The Brewer family are behind the first independent, Black-owned cannabis dispensary in Chicago called the Grasshopper Club. The dispensary, with its flagship store in Logan Square, was established by two brothers Matthew Brewer and Chuck Brewer, and their mother Dianne Brewer.
Since the launch of its first location in February, the cannabis brand has taken the industry, which is white-dominated, by storm. Nonetheless, Matthew said the journey has been challenging in the family’s quest to become a household name in the industry, according to Blockclubchicago.
Now the cannabis brand has opened a second location further south, located at 58 E Roosevelt Road. The new location, just like the first, will employ people with enough experience in the cannabis industry. And according to Chuck, the new location allows their business to create jobs and provide economic support for people excluded from the cannabis space due to structural restrictions.
“This is a spot where, six months ago, some of these managers came in as entry-level bud tenders, so six months later to get a significant boost in salary and change your life is a pretty decent,” Chuck told Blockclubchicago.
Launching a new location did not come easy for the family. They had to overcome major obstacles before opening the new location. One of the major challenges was people voicing concerns about traffic and safety issues. This culminated in a meeting where residents urged officials to prevent the opening of the cannabis shop in the South Loop.
However, with his sharp persuasion skills, Mathew was able to convince those who objected to the opening of the dispensary. Also, some residents apologized to the family for their initial resistance, according to Mathew. Some were also present during the launch of the second location.
“We’ve been in business now [in Logan Square] for six months, so we have a sense of what works and what doesn’t,” Matthew said. “We’ve engaged with numerous organizations, buildings, and officials to get through this process, and then we put together a dream team of staff who are from the community, who are experts at service, experts at the plant.”
He continued “I think it’s going to be really special for the neighborhood. There aren’t many neighborhoods left in the city that don’t have a dispensary. South Loop is such a remarkable neighborhood, and the fact that we can be the first in that neighborhood, I think it’s going to be game changing.”
According to Blockclubchicago, the new location was a restaurant the family acquired and repurposed. The family invested $650,000 into the new project, and 18 months to repurpose the restaurant.