Mayor Thomas Bernard helps CEO Anthony Parrinello cut the ribbon on Saturday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A location once known for its “Friendly” atmosphere has reopened with a new product but hopes that residents will still find the same welcoming ambience.
“There’s a clear sky in North Adams,” Mayor Thomas Bernard quipped as he helped Clear Sky Cannabis’ Chief Executive Officer Anthony Parrinello clip a blue ribbon for the shop’s grand opening on a clear and cold Saturday morning.
Those skies were cloudy for a bit as the city’s first cannabis retail shop wound its way through the lengthy state licensing process and then construction slowed as the novel coronavirus pandemic affected the nation a year ago.
A line was at the door for the 10 a.m. opening at the transformed restaurant on State Road. The Friendly’s closed in 2014 and the property was purchased by Clear Sky’s parent company Evergreen Strategies in 2019. The Planning Board had approved the shop a year earlier.
“In my eight years going in ninth year in this business, from where it was when we first started in this space, it’s night and day,” said Parrinello earlier in the week, joking that people would show up at community meetings with “pitchforks and torches.”
That’s changed as communities see how the stores operate and understand the benefits of host agreements that in Clear Sky’s case will mean 3 percent of its gross sales profit will go to the city of North Adams for the next five years and 60 percent of its workers will be city residents.
For Clear Sky, it also means finding talent locally and providing good jobs “that put bread on the table” for area residents, Parrinello said, who added he’d found the city “outstanding” in its welcome.