Graham Kilmer

Walker’s Point Hemp Store Becoming Cafe

Canni Hemp Company will become a cafe that offers events and non-alcoholic drinks made from the Kava plant.

By - May 18th, 2022 05:21 pm
Canni Hemp Company at 810 S. 5th St. Photo provided by Canni.

Canni Hemp Company at 810 S. 5th St. Photo provided by Canni.

A hemp and CBD shop in Walker’s Point plans to take its business in a new direction.

The owners of Canni Hemp Company, Colin Plant and Megan Haug, are planning to turn their retail shop into a cafe and event space. They bought the building where their store has operated at 810 S. 5th St. in January, with hopes to turn the property into a community destination. The repositioning of their retail shop into a cafe is the next step in that plan, as Plant told Urban Milwaukee.

Canni was opened in 2018 in anticipation of a legal marijuana market. But legalization, Plant said, “doesn’t seem like that’s in the near term unfortunately here, in the State of Wisconsin.”

The plan for the new business model is to operate a cafe and event space that maintains the Canni branding and a reduced retail component, selling some of Canni’s core products. Plant said the business is being modeled after a cafe in New York City called The Alchemist’s Kitchen that has a retail component.

“I think plant-based wellness is really where we’re going to continue to drive, but having CBD alone is something that we want to kind of evolve from,” he said.

They’re applying for permits and licensing now and planning to host events this summer and open the cafe at the beginning of 2023.

In fact, the owners of Canni are planning to introduce a plant-based drink called Kava that will serve as a non-alcoholic option. Kava is made from the root of the Kava plant, which is native to islands in the western Pacific Ocean, according to the U.S National Institutes of Health.

Plant said Kava cafes are becoming more common in other parts of the country, specifically Florida, which “seems to be kind of the mecca of Kava.” The drink produces a “very  similar feeling socially and physically to alcohol without the kind of the inebriation,” he noted.

Other non-alcoholic cocktail concepts don’t seem sustainable in the long term, he said. “You’re basically spending sometimes $15 or $10 for well crafted juice.”

The cafe will also sell wine and beer, and CBD-infused cocktails – they are a cannabis company after all. The plan, Plant said, is also to organize and host small events, like live music; as well as rent space for events.

S. 5th St. is the site of two recent large residential developments. There is the Taxco Apartments currently being constructed that will bring 144 apartments to the street when finished. Element, at the corner of S. 5th St. and W. Mineral St. recently opened with 66 apartments.

Plant noted these new developments will bring more people to the area, and potentially demand for the business he’s planning.

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