Photo: Pioneer Photo/Cathie Crew
BIG RAPIDS — Mother Nurtures, Big Rapids’ newest marijuana dispensary, opened the doors to its new location over the weekend.
Co-owners Mike Vlasich and Shawn Barsic hope to offer customers a different kind of experience with private consulting rooms for each customer transaction.
Employees at the store said one of the reasons for wanting to work at Mother Nurtures is because they really like the concept of the private consultation rooms.
“If you’re a medical patient, maybe you don’t want everyone to know what your issues are,” said Bob Strodl, a budtender at Mother Nurtures. “This is off the road and you have the private rooms. It’s a little more one-to-one personal care.”
Vlasich and Barsic said they got into the business after their family members suffered from cancer, and cannabis was a big help to them during their illnesses.
“Both of our mothers have experienced cancer, so it is something quite near and dear to our hearts,” Barsic told the Pioneer. “As we progressed through their stages with them, this was born out of it. That is what got us started.”
Barsic said part of their goal is to allay some of the fears and anxieties that people may have about marijuana use, because they are firm believers in the therapeutic aspects of cannabis.
Many of the employees at Mother Nurtures also said their experience with cancer led them to become interested in the cannabis industry and to Mother Nurtures.
“I am a cancer survivor, myself,” said Budtender Natalie Bowman. “I came to Mother Nurtures because they have a really good mission statement, and because of their relationship with cancer patients. I just really wanted to be a part of this.”
Budtender Callie Keaton, whose sister is a cancer survivor, said she loves the concept of the store and the fact that the owners’ stories intertwine with those of many of the employees.
“These guys really seem more like a ‘mom and pop’ kind of shop rather a corporate business,” Keaton said.
Employee Sabrina Nelson said she applied because she wanted to learn the business, and hopefully someday have her own business selling cannabis products.
“I make my own edibles and tinctures, mainly for cancer patients, and hope to someday start my own business selling products, possibly to this store as well as others,” Nelson said.
The customer experience at Mother Nurtures will be slightly different from other retail cannabis stores, as it will more resemble a visit to their doctor’s office.
As customers enter the lobby to the store, they are asked to complete a general information form. Once done, the receptionist will scan the customer’s ID, and their medical if they have one.
Once they are entered into the system, they will be asked to wait in the lobby. When a budtender is available to assist them, they will come to the lobby and escort the customer to one of the private consulting rooms and assist them with their transaction, which is completely handled in the consultation room.
Once the transaction is complete, the budtender will escort the customer back to the lobby and get the next customer.
Mother Nurtures will also offer curbside service. Customers can order online, and the order will be transmitted to a budtender for filling. When the customer arrives at the store, the order is carried out to their car in the parking lot.
Customers said they were glad to see the new business open up on that side of the city, and hope to see other types businesses come in the future.
Mother Nurtures is located at 520 S. Third Ave. and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday.