Muse Cannabis has cleared the final paperwork hurdle in the process to become Campbell River’s first legal recreational cannabis retailer.
The company was granted approval by the city back in January, but technically that was only a “recommendation” sent to the province for consideration. That consideration has now been given and the company has been awarded its license.
The Campbell River location will be the second store the company will open – the first being on South Granville Street in Vancouver – and is expected to be open in late June or early July.
“We’re just in the process of filing for a building permit with the city, which we expect to have by the end of April,” says Mike McKee, the company’s chief financial officer. “Our plan is to hold off on starting construction until the beginning of June because we want to get our South Granville store open and sort of work with the layout and make sure there aren’t any tweaks we want to make to it before construction in Campbell River.”
That renovation will cost the company somewhere in the neighbourhood of $400,000, McKee says.
“We’ll be doing some pretty extensive tenant improvements,” he says. “We really want to have a premium offering and a beautiful space, so we’re investing a significant amount of money to make the brand come alive.”
A major part of that brand, McKee says, is what the company is calling the “concierge experience.”
“There is so much in the way of offerings that it can be overwhelming to the consumer,” McKee says. “Particularly for the first few years, the consumer is not necessarily going to be well educated on all the products and the outcomes from consuming the various strains of cannabis. We want to make sure that when somebody comes in the store, there is somebody from our team who can work with them and go through all the various product offerings and explain how they work and what outcome they can expect. Then the next time they come in, they can talk to that same person, tell them what they liked and didn’t like about the product and together they can continue to tailor things to that consumer.”
Speaking of offerings, McKee says the store’s stock will grow over time as new offerings come to the market.
“At the beginning, it will be primarily dried flower and oils, but unlike a lot of dispensaries in the Lower Mainland who have gone with 600 to 800 square feet, we’ve gone with a much larger footprint because our plan is to be able to incorporate edibles as well as beverages into the offerings, probably about this time next year. And obviously we’ll have various retail items and paraphernalia that people will use to consume the product.”
And while many have been clamouring for some time for a retailer in Campbell River, wondering what the hold up was – recreational cannabis has been legal for about six months, after all – McKee says that blame can’t be placed on the either the city or the province.
“The city has been great to work with on this,” he says. “They had a very pragmatic process and were very up front with us … the whole process was very straightforward. I think that in two or three years time people will have forgotten about how difficult and complicated it may have been at the beginning. Both the city and the province have taken a very careful approach in making sure that this is going to be successful in the long run. It’s a little short-term pain for a long-term gain, I think.”
The Campbell River location of Muse Cannabis will be in the Willow Point plaza near Discovery Foods between Ox Restaurant and Coast Community Credit Union – the company’s old Jak’s Beer Wine and Spirits location.