Article by Richa Bhosale, Timmins Daily Press
Timmins residents can now purchase their cannabis in town.
Hobo Cannabis Company opened its doors Friday, despite the city being in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was quite challenging, we were nearly ready to open our Timmins location prior to the pandemic,” said Harrison Stoker, vice-president of brand and culture for Donnelly Group, Hobo’s parent company.
The company didn’t open the doors for the public but launched with curbside pick-up and delivery, in order to follow the health and safety protocols given by the Health Canada.
The 3,000 square-foot spaced store at 993 Riverside Dr. was part of Hobo’s 15-store Ontario expansion plan.
The Timmins location is Hobo’s first outlet in Northern Ontario. They have few in Vancouver and Alberta but it’s their first Ontario store outside of Ottawa though Stoker said they will be opening one in Toronto shortly.
Stoker said two major things occurred during their process of opening the store. One was moratorium on construction which wasn’t too much of a concern for them because they had almost finished the construction before the pandemic began. Second was moratorium on licensing or RSA known as Retail Store Authorization from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO.)
“So, we worked really closely with AGCO and a lot of other cannabis retailers to bring that process back on line. Cannabis retail was originally listed as an essential business and then it was de-listed. We worked with the province to get it re-listed as an essential business.
He explained, “It was re-listed conditionally on us executing our operations with delivery and pick up only which we really quickly adapted to and that was sort of an inroad to talk to the AGCO about starting to release licenses again but with additional conditional criteria where we don’t necessarily need to have the inside of the store fully fixtured and ready to go because customers aren’t going to be entering it, and provided we were able to execute safely responsibly on curbside pick up and delivery. Then they decided to start releasing licenses again and so we are back on track.”
Business was brisk on the first day. Stoker said they had 150 orders in the first three hours of the opening.
Stoker said there is job creation connected to this operation. He said Hobo plans to continue filling company positions in sales, fulfillment, and management over time. They have already hired a few people for the new store. They will continue to hire as the demand will keep increasing, he added.
Stoker said people can come for pickup anytime from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. as that is opening hours of the store. The store will open for seven days of the week.
He mentioned they are delivering products for free within 20 kilometres from the store. Deliveries are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“It’s pretty exciting for Timmins and people living around Timmins to finally have access to legal recreational cannabis.