Jul 14, 2022 - Business

Inside Ayr Wellness, Back Bay's first dispensary

The view of Ayr Wellness dispensary from outside on Boylston Street. The word "Ayr" appears in white text over a black-painted storefront
Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Ayr Wellness, Back Bay's first cannabis dispensary, opened this week across the street from the Prudential Center.

Why it matters: Ayr is just the fourth dispensary in Boston, and it's breaking into a neighborhood known for high-end shopping.

  • "That gets rid of the stigma," says Dwan Packnett, vice president of government relations and community investment for Ayr.

Details: The 4,500-square-foot dispensary has chrome-colored beams and ceilings, which employees liken to the interior of a spaceship.

  • Ayr sells vapes, edibles, flower and other cannabis products on one of the city's busiest streets.
Two employees stand behind the blue counter of a cannabis dispensary, while on speaks with them from in front of the counter.
Is it a spaceship? No, it's a dispensary. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

The intrigue: Ayr is working with Mass CultivateED, a fellowship job training program launched in 2019 in response to the disproportionate impact the War on Drugs has had on Black and brown residents, designed to introduce more people to the cannabis sector.

  • The program teaches people about how cannabis is made and how it's treated under the law before placing them in budtender jobs and other roles at local dispensaries.

Axios Boston stopped by and got a closer look inside before the crowds came.

Ayr Wellness displays its own products on its "wonder wall," a blue circular area on the right wall.
Ayr Wellness displays the company's products on its "wonder wall." Photo: Steph Solis/Axios
A display shows Secret Orchards' box of vape cartridges. The box includes images of strawberries, peaches and blueberries.
Ayr's Secret Orchard line includes five flavors of fruit-forward vapes. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios
A black box with the words Purient Bedroom Cannabis in orange sits on a blue display wall.
Purient Bedroom Cannabis, a personal lubricant produced by Leah and Sieh Samura of Boston, grew out of a startup accelerator run by Sira Naturals, which Ayr acquired three years ago. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios
Two tablet kiosks are placed in front of two silver-colored beams. In between are three shelves featuring cannabis products and a rack of T-shirts.
If you're not feeling social, you can order via one of these tablets and pay in the other room. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios
Three product shelves include baseball caps, a black T-shirt, a multicolored cannabis bowl and other products.
The Back Bay dispensary also sells bowls, bongs and T-shirts. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios
A tablet that's placed in front of the ordering counter at a dispensary shows several products available at the store, as well as their prices, for customers to order.
Ayr set up a tablet alongside every register so customers can spend some time with the menu. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios
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