The Puffin Store held a Grand Opening in New Brunswick, while Queen City Dispensary launched New Jersey adult use cannabis sales in Plainfield.
They are the 42nd and 43rd New Jersey adult-use cannabis dispensaries, including medical cannabis dispensaries to open by Heady NJ’s count. The Puffin Store and Queen City Dispensary are the 13th and 14th exclusively adult use cannabis dispensaries open.
Puffin Store Grand Opening Party
The Puffin Store first had a soft opening, then a Grand Opening to iron out kinks like many dispensaries.
“Thank you to the city and people of New Brunswick for being so welcoming and warm to us. I want to thank Mayor (Jim) Cahill. Mayor Cahill took steps early on to bring responsible cannabis to New Brunswick. He’s been the mayor for over 30 years and loves this city,” he declared.
Yanovitch also thanked the New Brunswick Police and the Commissioners and staff of the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC).
He also thanked many New Jersey cannabis political and industry leaders in his speech. Yanovitch noted the dedication of his staff as well, taking care to note his appreciation for his deputy Anthony Feliciano and co-owners
“If I didn’t mention your name right now, I love you,” he added. “We must continue to teach future generations to work, believe in themselves, and follow their dreams. We must continue to make this beautiful state an even better state to live in.”
“Puffin is a celebration of everything cannabis. Thank you for being with us today,” Yanovitch declared.
At the end, Yanovitch thanked his Puffin partners, including Even Strategy Director Sylvia Yanovitch and co-founder and Vice President of Legal Affairs and Diversity and Inclusion Ms. Gabriel Eustache. He noted her dedication even while pregnant.
Yanovitch also thanked his co-founder Alejandro Benjamin, who built up the store with his experience in the New Jersey cannabis industry. Yanovitch himself is a serial entrepreneur living in North Jersey. He owned multiple cell phone store franchises before getting into cannabis. Yanovitch started his career as a baker.
The Puffin Store Grand Opening party had soda and snacks along with Mayor Jim Cahill’s Chief of Staff Keith Jones DJing. It was a fun party atmosphere for the Puffin Grand Opening and speech.
NJ Cannabis Dispensary on George Street
The Puffin Store in New Brunswick is more colorful than the average New Jersey cannabis dispensary, many of which seem like cold Apple Stores. There were also some quirky decorations around the Puffin Store. There was interesting paraphernalia for sale. It also featured informative posters about the nature of cannabis and CBD and the body.
Many budtenders were working the counter and helping customers on the floor. The staff was very friendly and seemed knowledgeable.
Like all the New Jersey cannabis dispensaries opening, a limited number of quality products are available. White labeling, deals where companies with recognized brands skip the licensing line and get into the New Jersey cannabis market by partnering with a larger licensed cannabis company, has significantly increased the amounts of products.
Some brought their own seeds to grow plants, while others just brought a label.
The Puffin Store is on the main thoroughfare of New Brunswick, George Street. It is home to many bars and restaurants, along with a theater. One of the first exclusively adult use cannabis dispensaries, Earth and Ivy, is down the block.
Another exclusively adult use cannabis New Jersey dispensary will be opening on Easton Avenue close to the main campus of Rutgers University.
Rutgers says it’s neutral on cannabis consumption. But their Newark Law School holds a class on the cannabis industry and law.
(Full disclosure Puffin was a sponsor of our Heady Homegrown Forum in June.)
Queen City Dispensary Opens in Plainfield
Owner and Advisor Justin Singer is from Essex Falls in Essex County. He has been in the state legal cannabis industry for eight years as a lawyer consulting on cannabis license applications in New Jersey, California, Missouri, West Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, and Georgia.
“Once you do that work for long enough, ya know, friends and family start to say, let me know when there’s an opportunity to get involved,” Singer explained.
The Queen City Dispensary is majority women-owned by Singer’s mother-in-law, Jennifer Brandt, a lawyer who is from Plainfield and lives in nearby Watchung in Union County. She has been a fan of cannabis for some time. The CRC sent her their approval letter.
Unique NJ Cannabis Dispensary Atmosphere
While giving Heady NJ a private tour before the Grand Opening, Singer touted their colorful space, complete with a mural featuring New Jersey symbols like the Jersey Shore and the state bird, a goldfinch, among others on the outside.
Inside, they have pictures of Frank Sinatra and other fun things on the wall. In addition, there was fun classic rock music playing in the background.
“It’s kind of a show stopper,” he argued.
Singer noted most dispensaries are large corporate spots designed for medical sales and thus do not have vibrant atmospheres.
“We can have a little bit more fun,” Singer said.
The Queen City Dispensary features self-service kiosks and budtenders at the counter, ready to help customers. Unlike other New Jersey cannabis dispensaries, they do not have a TV-screen menu. With 10 Point Of Sale (POS) cash registers, they are expecting a very high volume of customers.
The dispensary is on a more suburban street in Plainfield, where they plan to attract traffic from the Western Union County towns that do not allow cannabis dispensaries. It is across the street from new housing by a few fast food places.
Due to New Jersey cannabis regulations, all products must be routed to the back room, where cannabis products are then taken from shelves and sent to the front.
This is only necessary as a security precaution if one feels it’s merited.
The Queen City Dispensary is slightly different since part of its backroom is visible. So it’s not mysterious when it’s like when salespeople bring pairs of shoes from the backroom.
Interesting Location in Plainfield
The location was previously a preschool for 22 years. Singer approached them after hearing the preschool was closing from a friend.
“It was a beautiful preschool. The last thing I want is the reputation of the cannabis company that closed the preschool,” he explained.
Singer said they then secured local investment to buy the building. He noted raising money was difficult. But they found friends, family, and local investors to cobble it together.
The press school director, Ariell Hunt, became the Queen City Dispensary General Manager after getting into cannabis on her own. While the preschool was closing, she took cannabis classes offered by Union County College. Hunt then worked at the MPX dispensary in Sicklerville in South Jersey on weekends while still working at another school for several months before coming on board.
“I was just so impressed. And I loved the symmetry. She knows the area so well. It’s part of the community feel we’re going for,” Singer noted. “It’s really about building the right team. It takes a village.
They have a staff of 40 to accommodate the expected high volume with cash management specialists, inventory specialists, and budtenders.
Queen City Dispensary has worked to ingratiate itself into the community by donating to people needing housing and speaking at senior centers.
“So much of being in this industry is just education. It’s so new,” JS noted.
As a more progressive urban community, Plainfield has been welcoming to cannabis companies. Kota Canna is among the other dispensaries that will be opening in Plainfield soon.
They received their Planning Board approval from the city of Plainfield in April.
Where are New Jersey’s Adult Use Cannabis Dispensaries?
- Puffin Store in New Brunswick.
- Queen City Dispensary in Plainfield
- Brute’s Roots in Egg Harbor Township.
- Cookies (a Multi-State Operator MSO cannabis corporation) in Harrison.
- Kind NJ Kush in Rockaway.
- New Era Dispensary in South Bound Brook.
- Leaf Haus in Franklin Township.
- Mountain View Farmacy in West Milford.
- Social Leaf in South Toms River.
- Earth & Ivy in New Brunswick.
- Union Chill (an MSO) in Lambertville.
- Nova Farms (an MSO) in Woodbury.
- UR’BN Dispensary in Newark.
- Design 710 in Atlantic City.
- Holistic Solutions LLC in Atco.
- Valley Wellness LLC in Raritan Twp.
- Sweet Spot (an MSO) in Voorhees.
- Apothecarium Dispensary (an MSO) in Lodi.
- Apothecarium Dispensary in Maplewood.
- Apothecarium Dispensary in Phillipsburg.
- Ascend (an MSO) in Montclair.
- Ascend (an MSO) in Rochelle Park.
- Ascend in Fort Lee.
- BLOC (formerly Justice Grown) (an MSO) in Franklin Township.
- BLOC (formerly Justice Grown) in Ewing.
- The Botanist (an MSO) in Williamstown.
- The Botanist in Egg Harbor Township.
- The Cannabist (an MSO) in Vineland.
- The Cannabist in Deptford.
- Curaleaf (an MSO) in Bordentown Twp.
- Curaleaf in Bellmawr.
- Curaleaf in Edgewater Park.
- Ayr Wellness (Formerly GSD) (an MSO) in Woodbridge Twp.
- Ayr Wellness in Eatontown
- Ayr Wellness in Union Township.
- Harmony Dispensary in Secaucus.
- MPX NJ (an MSO) in Atlantic City.
- MPX NJ in Sicklerville.
- GTI Rise (an MSO) in Bloomfield.
- GTI Rise in Paterson.
- Verano’s Zen Leaf (an MSO) in Neptune.
- Verano’s Zen Leaf in Elizabeth.
- Verano’s Zen Leaf in Lawrence Twp.