin Mauras and Karen Maldonado look over product lists on opening day of Embr on King Street Northampton. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Olivia Morales, an employee of Embr, explains a product on opening day to, from left, Jonathan Cruz, Kevin Mauras and Karen Maldonado at the store on King Street Northampton. The store held a ribbon-cutting and grand opening event on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 5/27/2022 5:00:07 PM
Modified: 5/27/2022 4:58:09 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A mayoral ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday morning officially launched Embr, the newest cannabis dispensary in the city and a sister store of the Fyre Ants shop in Easthampton.

The dispensaries are managed by the same husband-and-wife team, Kot and Leakhena Kasom. Embr’s grand opening came about six weeks after its soft launch on April 16, which had been timed to coincide with the three-day Carniroll music festival at the Three County Fairgrounds.

Embr, at 144 King St., is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. The store is about four miles away from Fyre Ants and staff may work at both locations.

“We want to sell quality for affordable prices. … With us having our price point where it’s more accessible to people, it’s helping people,” Leakhena Kasom said after Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra’s ribbon-cutting at Embr. “Instead of going to the streets or not being able to afford it, or spending their whole, entire paycheck.”

Sciarra spent some time speaking with customers and thanked the Kasoms for choosing to open a business in Northampton. A food truck was parked outside from 3-6 p.m., drawing in customers who wanted to try Chicken Man’s Chicken Shack.

Kot Kasom and the Embr staff were adorned in Phat Panda T-shirts and lanyards, promoting one of the most esteemed cannabis brands on the West Coast and the company that founded Embr dispensaries. Inside, the business’ eastern wall features a Phat Panda logo and the name of the brand in lights.

“They’re in about 560 stores. That kind of shows you that that product is top-shelf, and that’s what we’re bringing here: top-shelf cannabis,” Kot Kasom said.

Although Phat Panda cannabis products are not yet available at Embr — the company is building a cultivation and manufacturing facility in Fitchburg that is expected to open next year — the brand’s apparel and accessories are on sale now.

“We work with all vendors” and there is a significant variety of other available brands, sold at “some of the best” prices in the area, Kot Kasom said.

The northern wall features a mural showcasing Northampton City Hall and the First Churches of Northampton.

“There was a lot of work and effort involved in this, and just going through that process that everybody has to go through” in order to open a retail cannabis store in Massachusetts, Kot Kasom said, describing an 18-month slog of bureaucratic approvals at the state and local levels. “It’s been a road. … Getting the right vendors in here, getting the right partners to work with us, and then successfully launching at the right time.”

During rapper Waka Flocka’s performance at Carniroll, he sat on the custom-made throne of giant joints that Fyre Ants commissioned from Easthampton artist Joseph Pesce.

“It was there. It became part of the Carniroll experience,” Kot Kasom said. “It’s a one-of-a-kind piece of art. You won’t see anything else like it.” While customers need to go to Fyre Ants to see the throne, they can get many of the same bargains and sale prices at both locations, depending on product availability.

Brian Steele can be reached at bsteele@gazettenet.com.

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