CUMBERLAND — Representatives of the Grow West Cannabis Co. broke ground Wednesday on construction of a new facility that’s expected to result in the hiring of 100 additional employees in the future.
A medical marijuana producer, Grow West built an extensive grow operation in the former Kelly-Springfield Tire Co. complex on Kelly Road, which opened in March 2018 with 18 employees.
“Since our inception, Grow West has been proud to be a partner in the growth of Western Maryland’s economy,” said William Valois, Grow West CEO. “With this ground breaking ceremony today, Grow West is embarking on a $20 million expansion of our Kelly Road facilities. While this is noteworthy, the project represents so much more.”
Valois said the expansion will build on $14 million already invested in Allegany County as well as doubling the employee base. According to Valois, the company currently has nearly 100 employees and expects to add 100 new jobs to its workforce when the construction of the facility is completed.
In a Times-News interview after the ceremony, Valois said the structure will be constructed on 47,000 square feet of land, which will create 30,000 square feet of canopy indoor greenhouse space.
“We will grow to five times the size that we are currently now, allowing us to get more medicine to the patients of Maryland,” said Valois. “It’s gratifying just being able to change one person’s life. It means everything. We are offering to enhance someone’s ability to go to work, or whether they have anxiety; it’s a litany of issues that can be resolved or controlled. We get feedback every day of how it is helping people and it is a real motivator to help us do a better job.”
Valois, originally from Frederick, said his family considers Allegany County home.
“The welcome we have received in Allegany County has been overwhelming. We couldn’t be happier to come to Allegany County,” said Valois. “Everyone is so helpful and we are grateful and we happy to make a difference in Allegany County.”
Valois thanked the Allegany County Board of Commissioners and the many officials and employees who have contributed to the company’s success.
Numerous elected officials, business leaders and Grow West employees attended the event, which included the ceremonial turning of shovels full of soil. Those who spoke at the event included Jake Shade, Allegany County Commission president; Del. Jason Buckel, Ray Morriss, Cumberland mayor, and Dustin Freas, a local investor.
Freas thanked the Valois family for bringing their business to Allegany County.
“We are standing on a vacant five-acre lot that used to house one of the operations of the Kelly-Springfield Tire Company,” said Freas. “They manufactured a product that went around the world as many of the residents of Allegany County came to this place for a job.
“Today, this spot houses the operations of Grow West. We are celebrating not only the expansion of a business, but an opportunity for another generation of people who call Allegany County home, to invest in our community. It has taken considerable vision to take the shell of what once was, and make it into what can be.”
In July 2019, the company also opened the Grow West Cannabis Co. Dispensary at 1096 W. Industrial Blvd. in South Cumberland.
Grow West was chosen by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission to operate in Western Maryland. The company was fortunate to be considered essential by the state, allowing it to remain open, during the coronavirus pandemic.