Ascend Wellness Holdings, LLC, a multi-state cannabis operator, on Thursday opened what it calls its largest, state-of-the-art dispensary under the Ascend retail brand, in Fairview Heights.
The new location, at 114 Commerce Lane in a building formerly occupied by a Babies R Us retail store, has undergone an extensive remodel to launch the area’s first adult-use only cannabis dispensary, and the second Ascend retail location in the Metro East.
The transformed interior creates a more seamless in-store customer experience, reflecting the new demands of a socially distant world driven by tech and e-commerce; while the exterior boasts a bold new graphic mural to convey what AWH stands for: Community. The mural sets a new design precedent that AWH intends to incorporate into its future retail spaces.
“This new state of the art location will provide critical access and supply to meet the growing demand of the market and create 90 new local jobs at a time when employment can be challenging,” said AWH regional director Kathleen Olivastro.
Ascend Fairview Heights was smartly designed to elevate the retail experience, making the transaction process quick and convenient with features like express pick-up and pre-ordering, that cut down on staff movement but still allow for fast secure product flow throughout the dispensary. The open floor concept and acoustical design also allows for products to be brought into full focus. With 5,100 square feet of premium retail space, it is by far the largest Ascend dispensary in Illinois – enough to more than accommodate for social distancing while still making the experience comfortable for visitors.
The retail location is expected to be an immediate economic boost to both Fairview Heights and St. Clair County by generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in new tax revenue. More jobs are also expected to be created as the business grows.
“We want to better people’s lives through cannabis, and during a pandemic that has never been more important. That’s what our staff is here for, to serve the community,” said AWH chief revenue officer, Chris Melillo.
The new location is the fourth AWH retail location in Downstate Illinois and the second in the Metro-East joining its sister dispensary in Collinsville. The new dispensary will cater to adult-use customers, but also welcome valid medical cannabis card holders seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Customers can log on to www.letsascend.com to learn about available products and order online.
AWH describes itself as a vertically integrated operator with assets and partners in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts and New Jersey. AWH owns and operates state-of-the-art cultivation facilities, growing award-winning strains and producing curated selection of products with effect-based categorization. AWH produces and distributes Ozone branded products. For more information, visit www.awholdings.com.
Present for the ribbon cutting from the City of Fairview Heights along with Mayor Mark Kupsky were City Clerk Karen Kaufhold and Aldermen Pat Baeske and Frank Menn.
“We’re excited to welcome this new business opening in Fairview Heights today,” Kupsky said. “We’re proud to have you as part of our community and look forward to great things from you.”