DETROIT (WXYZ) — A Black woman-owned dispensary is among the first equity applicants to begin selling adult-use marijuana within Detroit city limits.
The two ladies behind the business are sisters who grew up on the city's east side. They opened for medical in 2016 on Mack Avenue.
Owners Teri Hargrave and Jaquline Weatherby say at House of Zen, it's all about the customer experience.
They try to greet everyone with an audible welcome and a smile. The atmosphere and interior design is meant to put people at ease, especially those in need of healing.
"In 2013, my husband's oncologists wrote him a script and we saw the benefits of it," Hargrave said.
Hargrave's husband was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Weathersby was his caregiver.
"I had five patients that were under me that I grew cannabis for," Weathersby said.
When he died, they thought, why not make it a business?
"It meant having ownership finally," Hargrave said. "and to build some kind of wealth and be able to give back to your community."
It was all going as planned. Their medical business was booming until 2018, when Michigan went recreational.
"People did not have to purchase that medical marijuana card anymore. They could go out into the suburbs and use their license," Hargrave said. "It was stressful for everybody in the city because it was like dead and yes, some of us had to close."
Unfortunately, the recreational marijuana industry was non-existent in Detroit due to ongoing lawsuits surrounding the city's ordinance.
Hargrave and Weathersby had to claw their way to a license, even though first dibs were supposed to go to Detroiters.
"It took us seven years," Hargrave said.
Now that the word is spreading, business has slowly started to pick back up, and even Hargrave's son took time off his travel nursing schedule to help out in the shop.
"It's been a rollercoaster as far as this business, but they are great role models, both of them," Rodney Hargrave said.
Now, the sisters are two weeks into selling recreational marijuana. They are finally able to take breath and reflect on their success.
"We are so thankful and grateful," Hargrave said.
The House of Zen sisters said as soon as their recreational business stabilizes, they have aspirations to open a grow operation.