GRAND RAPIDS — When indoor dining was prohibited across the state last year and earlier this year because of COVID-19, Davide Uccello turned to the cannabis industry as a sector that managed to be successful despite lockdown orders.
Uccello is the co-owner of Flo’s Collection restaurant group — which operates four restaurants in Kent and Montcalm counties — and he is now also a partner at the new Exclusive Brands dispensary that opens Friday in Grand Rapids. Davide Uccello is related to the owners of Uccello’s Hospitality Group, but Flo’s Collection is separate from the Uccello’s restaurant chain.
Davide Uccello COURTESY PHOTO
Exclusive Brands has partnered with Flo’s Collection in the opening and operation of its new Grand Rapids dispensary that will create 40 retail associate jobs. Under the partnership, Uccello invested in the location and will help oversee hiring and operations.
“The restaurant industry took a very large hit due to COVID-19,” Uccello told MiBiz. “We were looking into the cannabis industry prior to the pandemic, but COVID-19 and the huge accomplishment of cannabis being deemed an essential business sped that process up.”
Exclusive Brands’ flagship location in Ann Arbor was the first licensed recreational cannabis dispensary in Michigan. Exclusive Brands has another location that opened six months ago in Kalamazoo.
The new dispensary in Grand Rapids is located at 2350 29th St. SE. The business is celebrating its grand opening this weekend with a ribbon cutting on Sunday.
The 2,050-square-foot facility is also licensed for cannabis grow operations, which is still in the construction phase but planned to be rolled out in late summer or early fall of 2021, Uccello said.
Exclusive Brands partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan on the build out at the Grand Rapids dispensary that included energy efficiency throughout the