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Innovation in Millis

Since Saturday, CommCan, a Massachusetts cannabis company that has locations in Millis and Southborough, has been using an old FM transmitter to communicate with customers entering its facility in Millis.

Known as the CommCan Radio, the system was put in place to help the company handle the deluge of customers it received in the past few week in a safe way.

On a regular weekend, 800 to 1,000 customers visit the facility, CommCan President Ellen Rosenfeld said. They are currently seeing close to 1,200 daily. Rosenfeld attributes the rise to other stores closing in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic and customers wanting to hoard supply. In the past week, it wasn’t uncommon for a line to envelop the business’ parking lot.

But with that increase comes the danger of people spreading the virus, Rosenfeld said. Last Thursday, she spent much of her time making sure people were keeping themselves six feet apart.

“I told my brothers, ’I can’t do this anymore,” she said. “We got to figure this out.”

They initially tried to text customers when their products were ready, but cell reception was too poor for that to work reliably, Rosenfeld said.

With the new system, customers arrive at the facility where they receive a ticket before returning to their cars and turning their radio dial to 90.1 FM. Once their name is heard on the radio, they pick up their products and leave.

Mark Abbate, the company’s head of Information Technology, said legally anyone can make use of an unlicensed FM transmitter as long as its single doesn’t extend more than a hundred feet.