Article by Growth Op
Local entrepreneur Will Chaar’s High Ties cannabis retail stores to focus on local employment, supporting local artists and giving back
Amid bad news headlines in the middle of a global pandemic, Ottawa businessman Will Chaar is doing his part to keep Ottawa’s spirits high — by pouring $2 million into opening six new cannabis retail stores. The new High Ties cannabis shops will be spread across the city and rural areas. The first two stores opened Feb. 25 in Wellington West and Embrun. Eventually, says Chaar, he plans to expand Ontario-wide.
“We’re investing $2 million into the local economy, using local trades and artists, and bringing jobs where they’re most needed,” notes Chaar, who is also involved in the construction industry.
Currently, there are at least 80 retailers or applications by retailers across Ottawa, Kanata, Stittsville, Rockland, Orléans and Embrun, according to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario website.
“While it’s true that the number of cannabis stores is rapidly expanding in Ottawa, there is a gap in either densely populated or rural areas. There are still pockets around the region that are underserviced,” notes Chaar.
At High Ties, Chaar says the focus will be on community building and treating consumers as guests rather than just shoppers. Customer service excellence will be assured through a corporate “mystery shopper” program, and there are plans to roll out community-focused initiatives.
“I wanted to build brick and mortar stores that my mum and sisters would feel comfortable in, where folks not used to buying cannabis can be educated by a budtender who will remember them as a welcome guest. We want to create the next-level cannabis experience in Ottawa.”
The High Ties experience
- Budtenders will be passionate educators whose expertise will be focused on trust, education and elevating the cannabis experience.
- The High Ties stores were conceived to exclusively use local suppliers, trades and sources. Interior design company Iron & Ivory’s decor will create a welcome feeling, notes Chaar.
What is Jaragon?
Jaragon is a luxury custom trophy shoe design house started by Colombian-born, Ottawa-educated Juan Sebastian Aragon. Aragon conceived of Jaragon during a year studying in Milan, Italy, as part of his University of Ottawa international business degree. After spending two months learning his craft at the workshop of Giordano Torresi, a renowned Italian shoe manufacturer, he returned to Canada and launched his brand. Since then, he has collaborated on trophy shoes for Grammy winner Jennifer Lopez, award-winning singer-songwriter Marc Anthony and Colombian reggaeton singers J Balvin and Maluma.
Interview with Will Chaar, owner of High Ties
Why open six new cannabis stores in Ottawa, mid-pandemic?
I’ve always been focused on customer service excellence and giving back to my community with my construction company. The cannabis retail licenses were already in process when there were fewer retail outlets. But we identified a gap in some areas that we can fill. In addition, the numbers show that online sales are declining, while in-person shopping is increasing. People want to feel connected, and that’s what we’ll aim to do.