Flower Power Dispensers Set To Be UWS’s First Legal Recreational Weed Store

The store, which is currently under construction at W. 66th St., is scheduled to open to the public in a few weeks. Angelo Kitkas, the owner, said he is looking to hire locally and help out the community.

| 14 Mar 2024 | 04:25

The Upper West Side is getting its first legal adult-use recreational weed store. Flower Power Dispensers, which is set to open in a few weeks, will be located down the block from Central Park on W. 66th St. It will open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Spirit got an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the the store’s roomy interior, which is still under construction. Designated “bud tenders” are being hired to serve customers, with local UWS residents reportedly being given preference. Angelo Kitkas, the store’s owner, said that he’s received over 1,000 applications for these positions so far.

In order to get Flower Power open on time, he joked, he’s doing a “no-days-off challenge” for 30 days straight. The space had been a fully kitted-out thrift store as recently as February, making Kitkas’s truncated schedule seem all the more demanding. He’s also an electrician by trade, however, meaning that “the construction side is something we know. I’m confident that we’ll be open by our target date.”

Kitkas, who has a CAURD license–or Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License–for Flower Power, said that he’s been involved in the “flower business” since 1997. “Back in ‘04, I got into a little bit of trouble. I got arrested with a pound of marijuana,” he noted.

According to the OCM, the CAURD program is intended to rectify “the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis prohibition.” With his prior legal history, Kitkas was a perfect candidate for such a license.

As far as location goes, Kitkas didn’t have to think too hard about selecting the Upper West Side. Breaking into a wide grin, he said that “it’s a beautiful neighborhood. You’ve got Lincoln Center up the block, Central Park, great community out here too.”

Helping out the surrounding neighborhood is one of the overarching missions of Flower Power, he said. “Whatever we bring in, four percent goes to the community,” Kitkas said.

Customer satisfaction is crucial, of course: “We’re looking to provide one of the best experiences you can have on the Upper West Side. We have quality products, something that you know has already been checked and tested. It’s gonna hit. You’re not gonna have a product that’s gonna do nothing.”

This is partially where the aforementioned bud tenders come in. “If a customer were to come in and, let’s say, ask for something for their back. They’re gonna have something to recommend.” Whether you want an “upper experience or a lower experience” from marijuana, the shop will have a personalized feel because of these employees, Kitkas said.

Once they get past security, customers will be able to tailor their shopping modes, Kitkas explained; they can browse at a number of kiosks, or if they’re in hurry they can use a quick-stop concierge service. A mural designed by college students is being floated as a possible wall decoration.

Now that the UWS has a recreational cannabis licensee in Kitkas, it may mean that that the unlicensed and illegal pop-ups that have proliferated in the neighborhood are beginning to slowly lose ground. However, he has also wisely chosen a chunk of the area with few shops at all, meaning that he might just acquire some impressive market share. As for now, though, product storage is being built and lighting crews are toiling away.