Article by Susan Krashinsky Robertson, Globe and Mail
Second Cup’s parent company has opened its first recreational cannabis dispensary on the site of a former cafe in Toronto, and has announced plans for more dispensaries under its new retail brand, Hemisphere Cannabis Co.
Mississauga, Ont.-based The Second Cup Ltd. will open six more Hemisphere Cannabis locations in Ontario by the end of this year, in Toronto, Ajax and Ottawa. The company also plans to launch e-commerce orders for delivery and curbside pick-up.
Six out of the seven planned locations will also be conversions of former Second Cup cafes.
Second Cup has been closing underperforming locations for some time. At its peak in the 1990s, Second Cup had 400 stores; by late last year it had 252, and as of the end of its first quarter on March 28, it had closed 10 more.
The company is working to expand its business beyond its namesake cafes. Last November, the parent company announced it would change its name to Aegis Brands Inc., to reflect its broader focus, including plans to acquire small- to medium-sized foodservice businesses. (The cafes will continue to operate under the Second Cup brand.) The corporate name change will take effect pending shareholder approval at its upcoming annual general meeting.
In December, Second Cup announced the $9.5-million acquisition of Bridgehead Coffee, which operates 19 cafes in Ottawa and plans to expand to Toronto.