EagleHerald Staff Writer

MENOMINEE—The new Rize marijuana store slated to open in Menominee will create 25 to 40 new jobs, with most paying about $16.75 an hour, the company said.

First Property Holdings, which uses the name Rize for its operations, purchased the 2.5 acre property at 3213 10th Street in Menominee where Stang Sales and Service previously operated for $900,000, Stang owner Sue Polito said.

Bill Wentworth, husband of 1st Property Holdings/Rize owner Julie Wentworth, said the sale price of the property zoned appropriate for marijuana retail was “about double what it should have been.”

“Anytime marijuana comes to town, prices escalate,” Wentworth said.

First Property Holdings, which has stores in Iron Mountain and Marquette, was attracted to Menominee because of its location as a border city with Wisconsin.

Area residents who turned out for an auction Sept. 28 designed to clear out inventory and equipment at Stang Sales and Service saw the potential for new tax dollars from a marijuana business. “I’m open minded on it if they want to tax it and make money on it. It’s a sign of the times,” said Chad Denowski of Wisconsin.

Travis Theuerkauf of Menominee said Stang’s closing was going to leave a void in truck sales and repair. But he doesn’t oppose a marijuana store. “Everybody’s got to make money their own way. It doesn’t bother me,” he said.

First Property Holdings/Rize received the Menominee City Council’s approval Sept. 20 to open an adult-use recreational marijuana store. It has 180 days to open, and it hopes to meet the deadline. But whether six months will be adequate given the pandemic remains to be seen. “We’d love to be open in 180 days,” Wentworth said.

Wentworth said he selected the Stang location because it had an existing building 1st Property could improve and also space for new construction, which would net the company more points on the application rubric than just constructing a new building on a vacant lot. “The sites are selected because of the way the rubric is designed,” he said, referring to the application rubric the City of Menominee used to screen companies. First Property/Rize received 48 out of 50 points on its application.

First Property plans to remodel the existing Stang building and build another that also could have other tenants. “We’re doing a little demolition and then remodeling it,” Wentworth said about the existing building. It’s still working on the design. The large piece of property it purchase provides ample space for cars to enter and exit from 10th Street.

“We did a lot of work to the point of being chosen, but nobody has blueprints drawn that I’m aware of. Everything is going to be remodeled with some new portions to it,” Wentworth said.

First Property Holdings also submitted an application for a retail store at 2110 10th Street, where BigBoy used to be, Wentworth said, but it would have required a special-use permit. “I decided that wasn’t going to happen,” he said. That application had four points deducted for not constructing a new facility.

Both First Property retail applications lost two points for not paying all employees at least 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, according to city documents.

The company, which has stores in Iron Mountain and Marquette, was attracted to Menominee “primarily because of the lack of marijuana in Wisconsin,” Wentworth said. “It’s a great border crossing for all of those people who use marijuana.”

But it’s not just Wisconsin residents Rize hopes to serve, Wentworth said. The new store also will put marijuana miles closer to many people in the lower part of the Upper Peninsula.