- Lee DeVito
Hazel Park's former Coney Craver's Diner will start a new life as a marijuana dispensary this week.
The Shango Cannabis dispensary is slated for a soft opening on Thursday.
General manager Spencer Faycurry says he believes the restaurant was closed for about a year before Shango moved in. The company is a multi-state operator with locations in Oregon, Nevada, California, and Arizona, and also recently opened Michigan locations in Lapeer and Bay City. (The name was borrowed from an ax-wielding spirit from the Yoruba religion.)
"I personally like to call our shoppers our friends," Faycurry says on a tour while a crew puts the finishing touches on the build-out. "No one wants to feel like a shopper or anything like that. They want to feel that old school feel, like they're getting cannabis from a buddy."
Of course, Shango's sleek, 4,700-square-foot sales floor is a far cry from a drug dealer's basement. Tall glass "flower towers" are situated throughout the floor, stacked with plastic "bud pods" containing marijuana samples that customers — err, friends — can pick up and inspect.
"At a lot of places, the products are secured behind a counter with a bartender," Faycurry says. "It can be hard to make a decision when you really can't get your eyes and nose in there."
Faycurry says large showrooms like Shango's help reduce the stigma against cannabis.
"So many people equate cannabis to buying it from some dude in a van behind a building or something," he says. "What we're trying to focus on here is making it acceptable, getting you comfortable with your cannabis journey — because for a lot of people, this is their first step back into smoking, whether it's due to legality of coming to some new product. So we really want to make sure everybody's coming in and is comfortable, is well-informed, and they do become a regular user, and it can even go further and changing that stigma."
He adds, "We don't want to churn-and-burn type of situation. We want you to come and hang out and bring your friends."
Beyond that, Faycurry says Shango will offer products in a range of price points, for "the local first-time spender to someone who is looking for the 'Louis Vuitton' of cannabis."
"This is my first time working with corporate cannabis," he says. "What's great about Shango is they didn't lose the sense of where they came from. They really put a focus on making sure cannabis is still affordable for people, even with the prices steadily getting higher than what people are used to. It just goes back to that old-school feel, but in a new school market."
Shango is located at 22821 S. Chrysler Dr., Hazel Park; 248-629-9681; goshango.com.
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