The story of The CannaBar provisioning center began in 1956. That’s not a typo. 1956 was the year that Tom Tatar’s father, Joseph, immigrated from Hungary to the United States. That brave and bold action set in motion and ultimately created the Battle Creek medical marijuana business.
From the basement of the family home in Marshall, Joseph founded a manufacturing business, Advanced Fuel Components, which moved into an industrial park in Marshall and provided jobs and security, not only for the family but its employees, too. Tom Tatar and his two brothers worked there until they sold the company after the death of their father in 2011.
When the business was sold, Tom contemplated his options. His personal use of medicinal cannabis and Michigan’s new state medical licensing collided and the timing was right. “I was too young to retire, and my health has always been good, something I attribute to cannabis,” Tom said.
He started exploring the process of starting a medical marijuana business, and that’s where he met up with Cannalex Law partner Ben Wrigley. Ben worked with Tom on municipal issues and helped with securing his medical marijuana business license.
“It was great to work with Tom and help him with his licensing for The CannaBar. He’s driven, has a great vision for his business, and I’m sure he’ll succeed,” Ben said.
Tom’s father’s mentorship in business and years of working in manufacturing gave Tom the knowledge and good business sense to pursue a cannabis provisioning license. He set his sites on a property on Columbia Avenue in Battle Creek, an area that was zoned for medical marijuana businesses and is now ready for adult-use as well. Tom is working to secure an adult-use license for The CannaBar.
Tom and his wife Melissa operate the store, which Tom calls a “mom and pop” shop. They work in the 1400 square foot store along with four employees, providing high-touch personalized experiences for their customers. “The shop was designed to give one on one attention to our patient with separate rooms, so people have privacy when talking with their budtender or making a purchase,” Tom said.
Tom finds the cannabis business to be as challenging as it is rewarding. With a multitude of regulations, supply chain issues, pricing and some of the day-to-day operational matters, he tells people that “cannabis is a lot harder than expected.” Still, he’s enjoying the new opportunity taking pride in hands-on local ownership when many cannabis businesses are owned by corporate entities outside of Michigan.
The CannaBar is located at 293 E. Columbia Avenue in the city of Battle Creek.
Store hours are 10 AM to 9 PM, Monday through Saturday and Sunday noon to 6 PM
Phone is 269-968-2227