The dispensary, Lemonnade, is majority-owned by Brittany Washumare, a Western Massachusetts resident who is also a certified economic empowerment applicant with the state Cannabis Control Commission.
Lemonnade is a sister brand of Cookies, a company with some of the most popular cannabis strains in the U.S. In Springfield, the dispensary will have access to resources from Cookies, including security, compliance, personnel and operational resources.
Washumare along with her father, James Bennett, are small business owners who collectively have more than 30 years of experience in retail operations, project management and agriculture.
“I could not be more happy to have Travis Best as a partner,” Washumare said. “His name and reputation is impeccable and synonymous with the City of Springfield. He’s a perfect teammate, as many can attest to, and I can’t wait to deliver a win for Springfield alongside him.”
After playing hoops at Springfield Central High School, Best was recruited by Georgia Tech and then drafted by the Indiana Pacers. He’s also played for the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and the New Jersey Nets. Now, his career has pivoted into the emerging cannabis industry. The industry in Massachusetts surpassed $1 billion in gross sales in November, two years after legal adult-use purchases began.
“After doing a bit of my own research it became immediately apparent that Cookies/Lemonnade is without question the best in the business. I’ve always strived to live up to my last name in all that I do. Combining the best with the Best to deliver a transformative project to the South End neighborhood, the City I love and the entire region is an opportunity I’m extremely excited about,” Best said.
The owners propose to locate the dispensary at 585 Main St. in Springfield’s South End Neighborhood. Lemonnade must be selected for a host community agreement. From there, the company would need to apply for a special permit from the city council and a license from the Cannabis Control Commission.
As part of its proposal, which was put together for a community outreach meeting, Lemonnade says it will dedicate shelf space to products and brands owned by economic empowerment and social equity applicants, that 100% of employees will be Springfield residents, minorities, or have a history of disproportionate impact by drug law enforcement and that employees will be paid a living wage of no less than $20/hour and averaging at $24/hour, and have access to comprehensive benefits.
The site has 41 parking spaces and is close to PVTA bus stops. There is a plan to partner with Common Wealth Murals to brighten the space with public art. Inside, there would be 2,500 square feet including the retail floor and security area.
Additionally, Lemonnade says it has set aside 3,000 square feet to have a training center to help Springfield residents in reducing barriers to getting into the cannabis industry and to identify future Lemonnade employees.
Best also leads the Travis Best Foundation, which helps underserved youth to utilize academic and life resources through sports and arts.