Local owner targets rundown building for Gaylord Marijuana shop

Local owner targets rundown building for Gaylord Marijuana shop

GAYLORD - After voters in the state approved the recreational use of cannabis, Ron Fisk decided to get into the marijuana business with a plan to renovate long-forgotten and neglected buildings in Gaylord and Tawas.

In Gaylord, that meant acquiring a gas station on Main Street that had been abandoned for years.

"We did the same thing in Tawas. We purchased the ugliest building in Tawas and did all the work to turn it around," he said.

Recently, Fisk opened two marijuana shops in Gaylord called Great Lakes Exotics Cannabis Co. at 820 Main St. and another location at 2625 S. Otsego Ave. Both are new buildings that are designed to Fisk's specifications to maximize customer convenience.

"Here (on Main Street) I had to get rid of the fuel tank in the ground and take care of all the EPA stuff," said Fisk. "That was huge undertaking. The building on South Otsego was just a vacant lot."

Both locations are close to I-75 interchanges and that was important to Fisk.

"That is the main highway and both locations are easy on and easy off," he said.

The buildings utilize a sleek modern design with drive-thru capabilities, state-of-the-art security systems and ATMs.

"We wanted to take care of the people who didn't want to be noticed and those who are handicapped. The drive-thru is very convenient, especially in winter," he added. "Both locations also provide plenty of parking and have enough room for someone with an RV or pulling a trailer to get in and out of."

"We are the only ones to my knowledge who built two new buildings and are locally owned," he said.

Fisk knows that the Gaylord market is very competitive right now as one competitor is located almost directly across Main Street from his store.

"The market is saturated right now. Not everyone will make it but the strong will survive and if you've got good employees that have the knowledge you will be competitive," he said.

Are there too many shops in Gaylord?

"The stigma that is associated with (marijuana) might say yes. There were supposed to be 18 or 19 shops at one time in Gaylord and that isn't going to happen," he said. "We run specials and give out coupons to the customers to stay competitive."

Fisk said the Tawas shop opened about a year ago and "is doing well."

He got into the marijuana business first through medical marijuana, inspired by his uncle who battled demons after serving in the Vietnam war.

"He had a lot of friends that were hooked on opioids, alcohol and other substances and suicides were prevalent," Fisk said.

He entered the medical marijuana business because it offered hope to some of his uncle's friends.

"I got into it when it was hard to get into on the medical side," he said.

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Region: Michigan

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