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Sunnyside, a medical marijuana dispensary and an offshoot of Cresco Labs, aimed so high when looking for Cape Coral real estate that it leased a 3,600-square-foot building at 1897 Del Prado Blvd., adjacent to a Publix-anchored shopping center.  

It had been a Nathan’s Famous hot dog restaurant, a concept that frankly didn’t work in Southwest Florida. But the building sure worked for Sunnyside, said regional manager Paul Rodgers.  

“It’s just a really good piece of real estate,” Rodgers said. “Highly visible on both ends of Del Prado. Really fresh building with the brickwork and the lights outside. It looks really crisp. It looks nice. But no foot-long included with your purchase.”  

The legacy of Nathan’s added another benefit to the building as it has a drive-thru. For now, the drive-thru is dormant, as Sunnyside awaits a permit to use it.  

Rodgers said some people still drive through it, looking to buy hot dogs, which are long gone. But they can’t just go inside the store to buy medical marijuana, either. Customers need a Florida medical marijuana card and a prescription from a doctor.  

Store manager Danielle Boone and her staff of 10 employees are on hand to explain the process to potential customers. Those with a card will enter the store to find a brightly lit, open floor plan. It resembles a typical T-Mobile or Apple store, but instead of cell phones and computers, there are a multitude of Florida-grown, medical marijuana products. There are plastic vials of flower, ground flower, edibles and more. 

Pricing for products starts in the $15-to-$25 range.  

“We’re really well-known for our solvent-less concentrates,” Rodgers said. “Which are really, really high quality. Of course, we have our edibles, and our Sunnyside chews.”  

Sunnyside chose a space larger than it actually needed, he said, to prepare for the future. He said conservative estimates predict Florida will change laws and allow recreational use of marijuana within five years.   

“The world is certainly changing,” Rodgers said. “And we’re standing in the middle of that rolling tide in history, where everything is starting to move in one direction. And we’re certainly on the right side of it. People are starting to truly wake up and understand that this is a positive thing for humanity. We’re just at the very beginning of this medical revolution, if you will.”  

This is the second Cresco Labs-owned dispensary in Southwest Florida, with the first in Bonita Springs. Opening one in Cape Coral allows Sunnyside to reach a larger segment of patients. There are 15 other stores scattered across Florida.  

“It’s highly competitive,” Rodgers said. “The market’s really just opening now. We’re seeing so many companies jump in and join in the fun with us in the Florida medical marijuana scene. This is just the beginning.” 

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