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Williamstown's Cynthia Payne holds up the first purchase at Silver Therapeutics as principal Josh Silver looks on. In the rear is the controlled access door from the lobby to the sales floor.
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The Silver Therapeutics sales floor, which only can be accessed by customers with valid identification.
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North County's First Pot Retailer Opens in Williamstown

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Cynthia Payne was a little disappointed not to see a line of people in front of Silver Therapeutics waiting for its 10 a.m. opening on Wednesday.
 
The longtime Williamstown resident was looking forward to "jumping the line" to be the marijuana retailer's first official customer, a distinction she planned in advance with principal Josh Silver.
 
"I've lived here in Williamstown for 30 years, and I very much support Joshua's new business," Payne said before entering the sales floor though the lobby where Silver Therapeutics employees check identifications. "I think that cannabis products should be available to everyone."
 
And she was proud to be the first one at North County's first dispensary, even though she knows not all residents are on board with the idea of a recreational marijuana retailer in the Colonial Plaza on Main Street (Route 2).
 
"At my age, I am way past the time when I worry about getting judged by other people," Payne joked.
 
On a serious note, Payne recognized that there are still people who have reservations about recreational pot, even in a town that voted solidly in the majority on 2016's Question 4, which decriminalized cannabis in the commonwealth.
 
"I'm on the boards of a lot of organizations here and volunteer for a lot of organizations, and there are still mixed feelings with some people," Payne said. "They still equate [cannabis] with the gateway drug to heroin, you know, that kind of thing.
 
"So I know there is concern with some people with security issues and college and high school kids getting in, but I've talked to Josh, and there are a lot of security measures here."
 
Silver, who lives in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., was on hand Wednesday morning with his partners to help check IDs and make sure the opening went smoothly.
 
Although there was no line for Payne to jump, there was one customer on hand when the doors opened at 10 a.m. and a several more who trickled in during the first few minutes of operation.
 
According to Silver and CEO Brendan McKee, business likely would pick up later in the day; the dispensary is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, to accommodate customers with all schedules.
 
And Silver said Wednesday that the business could have had its grand opening four days earlier but chose to open midweek in order to allow its approximately 15 employees to operate for a few days without a big rush.
 
"It just seemed like the wrong move," Silver said of opening on Saturday, April 20, to take advantage of the marketing potential of opening on 4/20, an acknowledged holiday in the cannabis community. "You know, we didn't want our reputation to be that we were in over our heads or anything like that, which easily could have been the case opening on a big day like that — basically Christmas for the cannabis community."
 
All went smoothly on Wednesday morning, allowing Silver and his staff to even let local media inside the selling room for a peek as the initial customers browsed and purchased.
 
Initially, Silver Therapeutics offers three point-of-sale spots inside the small showroom, and it will have six to eight employees on hand at any time, ensuring a high staff-to-customer ratio. The store's lobby — all that is visible through the storefront window — allows customers to queue and go through an initial ID check before they are admitted.
 
A second ID check is performed inside the sales room before a transaction is completed.
 
Going forward, the business plans to offer online ordering that will allow customers to have their product waiting on their arrival at the store.
 
For opening day, Silver Therapeutics offered a variety of products ranging in price from $18 to $60.
 
Payne, who entered the store not knowing for sure what she would purchase, emerged with a 100 mg portion of a milk chocolate edible product that retails for $42 before tax.
 
"Chocolate and THC, the way to a woman's heart," Payne joked.

Tags: marijuana,   

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New Williams Inn Opens on Spring Street

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Chef Kevin DeMarco has put together a menu informed by local produce. He is part of leadership team appointed by Waterford Hotel Group, which manages the hotel for Williams College.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The new Williams Inn is positioned to be a catalyst for the town's retail center on Spring Street as well as a bucolic retreat for guests — as exampled by the deer grazing near the patio this week.  
 
"We really want to be an indoor/outdoor experience," said Kevin Hurley, the inn's general manager, during a press preview just days before the hotel's opening on Thursday. "We will see a lot of those features, again with the windows, and just the way the hotel feels is really connecting ourselves to the outside." 
 
The $32 million, 64-room hotel at the bottom of Spring and Latham streets replaces the 100-room original hotel at Field Park that closed on July 31. The older inn, purchased by Williams College in 2014, was considered outdated and energy inefficient for an institution that's committed itself to sustainability. 
 
That commitment can be seen throughout the 58,000 square-foot three-story New England-style structure — from its reclaimed wood to its high-performance facade and solar PV array. 
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