Black Women Behind Wicker Park Dispensary Also Opening Shop In Former South Loop Dinner Theater

Andrew M. Santos

SOUTH LOOP — The sisters behind a proposed Wicker Park cannabis dispensary recently won key approval to launch a South Loop location, but an ongoing lawsuit about how the state doled out recreational weed licenses will delay how soon the shop can open.

Sisters Loretta and Priscilla Foster, who are behind Foster and Green LLC, plan to open a 6,000-square-foot shop at 2114 S. Wabash Ave., the former home of Tommy’s Gun Garage. Their proposal was approved by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals earlier this month.

As at the Wicker Park operation, the Fosters are majority owners but got key backing from Dispensary 33. Paul Lee, Gene Moreno and brothers Bryan and Zach Zises sold their two Dispensary 33 locations in Andersonville and the West Loop to Florida-based cannabis company Ayr Wellness last year.

The team used cash from the sale to partner with social equity applicants and open pot shops in Chicago, Bryan Zises said at the time.

Steep Architecture Studio’s Jaime Magaliff will oversee the South Loop store’s construction.

The sisters have a social service background, spokesperson Gené Moreno told residents during a recent 3rd Ward meeting.

Navy veteran Loretta Foster mentors unhoused individuals in recovery, and Priscilla Foster is a certified drug and alcohol counselor with 30 years of experience, Moreno said. The Fosters plan to invest revenue back into the community by supporting programs focused on helping families in need, Moreno said.

Store hires would come from the immediate area, with proposed hours of operation 9 a.m.-9 p.m., though the team is looking to the community for input. A security plan created by Rescue 8 CEO Saquan Gholar calls for two on-site guards and more than 40 surveillance cameras around the store and the 9,000 square-foot parking lot. The Illinois State Police would monitor the cameras.

Priscilla Foster thanked Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) for her support and said she looked forward to working with neighbors.

Moreno said the team hopes to start construction in three to six months. But multiple lawsuits challenging the fairness of the state cannabis license lottery are ongoing, indefinitely postponing the awarding of permits for recreational weed dispensaries.

Credit: Provided.
Architect Jaime Magaliff goes over the layout of the Green and Foster South Loop dispensary with residents during a recent town hall meeting.

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