Locals optimistic about marijuana business
Officials say recreational sales will bring jobs, tourism
EVART -- Lit Provisioning Centers, which opened up for recreational marijuana sales Friday in Evart, is bringing not only a high influx of customers, but an opportunity for the city as well, officials said.
According to City Manager Sarah Dvoracek, the business, which had a line of customers out the door during the first day of legal sales, has potential to bring in outside traffic as well as jobs to the city.
"It's definitely bringing people into the community," she said, noting one immediate benefit of recreational sales in Evart is the licensing fee required to open the business, which will go directly into the city's general fund.
She added recreational sales could potentially be helpful in bringing in customers to other Evart businesses as well.
"I think our downtown businesses would all hope to see some sort of benefit from this," she said. "We'll have to wait and see what comes of it, but I see it as a good thing."
One nearby business, a Wesco gas station, was seeing the benefits already, employee Destiny Booker said.
"We actually have had the parking lot pretty full, so its been a busy day," she said, adding that with some nearby businesses gating off their parking lots to Lit Provisioning Centers customers, she had been watching groups of people walk back and forth from the marijuana facility to Wesco's parking lot throughout her morning shift.
"I don't think we particularly like the parking lot being this full, but because of the situation, that's just the way it is. If this was an everyday thing, then I think it would be more of an issue."
A local herself, Booker said she is excited for the opportunity of new business being brought to the gas station, as well as to the city.
"I think it's great," Booker said. "It's not something I personally do, but I think having recreational sales here will be helpful to the community, and I believe it's been bringing in some jobs to the area as well."
Dvoracek also said she believed recreational sales will be beneficial in creating jobs for area residents.
"The grow facility is continuing to fill positions, so I think it's a valid statement to say, yes, it is bringing in jobs to the area," she said.
While Lit Provisioning Centers isn't located within the downtown area district, Bryan Tiedt, director of the Evart Downtown Development Authority, said he is hopeful the new business will help bring in outside traffic into the downtown area as well.
"I hope it brings in more business," Tiedt said. "We've been doing a lot of work in our downtown businesses, so I think it's a good chance for people to come in and see everything we're doing."
Additionally, Tiedt said, prior to recreational sales, medical marijuana sales seemed to have positive impacts on the city, so he believed recreational sales would show similar results.
"I really don't know what to expect, but I'm optimistic it will draw in some traffic," Tiedt said.
While Friday was only the first day of legal sales in the area, Dvoracek said the city of Evart is planning on putting out a series of surveys related to recreational sales to determine, in the long run, the impact it has on the community.
"It will be interesting to see what happens once this starts to become available in other areas," she said. "This is definitely new territory for us, so time will tell."