Elliot Lake’s first cannabis retail store is preparing for its grand opening on Friday, and customers are already lining up outside the door.
“We’ve been working here the last couple of days getting the store ready, and we have to keep the door locked because otherwise, we have people coming in and wanting to buy stuff,” said Jason Hamilton, the store owner and a long-time resident of Elliot Lake.
“The response we’ve received so far has been excellent and really encouraging, and I anticipate that we’re going to be a lot busier than we initially thought.”
Sessions Cannabis Elliot Lake located at 26 Prince Edward Walk in the lower Plaza will officially open its doors on Feb. 19.
The initial plan was to open for curbside pickup and free delivery during the provincial lockdown, but that has since changed.
Algoma Public Health’s jurisdiction, which includes Elliot Lake, moved into the Yellow – Prevent zone of the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework on Tuesday.
“Since the province has changed our colour coding to yellow, we are no longer allowed to offer curbside or delivery. Shopping has to be done in-store,” said Hamilton.
Preparing for a grand opening during a provincial lockdown was a challenge, he added, but his team has been able to pivot quickly to prepare for an in-store retail experience.
“In this cannabis industry right now, there’s a lot of red tape and things are constantly changing, so we’ve adapted to that throughout this whole process,” he said, adding that the store has been a year in the making.
“Once we found out that we were going to open for in-store, all of our staff was more excited because we actually want people to come in and see what it looks like in here because it really is a retail experience that is different than anything that Elliot Lake has ever seen.”
Sessions Cannabis, one of the fastest-growing retail stores in Ontario, prides itself on its open-concept design that includes “custom smoke ring lighting and product forward merchandising” that creates an immersive customer experience, according to a press release.
“Sessions promises to be the local source for some of the industry’s most reputable and popular cannabis brands offering a range of product types including dried flower, pre-rolls, vaporizers, edibles, beverages, and accessories,” said the release.
Hamilton has hired a team of eight staff who are “highly” trained and ready to assist both novice cannabis users and connoisseurs find what products they want.
“In my biased opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful retail experiences in Elliot Lake,” he said.
“The products are displayed at people’s fingertips and it’s extremely modern. Our budtenders will be able to help new and seasoned customers, and we have a wide range of products available.”