Unity Rd. thrives with marketplace opportunities | Global Franchise
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Friday 9th December, 2022

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Unity Rd. thrives with marketplace opportunities

North America

Unity Rd. thrives with marketplace opportunities

As support for cannabis legalization increases across the U.S., the budding market opportunity grows with Unity Rd.

Content Partnership*

Over the past decade, cannabis’ public approval has grown far and wide, while legalization has spread rapidly across the country. The once taboo plant is quickly becoming a daily staple in many homes across the U.S.

Last year, four states legalized cannabis through their legislatures. So far in 2022, Rhode Island has legalized recreational use, and at least a half dozen other states could have legalization questions on their upcoming 2022 November ballots, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Maryland.

As it stands, some 19 states have embraced full, adult-use legalization, while 19 others have implemented medical cannabis programs. If all of those campaigns succeed this November, half of the states in the union would allow adults to possess — and purchase — cannabis legally.

According to Pew Research Center, national polls have consistently shown that roughly two-thirds of Americans back legalization, and this enthusiasm appears to cut across barriers of age, gender and race. Support for legalization is even higher among younger voters, while the fastest-growing population of cannabis users is over 60. In this wave of growth, the franchising model has filled a perfect niche, offering business owners the support they need to navigate legislation, the marketplace and the dynamic environment that is the cannabis space.

Enter Unity Rd.

Unity Rd., the first cannabis dispensary franchise in the U.S. has grown at a stunning rate by helping local entrepreneurs enter cannabis dispensary ownership.

The franchise and its parent company, Item 9 Labs Corp., have experienced momentous growth and continue to expand its retail operations across the U.S. – in July alone, dispensaries were opened in North Denver, Colorado and Hartford, South Dakota, marking the latter’s first medical cannabis establishment to open in the market.

The franchise brand opened its first franchised cannabis dispensary in 2021 with a father-son entrepreneur duo in Boulder, Colorado, and has another shop in operation in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The franchisor has a development pipeline with more than 20 entrepreneurial groups who are expanding the brand across 10- plus states.

This past year, Unity Rd. signed multiple agreements to enter several new medicinal and adult-use cannabis markets, including New Jersey, Maine, Virginia, Michigan, New Mexico, among others.

Growing Colorado roots

The cannabis dispensary franchise recently helped its local partner secure license approval for a dispensary near the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver. Additionally, Unity Rd.’s parent company in March signed an Asset Purchase Agreement to acquire The Herbal Cure, a medicinal and recreational dispensary and cultivator operating in Washington Park. The shop will be rebranded to Unity Rd. within six months of closing the acquisition and eventually become the brand’s flagship location.

As one of the most mature cannabis markets in the U.S., Colorado has been setting records in sales year-over-year since the launch of its adult-use program in January 2014. Since then, Colorado’s adult-use cannabis market has generated $12.2bn in sales, according to the state’s Department of Revenue. In 2021, Colorado saw one of its highest annual revenue numbers with $2.2bn generated across both the medical and adult-use markets. It is a prime example of the cannabis industry’s future potential.

South Dakota trailblazers

Additionally, in July, the brand’s first partners in South Dakota opened one of the first non-tribal, state-licensed medical cannabis establishments in Hartford, a suburb of Sioux Falls.

From offering a curated cannabis experience that is focused on local patient card holders to hiring local talent, the Hartford shop is engrained in its community and allows for a culture unique to the neighborhood to shine through. Patients can expect the highest quality medical cannabis products available, continuously evolving as the emerging market grows. The shop’s approachable and welcoming team members have gone through a robust training program and will be consistently staying up to date on the latest industry trends and product knowledge.

Making news in New Mexico

Another Unity Rd. partner received state approval to open three dispensaries throughout New Mexico this year, further solidifying its position as a fast-growing leader in cannabis franchising. The franchise recently helped the entrepreneur secure state approval for dispensary licenses of all three shops and will be assisting the team in moving forward with potential development.

The future shops are poised for success with the state’s legalization of adult-use cannabis in 2021 and market opening later this year. Entrance into New Mexico marks 10 states, from coast-to-coast, where Unity Rd. partners are in various stages of development – fulfilling the dispensary franchise’s mission to keep dispensary ownership local.

Cross-border connections

Taking the success across the border, the Company announced in May that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sessions Cannabis, one of Canada’s largest cannabis retail franchisors.

“This is a transformative acquisition that fast-tracks our entry into the Canadian market and brings tremendous value to our shareholders,” said Item 9 Labs Corp. CEO Andrew Bowden. “With an exponential increase in store count across North America, this acquisition would transition us from being a multi-state operator to an international cannabis company and the largest global cannabis franchisor. The potential to accelerate growth through both franchising and additional opportunistic acquisitions is immense. This is simply the first step to much deeper market penetration, both in Ontario and other provinces.”

Founded in 2019, Sessions currently has 44 stores throughout the Province of Ontario, the majority of which are in prime retail shopping centers, typically anchored by national tenants. The Ontario-based business has a franchise system comprised of 15-plus franchisees, the majority of which are multi-unit owners, and plans to continue its growth across Canada.

Proof positive

This level of head-turning growth is proof positive that the franchise model is uniquely suited to shape today’s market opportunities. Easing barriers to entry, the franchise provides an opportunity for both new and existing dispensary owners to leverage the knowledge, resources and ongoing support needed to thrive in their state compliantly and successfully.

And it is no wonder that Unity Rd. has emerged as a leader in the space – it brings the best industry practices to markets nationwide through distinctive retail experience, cultivation capabilities and product innovation. The veteran management team combines 200 years of diverse skill sets with deep experience in the cannabis sector, franchising and the capital markets to lead a new generation of public cannabis companies that provide transparency, consistency and well-being.

At a glance

Year established: 2018
Number of franchised outlets: 2
Number of corporate outlets: 2
Location of units: United States
· Boulder, Colorado (franchisee-owned)
· Hartford, South Dakota (franchisee-owned)
· North Denver, Colorado (corporate-owned)
· Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (corporate-owned)
Investment range: $1m-2.5m
Minimum required capital: $1m
Contact: opportunities@unityrd.com unityrd.com

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