Merchantville Welcomes Gynsyng Cannabis Dispensary to Borough Downtown


The former Rite Aid storefront at 14 South Centre Street bills itself as ‘the closest adult-use dispensary to Philadelphia,’ and is walkable to many of its employees. Its ribbon-cutting is set for 2 p.m. March 1.

By Matt Skoufalos | February 26, 2024

Gynsyng Merchantville exterior. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

The newest cannabis dispensary in Camden County is also among the first in the region to be situated in a walkable downtown context.

Owners Tom and Jana Murzenski opened the doors to Gynsyng Dispensary in Merchantville last Thursday to little fanfare but steady foot traffic; in fact, most of the 17-member store crew commutes there without the use of a car.

The former Rite Aid at 14 South Centre Street, which had been darkened for a few years, now has new commercial life, and its owners believe that a refresh and repurposing of the space will integrate nicely within the borough business district.

Local leadership believes in that plan as well, with Merchantville Mayor Ted Brennan describing the shop as part of “a critical mass” of service-oriented businesses in the central downtown as recently as 2022.

Its location has historically housed a pharmacy throughout the history of Merchantville; reviving the storefront as a medical and recreational cannabis retailer felt in keeping with that tradition, the Murzenskis said.

The couple hails from Washington Township in Warren County. Tom, a U.S. Army veteran and computer programmer, runs a tech consultancy; Jana is a baby photographer born and raised in Germany.

Gynsyng GM Sam Quinlan (left) and owners Jana and Tom Murzenski. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

Their partners are Philadelphia entrepreneur Keith Morgan, who opened a string of Krispy Kremes in the city before acquiring a Pennsylvania cannabis license in 2017, and Haddonfielder Michael Gorman, a principal at Metro Commercial Real Estate.

“It was a disaster when we got here,” Tom Murzenski said; “cedar roofing flaking off, rusty retail displays, asbestos tiles in the floor.”

By comparison, the 5,400-square-feet storefront has been repainted in a calming sage green, offset by a small seating area, mid-century modern product shelving, and flanked by a row of cashier consultants.

Its new operators plan to emphasize Merchantville town history in the shop décor as it evolves; for now, they’ve added pieces of interest from Aradia’s Treasures, their neighbor in the business district.

“Our mottoes are ‘cultivating curiosity’ and ‘where wonder meets wisdom,’” Jana Murzenski said. “It shouldn’t feel sterile, like just a transaction. We want this to feel like you are at home here.”

The cannabis inventory at Gynsyng includes flower, vaporizers, edibles, tinctures, and more. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

The couple settled on the name “Gynsyng” while searching for something familiar that would play well on social media, believing it conjures up associations with relaxation.

“We wanted to have an organic feel to the place, like ginseng the root,” Tom Murzenski said.

“It sounds calming, mysterious; it works,” Jana Murzinski added.

Product inventory at Gynsyng includes cannabis flower, vaporizers, concentrates, and edibles, with plans to expand the menu quickly. Tom Murzenski said the couple is excited to be working with new, independent growers who are coming online in the nascent New Jersey cannabis industry.

Gynsyng employees behind the counter in the Merchantville dispensary. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

“We’re super-thrilled to be embedded in the fabric of the town,” Tom Murzenski said. “We want to be able to sustain the business; we want to provide jobs.”

General Manager Samantha Quinlan wants Gynsyng to be a welcoming space for customers of all kinds.

Her staff boast both personal and professional experience with the cannabis industry, and are happy to share their knowledge, she said.

“We want to serve the community,” Quinlan said. “We try to offer education and friendliness with staff. People who work here want to be in this business.”

The dispensary offers discounts for first-timers and veterans, and a points system whereby customers earn store credits for every $100 spent.

Gynsyng is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12 noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The business was cash-only at opening, with an onsite ATM and digital commerce activations to follow.

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