Dustin Schook, owner of the first Campbell River privately-owned cannabis retailer, opened the doors of Plenty Of Time in Campbellton last Monday after quite an adventurous process. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

First non-government cannabis retailer in Campbell River opens in Campbellton

Plenty Of Time owner Dustin Schook says it was quite the process getting up and running

The first non-government-run cannabis retailer in Campbell River is open for business

It’s been a rough process, according to owner Dustin Schook, but he’s excited to finally be up and running.

Plenty Of Time opened last week where the laundromat used to be beside his other Campbellton business, The Scene Smoker’s Outlet. Unfortunately, Schook says, the sign flipped to “Open” without any fanfare, and there hasn’t, as yet, been the traffic coming through the door that he would have liked.

“It hasn’t been as great as I’d hoped, but that’s probably because I haven’t really been able to tell people I’m open,” he says, looking around the bright white storefront filled with little plastic jars of cannabis product on tiered shelves, with colourful menus of options scrolling by on large televisions on the walls. “They’re really making it hard for independent stores to make a go of this. I can’t even advertise. It feels like they’re setting us up to fail.”

One of the biggest limitations, Shook says, is that he’s not even allowed to have a Facebook page, because there’s no way to ensure that only people of legal age can see it.

There are other complications, as well. Like ordering the product itself, for example.

“You get one website you have to buy from, it’s full of an overwhelming amount of product, and it’s crazy expensive,” Schook says. “And they only ship out once a week, which for a business like mine just isn’t often enough. I need to be able to make an order every couple of days, at least until I can get enough stuff that I can be sitting on it for a bit and make bigger orders.”

One of the other big issues he’s faced has been the restrictions placed on the hiring process.

“I’ve had about 50 people come in with a resume and say, ‘I want to work for you,’ and I can’t just hire them. They need a criminal record check, which is $40, and then they need to go to the BC Access Centre and get a consent for security screening, and that’s a hell of a lot more vigorous than a criminal record check, and it costs another $100 and right now it takes three months. How am I supposed to hire anyone when they need to have both of those?

“They’re certainly not making it business friendly, that’s for sure,” he says.

It’s also not likely to prove as lucrative as he’d hoped, even after he negotiates all the obstacles in his way.

“The profits are tiny,” he continues. “With the government store up the street, it basically sets the bar for what my prices can be, and they can bleed money and it won’t be a problem. They can have a million types of stock and just sit on it until it’s a year old if they want.”

Schook, on the other hand, needed to order only what he could afford, and now needs to sell that product to use the profit to add more options. Right now, about a third of his smell jars are empty.

But he hopes they won’t be for long.

“I think once the word gets out that I’m open, a lot of people will pick my store rather than the government one,” he says.

“Not just because they want to support local small business instead of the government, but also because I’m cheaper than them,” he adds with a laugh. “I hope it won’t be too long until I have every jar filled up.”

As far as the name, Plenty Of Time, you could say it kind of came about organically. He wanted an acronym (POT), and he wanted it to reflect the customer-based service he was planning to offer.

“You don’t have to rush in and out,” he says. “You can be here all day and take your time and hang out and learn about the product or whatever.

“We’ve all got plenty of time.”

Plenty of Time is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

RELATED: The Scene in Campbellton gets city’s second cannabis license approval

RELATED: Vancouver Island’s first government-operated cannabis store opens in Campbell River


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