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Former Shep’s on Fourth Street going from beer to marijuana

CHERIE DIEZ | Times Surterra Wellness stores, like this one on Fowler Avenue in Tampa, have a sleek style unlike other dispensaries.
DIVYA KUMAR | Times Shep\u2019s, once known for craft beers, will be opening at 23rd Avenue N and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.
Wednesday 22 August 2018 06.11

ST. PETERSBURG — It’s gone from a convenience store and deli to a mecca for craft beer drinkers and now the Fourth Street location that housed Shep’s for more than 40 years will become a medical marijuana dispensary.

Surterra Wellness is leasing the 3,000-square-foot building at 2001 Fourth St. N and expected to open by the end of this year. It has already started renovating the store that Shep’s vacated a few months ago.

"The Surterra Wellness brand really struck a chord,’’ said Josh Connell, a partner in Shep’s. "The operators are energetic, the look and feel of the renderings made me think of an Apple Store, not a medical marijuana center."

Surterra’s Tampa store at 2558 E Fowler Ave. looks like the set of a Food Network cooking show with natural wood shelving, white subway tile backsplash, glass cabinet doors, minimalist furniture and a good dose of succulents. Atlanta-based Surterra strives to distinguish itself from other medical marijuana dispensaries that mimic smoke shops with day-glow marijuana leaves inside dark spaces. Surterra stores offer private offices behind glass walls where clients can talk to staff about their doctor’s recommendation or apply for a Florida Department of Health state I.D. card required of patients who use marijuana products.

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Connell and Surterra negotiated the lease for six months. He tried to steer clear from leasing Shep’s to a nondescript bank or chain restaurant.

"I firmly believe in the benefits of medical marijuana versus prescription drugs, so bringing this center to Northeast St. Pete felt like the right thing and not just another deal," Connell said.

Shep’s will reopen at 23rd Avenue N and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street. Connell declined to give further details.

Katherine Snow Smith can be contacted at kssmith@tampabay.com. Follow @snowsmith.


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