COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Confluence Cannabis co-owner Mara Kore (left) and receptionist Bailey Dodson (right) stand under Confluence Cannabis’ logo in the reception area Friday. Confluence Cannabis, a brand-new locally-owned recreational marijuana shop, opened its doors in Three Rivers last week.COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - A view inside the shop area of Confluence Cannabis. The store offers a variety of recreational marijuana products, including the traditional flower, edibles, concentrates, and other items.

Locally-owned Confluence Cannabis opens shop in Three Rivers

THREE RIVERS — The first cannabis company to receive a retail permit in Three Rivers became the second recreational marijuana store to open in the city last week.

Confluence Cannabis, located in the old Goodwill building at 104 S. U.S. 131, opened its doors to the public officially on July 18, culminating in a grand opening party this past Friday that brought food trucks, live music and hundreds of people throughout the day to the brand-new establishment.

The grand opening was the culmination of a year-long journey for Confluence owner Mara Kore, one of the first business ventures for the Fabius Township resident.

“It feels so exciting to be here and to be able to be part of this town. We all live here, our staff and everybody, we're all from here. We're not a chain, this is our only business, and we hope to make it a really good asset to the community,” Kore said. “This is my first time I'm starting a business in my life. We've got a lot of time, blood, sweat and tears invested in this, and we hope it's successful and people like it as much as we do.”

Confluence Cannabis offers a number of recreational marijuana products, including the traditional flower marijuana, edibles such as gummies or chocolates, concentrates such as oils or hash, and other items such as topical creams, transdermal patches and tinctures. Kore said while they don’t grow their own product, they do their best to try to find “the best products for the best prices.”

Inside the store, Kore described the feel as “rural-industrial” with “a little lake” and “a little town” inspiring the lake house-like design, which she said makes the store “open, airy and welcoming.” In addition, the shop section of the store has a window into their processing room, where customers can watch people as they weigh out their product in real time.

Being a locally-owned company, Kore said, is one way she hopes the company stands out among some of the other marijuana businesses, current and future, in the county. She said she hopes to create a community and culture with the store and become a part of the Three Rivers community.

“It's not gonna be a big box store, you won't just feel like a number here. You'll see the same people when you come shop here; we're going to be here,” Kore said. “Time will tell whether we can stay afloat amidst all of the corporate cannabis, but we certainly hope so. Three Rivers is really good at supporting its local businesses, whether it's restaurants or whatever, and we want to become one of those.”

Part of Kore’s interest in starting a marijuana business in the city comes from her background in plant biology. She called cannabis “one of the more fascinating plants humans have discovered,” and that people have “only really scratched the surface of what it can do for people.”

“I'm really excited to be part of that whole R&D aspect of the industry, and this is a way to get my foot in the door,” Kore said.

Starting up her own business with something that appealed to her interests was another reason Kore started Confluence.

“Living out here, I've been looking for a way to figure out a really good job I want to do for a long time, and having a small business has always been something I've been interested in doing, and the timing kind of worked out,” Kore said. “Confluence is the flowing together of multiple things, and for me it's the flowing together of a lot of my interests. I like being here in Three Rivers, I like being part of a business and I like cannabis. It was just the right place and the right time.”

The name Confluence Cannabis, Kore said, is also a tribute to Three Rivers’ namesake, the confluence of the three rivers in the city.

“We wanted to pay tribute to the city in some way, and that name came to me one day and it stuck and everyone else loved it,” Kore said.

Business so far at Confluence has been busy, Kore said, saying they have been busier “by a significant amount” with each day they are open. So far, she said, the community has been supportive of their business.

“Of course, it's not for everyone, and there are people that aren't into it, but the vast majority of people have been super supportive,” Kore said.

As far as future plans, Kore said at this time she expects Confluence to remain just a retail business and not get into any other aspects of the marijuana business, such as growing and processing, adding that the growing market is “way oversaturated” at the moment. However, she said one other aspect has piqued her interest and may consider down the road: having a consumption area in the building.

“The city, as far as I know, the ordinance doesn't mention [consumption areas] one way or the other. We'd like to get this place established, see how it does, and then we'll take the next step when it seems like the appropriate time,” Kore said. “We're going to wait and see, but we'd like to use more of the building for sure.”

However, the biggest goal at the moment for Kore and her team is to make the business the best it can be.

“We want to make this the best dispensary in Three Rivers, and we want to keep developing this property to really turn it into a destination,” Kore said.

Confluence Cannabis is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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