SF’s first Latina-owned dispensary opens to big crowd in Union Square

SF’s first Latina-owned dispensary opens to big crowd in Union SquareImage: Joe Kukura, Hoodline
Joe Kukura
Published on October 09, 2020

We reported in February that an upscale cannabis dispensary was coming to the Union Square luxury shopping district, but that particular shop is now choked up over a corporate acquisition gone bad. So a different new marijuana dispensary Stiiizy Union Square — San Francisco’s first Latina-owned dispensary — opened this morning at 180 O’Farrell Street to an eager crowd and long lines that went around the block and way up Powell Street in an otherwise still-desolate Union Square.

Image: Shryne Group

For owner and Sunnydale native Cindy De La Vega, the Union Square shop’s opening was like a homecoming. “I used to drop my mom off for work here on Powell, she cleaned hotel rooms,” De La Vega tells Hoodline. “I would walk around this neighborhood just to kill time when I waited for her to get off. Here I am back now, at the opening of my cannabis dispensary. It’s been a long time coming.  

“I haven’t slept in three days. It’s just a beautiful thing.”

Image: Joe Kukura, Hoodline

Easily a hundred customers were lined up for the store’s Friday morning opening, and staff had their hands full keeping the line socially distanced, but also keeping them hydrated by passing out free water bottles from a Stiiizy-branded cart. 

Image: Shryne Group

Stiiizy Union Square is part of a retail chain of now four shops statewide (There’s also Stiiizy Mission at Mission and 29th Streets), and the shop’s chic boutique interior fits in well with its upscale Union Square retail neighbors. The Stiiizy shops are all run by a larger cannabis holding company called Shryne Group, though De La Vega’s ownership stake and CEO position complies with the San Francisco Office of Cannabis equity program “designed to lower barriers to cannabis licensing for those hardest hit by the War on Drugs.”   

“They already have 51% Latinos that work at this company,” De La Vega says. “The partnership with Shryne has been amazing, they’ve supported me and helped me through this whole process as far as teaching me this business so that I am successful.”

Obviously, COVID-19 complicated the dispensary’s timeline. “We were planning on opening on 4/20,” she tells us. “Unfortunately we were hit by this nasty virus. But here we are now. That’s another thing to be honored and blessed at, that we are here when so many others have already lost their lives.”  

Image: Joe Kukura, Hoodline

With so many Union Square neighbors either boarded up or plastered with “For Rent” signs, it’s a puff of fresh air to see a grand opening with a big enthusiastic crowd of shoppers. So much of Hoodline’s Union Square coverage lately has been in the This Week in Business Closings section, but for one day, at least, we welcome some business news of a different ‘kind.’