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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Aug. 16, 202212:10 AM EST

Cannabis dispensary planned at former Black Creek Outfitters store

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Insa Jacksonville wants to lease the building in Town Center for its flagship Florida location.

The next use for the former specialty outdoor retailer Black Creek Outfitters property near St. Johns Town Center is designed for further recreation and relaxation.

Insa Jacksonville wants to lease and renovate the 13,910-square-foot building into a Florida flagship location for a cannabis dispensary. 

Insa, founded in Massachusetts, says it offers premium cannabis in formats and functions “to help wind you up, calm you down, ease your ailments — and whatever you need in between.”

It labels itself “cannabis for real life.”

“Insa’s mission is to help more people have better days more often,” said an email from the company.

Insa expects to open in Jacksonville by year-end. The store is at 10051 Skinner Lake Drive.

The closed Black Creek Outfitters building is becoming a cannabis dispensary.

“As soon as we are approved, we will start the transformation,” the company said in an email Aug 11.

Insa has four free-standing locations in its home state of Massachusetts. It has distribution through wholesale partners across that state and Pennsylvania.

It opened a dispensary in Tampa on Aug. 15. 

By the end of 2022, Insa said it will open 16 new locations across Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Insa said 10 Florida dispensaries will open in 2022 in Cape Coral, Clearwater, Hudson, Jacksonville, Lake Placid, Largo, Orlando, Tallahassee, Tampa and The Villages.

The St. Johns Town Center area, which is at Butler Boulevard and Interstate 295, provides easy access for its customers, it said.

Plans show the former Black Creek structure will be used for a dispensary department, classroom, delivery bay, warehouse, vault warehouse, self-order area, and other uses, including a kitchenette and break room.

Insa pre-rolls are "ready-to-go for immediate enjoyment." the company says on its website. (Insa)

Insa is working on plans to use Skinner Lake behind the building where Black Creek demonstrated products.

“We’ll be sure to share that information once the lake experience is set,” it said.

The almost 14,000-square-foot store “allows us to create more immersive experiences for our customers.”

“From our custom flower wall to our classroom, we will be able to not only educate our customers about cannabis, but we also get to celebrate the craftsmanship and quality of our products across all categories,” it said.

Insa said that unlike most dispensaries with products in cases along the perimeter or behind the cash wrap where customers pay, Insa’s retail experience will be more interactive. 

“Displays will be on the retail floor so customers can directly engage with products to better learn about the ingredients, formats and benefits,” it said.

“Insa is focused on breaking down the barrier between the patient and the associate so that there may be more direct, comfortable dialogue,” without a line forming behind them at a counter.

“Insa aims to eliminate any pressure points to make a decision. Instead, patients are allowed to ask questions and leverage the knowledgeable associates to guide them through the experience.”

The company said state laws regulate product distribution. Medical marijuana is legal in Florida but with restrictions.

Insa said the product approval process in Florida is lengthy. 

“We are still working through our Florida product profile,” it said.

Videos on the Insa website show its products being used poolside and in candy form. (Insa)

Insa says that in Florida, it will focus on servicing the medical community in alignment with state regulations and will offer patients a one-stop shop for cannabis needs.

“Insa is focused on leading the field and advancing cannabis for everyone,” Insa co-founder Pete Gallagher said in a statement.

“We look forward to furthering education about cannabis, growing our community in Florida, and helping more people have better days more often.

The company said best friends Gallagher and Pat Gottschlicht founded Insa in 2013 in Springfield, Massachusetts, where they lived.

Insa is named for two dominant strains — indica and sativa —  of the plant.

Black Creek Outfitters, a specialty outdoor retailer, closed early this year after 39 years in business in Orange Park and in Jacksonville.

Black Creek Outfitters opened in 1997 in what was then a relatively undeveloped part of Duval County along Butler Boulevard.

Joe Butler Sr. and his wife, Helen, sold the building and property Sept. 29, 2021, for $3 million to real estate investment company VDM Orange Retail LLC of Orlando.

Even though Black Creek was profitable, the uncertainty of the supply chain along with the $3 million property purchase price convinced the Butlers it was time to sell and close.

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