From famine to feast.
After being forced to make due for over a year with a woefully inadequate supply of retail stores, Ontarians could soon be flooded with options to meet their cannabis needs.
Hobo Cannabis is the latest to step up, the company announced Monday, noting that it has reached an agreement with three licence winners from the second lottery conducted by the province and will soon open three new stores. Two of these will be in Ottawa and one in Timmins.
“Our group couldn’t be more excited about expanding in Ontario, especially after the successful launch of our very first Hobo location in Ottawa this spring,” said Harrison Stoker, vice-president of brand at Donnelly Group. “This is in addition to the many great pubs, cocktail clubs and barbershops we’ve opened in Toronto over the last four years,” Stoker said.
The existing Ottawa location, at 391 Bank St., is one of the top-performing dispensaries in the province, Hobo claimed, having surpassed 230,000 transactions to generate $9.7 million in net sales in its first six months of operation.
The new partnerships will raise the total of Hobo stores in Canada to eight and shows how the company is ready to take a bigger piece of the pie in Ontario.
“We’re entering into smart, long-term relationships with operators who understand our relentless focus on the customer experience and its subsequent profitability, versus driving shareholder value through acquisition-style deals as was seen in this second allocation,” Stoker said.
Not to be outdone, Tokyo Smoke, Canopy Growth’s retail brand, noted Monday that it is working with five new retail licence-holders — in addition to the five it announced in November — to open two more Tokyo branded stores in Toronto and one apiece in Hamilton, Stoney Creek and Ottawa.
“With 10 new stores set to open in the first half of this year, we are pleased with the momentum we’ve built and excited to bring the Tokyo Smoke experience to more Ontarians,” said Rade Kovacevic, president of Canopy Growth. “Increasing Tokyo Smoke’s presence across the province will expand access to high-quality cannabis products and education, continuing to migrate cannabis sales from the illicit to the regulated market,” Kovacevic added.
The new stores — which will bring total Tokyo Smoke locations in Ontario to 12 — have already been listed on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission’s website, and nine of them have completed the public notice portion of the process.
The stores will be owned and operated independently with support from Canopy Growth’s retail team.
If that isn’t enough to get Ontarians excited about the future of cannabis in the province, Fire & Flower — and a slew of other companies — stand ready and waiting to apply for new licences now that the provincial government has opened up the market after ending its controversial lottery system.
Fire & Flower plans to open as many stores as the province permits. “We’re allowed, I believe, to have 10 for the first cohort and we will have 10,” said Trevor Fencott, chief executive officer of the company. “You’re allowed to 30 by December of 2020… we’re going to try to hit every one of those milestones,” Fencott said.
Let the good times roll.
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Written by David Yasvinski