A family is creating more job opportunities for those who are formerly incarcerated.
Brothers Matthew and Chuck Brewer, and their mother, Dianne Brewer, have expanded their cannabis business, according to Block Club Chicago.
As previously shared by AFROTECH, earlier this year, the Brewers made history after opening Grasshopper Club, Chicago’s first independent, Black-owned cannabis dispensary. Now, the trio has stuck to their plan of opening a second location this summer in South Loop.
The second opening, however, came with some pushback. The outlet shares that some people in South Loop gathered to demand city officials keep the Grasshopper Club from opening in the neighborhood due to safety and traffic concerns. Thankfully, Matthew was successful in changing folks’ minds and the family was also met with some apologies. With resilience, and using $650,000 over 18 months to bring the vision to fruition, the family has come out on top.
“We’ve engaged with numerous organizations, buildings, officials to get through this process, and then we put together a dream team of staff who are from the community, who are experts at service, experts at the plant,” Matthew said, per the outlet. “I think it’s going to be really special for the neighborhood. There aren’t many neighborhoods left in the city that don’t have a dispensary. South Loop is such a remarkable neighborhood, and the fact that we can be the first in that neighborhood, I think it’s going to be game changing.”
In addition to retail and hospitality veterans, Grasshopper Club employs people who have been previously incarcerated. It’s a full-circle moment for Chuck, who was arrested for marijuana possession on multiple counts during his youth.
“This is a spot where, six months ago, some of these managers came in as entry-level bud tenders, so six months later to get a significant boost in salary and change your life is a pretty decent,” Chuck said, according to the outlet.