New businesses bud in Woodlake

Ben Irwin

City gets update on Town Center Project, new restaurant and bar, GreenBean dispensary celebrates grand opening

WOODLAKE – The prospect of adding several new businesses to downtown Woodlake is growing, as city staff provided an update on the Town Center Project Jan. 25, a proposed collection of developments encircling the center of town at the intersection of Valencia Boulevard and Naranjo Boulevard.

Jason Waters, the city’s community services director, says city staff provided an update on the project’s preliminary design at the Jan. 25 council meeting.

“We showed the council some of the design that we had done for the building and just kind of discussed what we believe the future uses of the building will house,” Waters said.

As of now, the only certainty is a dance studio, which comes after the success of the Woodlake Community Center creating a need for more floor space to accommodate dance and exercise classes. Sitting at the intersection of two state routes, the possibilities for business at the Town Center project include a restaurant, two office spaces at about 1,000 square feet a piece and a commercial gym.

While rough preliminary plans have been drawn and shared with the city, Waters said the next step is to work with architectural firm The Taylor group on a more detailed architectural plan. The city purchased the land in July 2020, and will own and operate the property through the general fund once it is developed.

“We’re looking forward to it. We like the design,” Waters said. “I think it will be a real net positive for the city.”

GreenBean grand opening, El Chaparito on the way

GreenBean, Woodlake’s newest cannabis dispensary, celebrated its formal grand opening Jan. 29, though the bud business already opened its doors to customers at the end of December.

The grand opening represents the culmination of a three-year process of opening up shop in Woodlake, as GreenBean obtained a business license back in 2017. Co-founder Michael Dunaway—who also owns SunBurst Pharm dispensary in Maryland—told The Sun-Gazette in December he has seen some resilience in the cannabis industry during the pandemic.

“People still need access to cannabis for medicinal purposes and they still need access to cannabis to destress and relax themselves,” Dunaway said. “People have the ability to consume cannabis in their homes and we’ve seen a large increase in consumers doing so with the added free time and lack of other activities at their disposal.”

Dunaway’s future plans for the Woodlake weed dispensary include an onsite consumption lounge where people can go and leisurely consume GreenBean’s cannabis products along with food and drinks, which would make them the only onsite consumption lounge in Tulare County.

In other Woodlake news, El Chaparito Restaurant and Bar took a step forward toward opening up shop, after the council approved a conditional use permit Jan. 25 for the business at 115 and 117 N. Valencia Boulevard. Currently a vacant lot since the old building was demolished, Waters says the city has received plans for the building, but is waiting on El Chaparito to obtain the permits necessary to actually begin construction.

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