Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Kings House of Fire cannabis dispensary to open in Cortlandt 

Family expects to launch on Juneteenth
Walter King and his mom, Joan, in front of the future home of Kings House of Fire cannabis dispensary, set to open on June 19th on E. Main Street in Cortlandt. 

Walter King got the entrepreneurial chance of a lifetime when his mother Joan received a license from the state of New York to open a cannabis dispensary.  But as the founder and CFO of the new business, his first inclination was to dispense with the family name for the retail location on Route 6.  

His hesitation stemmed from the types of other businesses his family ran involving child care and a children’s entertainment space. But the more he thought about it, the more he wanted to be transparent about who exactly was behind Kings House of Fire, the first legal dispensary in northern Westchester. 

“We understand people’s concerns about doing two things that may contradict each other,” said Walter. “We make kids’ safety our first priority in our businesses. We will apply that same standard to the business of distributing cannabis. We’re giving people an opportunity to purchase a product in a legal, safe and controlled environment,” said Walter about the location that received approval from the Town of Cortlandt to open in the only section of the town zoned for a cannabis dispensary. 

King, 27, is the third child of Joan and Walter, Jr. to make the foray into owning and operating a business. His company, on the cutting edge of the newly emerging cannabis industry in New York, has an opening scheduled for Wednesday, June 19 (Juneteenth) at 3006 East Main Street in Cortlandt Manor, between Kohl’s Department store and a NAPA auto parts business. 

The 13,000 square foot location currently houses one of the other King family’s businesses, “Little Kings and Queens Fun Place” which is moving to the location of the former Big Lots store a few hundred feet away. The Fun Place hosted their last party this past weekend and expects to open at their new 28,000 square foot location in September. 

Daughters Wykeima and Wyquasia and their mother run the Kings & Queens Daycare Center on Dayton Lane in Peekskill’s Beach Shopping Center, a business that their mother founded 31 years ago at her home on Pauling Street. Dad, Walter, Jr., heads up a security company. 

A series of events, which the Kings had no control over, led to the Fun Place becoming the location of the dispensary. When Joan was notified in September by New York State that she received her license in the second round of approvals, she began looking for a space in Peekskill and ran into dead ends. 

Walter King working with Sergey Capozzelli on some drawings for the layout of the cannabis dispensary.

The Fun Place was outgrowing its current location and they told their landlord they were interested in another building he owns, the former Big Lots. He told them he had a contract with the grocer Aldi’s and the building wasn’t available. Joan had her heart set on the Big Lots to move The Fun Place to and didn’t give up hope. A few months later, their landlord called and said the deal with Aldi’s fell through and The Fun Place could move into the former Big Lots space, freeing up the spot for the dispensary. 

When the Town of Cortlandt allowed dispensaries to open, they increased the amount of feet a cannabis business could open near a park and a school to 1500 from the state-mandated 500 feet. The location of Kings House of Fire is 1510 feet away from Van Cortlandtville Elementary School and 1510 away from the veteran’s park at the corner of Locust Avenue and E. Main Street.  

Walter, who has been managing the Kings and Queens Game Truck, was interested in investing in a cannabis dispensary with a partner from Connecticut. His mother told him she was going to enter the lottery to get a license and he told her she didn’t have a chance of getting it, when in fact she did, since she “checked all three boxes” as she put it. She was a minority, she was a woman, and she had a relative who was incarcerated for possession of marijuana.    

She explained how in 2018 she was diagnosed with breast cancer that required chemotherapy. She decided to forgo the chemotherapy and have a mastectomy. It was her doctor who told her about marijuana for medical purposes and she began researching and learning about it. Even though she chose a different route regarding her cancer treatment she said it opened her thinking to cannabis.

Rendering of interior of the 13,000 square foot space.

When her son told her he wanted to open a dispensary with a partner she told him it was hard having a business with a partner and he had a family that knew how to run businesses. He valued his mother’s opinion and knew from his experience managing and growing one aspect of the family’s business (the game truck) that it might be wise to take her advice. 

He said what he loves most about the cannabis industry is that it brings people together from all walks of life. “You can be any race, gender, skin complexion or religion but share an interest in cannabis. You must have a divine purpose in this industry. It must be bigger than just selling cannabis. Yes, the opportunity is cool, but you must stand for something!”

Kings House of Fire intends to hire 15 people to work the dispensary and since his father runs a security business he will be vetting the employees and training them. “There will be identification checks at the point of sale, security cameras that New York state will have access to and licensed armed security guards,” said Walter. He is familiar with how that works from the daycare centers his sisters operate, where people are permitted to enter only via a buzzer door system.

The King family, from left Wykeima, Walter Jr., Wyquasia, Joan and Walter. (Photo courtesy of the LuxuRay Experience Inc/TLC Shoots LLC)

The family and their businesses know about giving back to the community and will continue that philanthropy with the earnings from the dispensary. They offer scholarships to the daycare, and they will continue to offer free entry to children who need that assistance in order to visit the Fun Place. They plan on contributing to breast cancer awareness causes and to organizations empowering young girls. 

Walter has established relationships with Hudson Valley growers who have been vetted by the state and one grower is creating a special custom ‘House of Fire’ brand. 

“Our family business was created by offering safe, protective space for children and we understand how important a safe space is for creating a dispensary,” said Walter. It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to see how the family businesses align.  


About the Contributor
Regina Clarkin
Regina Clarkin, Editor and Publisher
When the Peekskill Herald weekly newspaper ceased publishing in August 2000 it was the first time in the history of the city that there wasn’t a local newspaper.  The award-winning weekly was often referred to as the ‘glue’ of the community. Founded on January 9, 1986 by Regina Clarkin, Kathy Daley and Rich Zahradnik with a $7,000 credit card line, the paper filled the void created when the daily Evening Star was sold to Gannett and moved out of town. Founding publisher Regina Clarkin continued to live in the Peekskill Cortlandt area and turned her attention to other life endeavors.  Through the ensuing 19 years, Clarkin was frequently stopped in town and asked when she would start up the Herald again. In January 2019, Clarkin decided it was less labor intensive to deliver a weekly blog than a print newspaper so she began posting one story a week about life in Peekskill. After a successful crowd funding campaign in 2020, the Herald was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in July of 2021. Peekskill Herald is a digital relative of the former print edition, featuring many of the favorite aspects of the beloved Peekskill Herald such as old pictures, personality profiles and well written stories about newsworthy events. Regina Clarkin is the editor and publisher of the site. Photo by Joe Squillante