First Look: Kush Groove In West Cambridge

“It’s hard to believe that we’re here doing what we always wanted to do in the neighborhood we grew up in.”

Technically, this stunning long-awaited Cambridge dispensary from the team that opened a head shop of the same name in Mission Hill eons ago and built up from there finally opens on 4/20. That kind of timing is a dream come true times ten for co-owners Mike Pires and Marcus Johnson-Smith, who grew up in the neighborhood and will be partying all next weekend, through West Cambridge Day on April 22 and beyond with DJs and pop-ups from vendors including Root & Bloom and GreenCare Collective.

In the meantime, we stopped by the shop on Mt. Auburn Street, next to Star Market and Sofra, during this week’s soft opening for a quick look at what can with zero exaggeration be called a highly-anticipated retail spot. Pires and Johnson-Smith have been grinding since long before legalization, pushing their clothing and accessory brand everywhere from the Freedom Rally, to their former namesake head shop on Mission Hill, to other states, and now they finally brought the momentum back to their hometown.

Some first impressions: there’s loads of parking, which you might not otherwise expect in Cambridge; the gear selection, no surprise, is outstanding; the place is not just photogenic, but they actually encourage customers to snap pics; and as far as the goods go, they’ll have some house products as well as stuff from hand-picked partners.

Also, in speaking with their crew members, it is apparent that people here know the difference between Apple Fritter and Orange Glaze—including one budtender who just started training on opening day, yet engaged me in a nerdy conversation about concentrates. At a time when stores are having trouble finding solid workers, Kush Groove has some serious heads behind the counter.

“It’s hard to believe that we’re here doing what we always wanted to do in the neighborhood we grew up in,” Pires said in a brief interview standing beside the Kush Groove mascot, Joey Kinebud.

“My first job was next door at the Star Market. Every time I’m in the neighborhood, it feels nostalgic to do the things we did as kids, but to be an adult and be operating a business here feels amazing.”