“Opportunities like this don’t present themselves too often in Boston.”
We recently sat down with Zyp Run Co-founders Elis Omoroghomwan and Gabe Vieira to chat about their Dorchester-based cannabis delivery company. But before we dove into the details about products and dropoff logistics, we had to ask about the legendary Neponset Circle building where their business is located.
“It’s great to see two young Black men be in a position to build this company in a building that is historic in the City of Boston in order to change the narrative,” Omoroghomwan said about the two-story structure at the foot of the bridge into Quincy. The former Sozio Appliances store that was open there for generations was the backdrop of innumerable local legends, making it a special location for more than just the excellent brand visibility.
“Opportunities like this don’t present themselves too often in Boston,” he added.
It’s been a long haul for the Dot natives, both of whom studied business at UMass Amherst and worked in finance before sliding over to the legal weed biz. They incorporated Zyp Run in May 2019, applied for their delivery license in 2021, and three years later, as of this January, they’re finally open, delivering to not just Boston but also to Quincy, Chelsea, Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, and Newton.
There were waits in their journey, but not much downtime. Before they got to stock the shelves, Vieira and Omoroghomwan had to recruit a team.
“We’ve had thousands of applications,” the former said. “I feel like we built a culture where our team is genuinely happy to be here.”
Brittany Kimble, a delivery driver, said that some clients they serve can’t leave their home or are at least restricted in their mobility.
“A lot of people don’t want to deal with [going to a dispensary], so they have a delivery at their door within a few hours.”
I asked Yamilca Escobar, another delivery driver who is especially interested in the science behind cannabis, about how her friends and family members react when she tells them about her job.
“They ask, Is it like a trap house?” Escobar laughed. “With Massachusetts, there are so many regulations that it’s really not, but it’s cool to sit in the vault and feel like you’re trapping.” She added, “People are really interested in how this came to be—a lot of us didn’t think that we would live to see the day.”
While they lived to see rec cannabis, Zyp Run still pays homage to the days of illicit sales and parking lot dropoffs.
“The name and the brand speak for themselves—it’s a double-entendre,” Omoroghomwan said. “It’s fast delivery, and ‘zip’ is also slang for an ounce of weed. … We want to be able to take a mixture of the corporate cannabis market and the black market and bring the best of both worlds together to show acceleration and growth in the cannabis industry.”
As for what is selling …
“Social equity brands have been flying off our shelves,” Vieira said, specifically name-dropping Major Bloom out of Worcester, Berkshire Roots, Mission, and Harbor House as companies whose products have done well with Zyp Run.
“It’s funny how things work out,” he added. “I went to middle school about a half-a-mile down the street from here.”
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.