Stripping Down to Ramp Profits Up: Topless Dispensary Coming to Whately, Massachusetts

Topless Dispensary

Let’s set the scene

a small, quaint town of 1,607 set in one of the most competitive cannabis industries in America. A strip club that looks more like a run-down church than a nightclub. Two down-on-their-luck entrepreneurs who are looking for an innovative way to recover post-pandemic. Their solution? Scrap the alcohol and dancing, substitute in marijuana, and keep the nudity.

A winning formula, right? Well, co-owners Nick Spagnola and Julius Sokol certainly think so–and we agree!

Here’s the low-down on their trailblazing business proposal. 

The Importance of Innovation in the Marijuana Industry

As Spagnola and Sokol, the owners of Club Castaway, Franklin County’s only strip club, experienced first-hand, COVID-19 related closures hit hard–and, with their doors only being set to reopen in the Spring of 2023, pivoting into immediate profitability is crucial for the future of the business. Luckily, both co-owners aren’t new to the cannabis industry. With Sokol being the owner of Massachusetts Green Retail Inc. and Spagnola the co-owner of East Boston Bloom LLC, they’ve been debating the best way for Club Castaway to potentially become a standout in the state’s multi-billion-dollar marijuana industry for years.

After all, with over 200 clothed dispensaries already thriving in Massachusetts, they knew their idea had to be novel: and, with Club Castaway set to become the state’s first topless dispensary, they’re paving the way for other dispensaries to consider what that profitability and approval process may look like. “The market is very saturated. There are a lot of operators, and everyone is offering the same experience,” Spagnola said in an interview with the Boston Business Journal. “This is definitely a way to stand out while also keeping the spirit of the existing business alive.” 

Topless Dispensary: Is Canada Taking Inspiration?

During the 2020 shutdown of non-essential Canadian business–physical dispensaries and strip clubs included–many business owners offering adult entertainment had to think on their feet. Between the “McDonalds gone wild” atmosphere of Calgary strip-club-turned-fast-food-joint Strip Joint Chicken and multiple strip clubs offering food and drink delivery services via platforms like Uber, it seems like pairing nudity with marijuana is the next frontier in terms of adult entertainment expansion. With the marijuana industry in the United States alone now worth a growing $1.4 billion, this “cannabis with a twist” mentality should be ringing bells for dispensary owners across North America. “We do have some experience on the cannabis side and some on the nudity side,” Spagnola said, going on to state that they could succeed in bringing “cannabis tourism” to the small town. “We want to replace this night club scene and alcohol with something that is harmless in comparison.”

So what’s next for Club Castaway? When the idea for the club’s new direction was floated to the Zoning Board of Appeals, Select Board Chair Joyce Palmer-Fortune thanked Spagnola and Sokol for keeping them in the loop on their business plans and noted there are “a lot of legal questions” ahead of the two of them. Fellow Select Board member Fred Baron said they could revisit all the necessary requirements when they had “firmer plans” to discuss; however, neither seemed opposed to the idea. As for the rest of North America? Well, we’re keeping our eyes peeled–and want to know what your thoughts are on it!

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