Business

Chicago's First Independently, Black-Owned Dispensary Opens in Logan Square

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Grasshopper Club is a family affair for the Brewer family, Chicago natives from the city's South Side.

"To become an entrepreneur at this time in my life is just amazing to me," said matriarch Dianne Brewer.

Brewer worked in corporate America for decades and is coming out of retirement to handle accounting for the newest dispensary on Chicago's Northwest side.

"This is so exciting, and I’m so proud of my sons for starting this business so we can have a family legacy," she said.

The store is the first Black, independently-owned dispensary in Chicago. It's also a full circle moment for Chuck Brewer, who was previously arrested on cannabis possession charges.

"For me to do this with my family is a beautiful thing," he said.

Chuck Brewer even made the first purchase at the grand opening Tuesday.

"There’s an old saying 'Don’t get high off your own supply.' In this case I made a special exception," he said.

The dispensary is in a former bank on Milwaukee Avenue. Several local brands are on display, and so are smaller companies hoping to break into the industry.

"Our selection is more curated. We’re independent so we can decide," said owner, Matthew Brewer. "Every single product we’ve chosen to stock was with intention."

Matthew Brewer says the idea started in 2014, when Illinois first legalized medical marijuana. He saw an opportunity then to make a larger impact.

"I had some experience in the space, some relationships in the space, and saw it as an opportunity for us to all do it together," he said on working with his family.

But the process took longer than expected. Brewer applied for a license at the start of 2020. It didn't come through until July of 2022.

The Brewers say they opened the business to change how people explore cannabis, with a focus on concierge-level service. Their goal is to be a part of a diverse ecosystem in an industry that's struggled to make space for minority owners.

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