The two guys behind Hamilton-based Sessions Cannabis are looking to grow their legal retail pot-selling empire to 30 stores across Ontario, including six in Hamilton.
“We’re the fastest-growing and the largest cannabis retail operation in the province,” said business co-owner Darryl Allen, who along with co-founder and company president and CEO Steven Fry, will open store number four and company headquarters at 1786 Stone Church Rd. E. (and Upper Red Hill Valley Parkway) with limited access and physical distancing on July 17.
Their other stores are in Collingwood, Toronto, and (as of early next week) Cambridge.
The company is named after the individual or communal act of smoking pot which is called a smoke session.
Fry said they got the license for their Cambridge store from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario earlier than expected, which has enabled them to move the east Mountain/Upper Stoney Creek store opening by a week, adding the 3,200 square-foot store will be the largest legal pot outlet in Hamilton.
He said they took a lease on the property last January while awaiting licensing approval from the provincial regulatory body.
He said they had “a high degree of confidence” their open-concept application was going to be approved as they were familiar with the process.
The east Mountain pot shop will employ 12 full and part-time staff and the company plans to hire as many as 70 employees if their other five Hamilton license applications get approved.
Sessions is awaiting word on their proposed outlets at 712 Mohawk Rd. E. (near Upper Gage), 675 Rymal Rd. E. (near Upper Sherman), 1096 Barton St. E.(near Ottawa), 1900 King St. E. (near Rosedale) and 2537 Regional Rd. 56 in Binbrook.
While there was little public issue with their east Mountain store, Fry said they anticipate public opposition to some of the other locations.
He noted the legal cannabis trade is well-regulated, adding once the public comes into their store and sees they are a reputable company, they will change their mind.
Fry said they get their cannabis from Health Canada-regulated commercial growers.
Allen and Fry said they are funding their multi-million endeavour through their own finances, money from private investors and by selling franchises at $40,000 each.
About half of their stores will be franchises, Fry noted.
None of the franchise stores are in Hamilton.
Fry and Allen are avid cannabis users, and both come from business backgrounds and live in the Hamilton area.