Article by James Hopkin, Soo Today
Hello Cannabis CEO Stephen Verbeek says his Hamilton-based company could open the doors to Sault Ste. Marie’s first cannabis retail store as early as the first week of March.
On Saturday, Hello Cannabis officially announced its upcoming launch in Sault Ste. Marie, where it will lease two units at 317 Northern Avenue East – one for immediate use as a retail space, and another unit intended for a potential expansion in the future.
“I’d love to give to a range – just because there’s so many variables that can still change between now and then, I certainly don’t want to mislead people, because we really want to be a part of this community, and not come out right off the gate making promises we can’t keep,” Verbeek told SooToday Sunday evening. “It does look like we’re going to opening the first week of March.”
“We have had a few pushbacks due to some concerns with construction, but we are hoping to open in the first week of March.”
Hello Cannabis will employ more than 20 people at its Northern Avenue East business – 20 of those hired, Verbeek says, are locals.
Hello Cannabis received more than 600 job applications from people looking for employment at its Sault Ste. Marie location.
From those applications, more than 100 people were interviewed for jobs.
Upper management is located in Toronto and Hamilton, but will be visiting Sault Ste. Marie in order to educate and train employees.
Verbeek says Hello Cannabis will carry dried cannabis flower and oils, along with vapes, edibles and other derivatives, and that he would easily put the top-five strains from Hello Cannabis up against the top-five strains of any illegal cannabis dispensary.
“One huge advantage that we have at Hello Cannabis is we were one of the first operating medical cannabis clinics in the country, so we had contracts with about 27 different licenced producers,” he said. “We knew their product like the back of our hand.”