Mary Mart, a retail marijuana shop on Sixth Avenue, is moving across the street to the space formerly occupied by grocer Central Co-op.
Mary Mart owner Damien McDivitt said he started negotiating with the landowner “as soon as lease signs went up” after the co-op vacated the space last summer. Last year, the Central Co-op’s president said the landlord and co-op could not agree on terms, rates and length of a new lease.
Records show Mary Mart filed for an occupancy permit with the city of Tacoma on Friday, and a planner approved it that day.
Tuesday morning, Mary Mart employees were moving the store’s inventory from its previous location at 3005 Sixth Ave., across the street to the new location at 3002 Sixth Ave.
“It’s historically been a successful place for neighborhood markets and it’s an iconic property in the heart of Sixth Avenue. We definitely want to be a part of that and be an anchor tenant of the neighborhood,” McDivitt said by phone.
McDivitt said the new location will have a 3,800-square-foot sales floor, compared with the prior location’s 900 square feet. Initially, the store will operate in a fraction of the new building. First, he wants to renovate the space.
“Once we are established there, we are having a designer submit plans for a high-end marketplace, similar to Metro Market or Whole Foods,” McDivitt said.
He hopes those changes can be in place before summer.
McDivitt said the store plans to reopen in part of the building as soon as the Liquor and Cannabis Board approves a license for the new location.
The move will increase Mary Mart’s visibility, McDivitt said.
Mary Mart’s former location, in a small strip mall, was less obvious, he said. Sometimes customers would call from the corner because they couldn’t find the storefront. State laws limit how marijuana business can advertise their location. McDivitt hopes to commission a mural to act as a landmark once summer rolls around.
“I’ve obviously planned to be a very good tenant and steward of that property,” McDivitt said. “… It’s a chance to dress up the area and make it colorful and bright.”
Property owner Ewald “John” Loesch said he was sad to see the co-op go, and was initially leery when the marijuana shop reached out to him around August last year. But he said he checked the background of the business owner and talked to others in the neighborhood and heard McDivitt was a responsible business owner.
Mary Mart has a seven-and-a-half-year lease, with an option to renew for another seven and a half years, Loesch said.
“I’m hoping it turns out to be a good business for the neighborhood,” Loesch said.