Article by Windsor Star
A lack of local employment opportunities forced Simon Reid to depart for greener pastures, but the birth of a new Canadian industry has drawn him and his brother back to Windsor.
“I had to move away for a long time because I had to find work,” said Reid. “It’s really important to bring back opportunities and share those opportunities with the City of Windsor.”
That opportunity for the thirtysomethings came with the federal legalization of recreational pot and the Ford government’s decision earlier this year to open Ontario’s private retail market to any and all comers.
When it comes to marijuana for adult recreational use, Windsor appears smoking hot, with a recent spurt of growth in cannabis retail store applications to the province. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has received 15 such requests, more than from London (11), with double the population, and almost as many as from Ottawa (18), a city with more than four times Windsor’s population.
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While many of his peers might work for large employers like FCA Canada’s Windsor Assembly Plant, “in a city like Windsor, small business is the lifeblood of the community,” said Reid. “To be successful, you have to do it on your own.”
Boondom, in the heart of Pillette Village at 4782 Wyandotte St. E., is nearing completion but still needs final AGCO approval. Notice for public input expired on Monday, with the final say coming from the province. Reid said the owners have been advised by their consultants they meet all the provincial requirements for location, including distance from schools, daycares and other places where children gather.
When it comes to local bylaws and the rules governing pot shops, “obviously (the municipality’s) input is important to us, but the province is really our boss when it comes to the regulations,” said Reid. He said Boondom was fortunate in that it submitted its application, and construction started, ahead of the COVID-19 emergency declaration. After a pause since March, the AGCO recently began gearing up efforts again at processing applications.
Boondom hopes to have final approval and be able to open by Canada Day.David Craig, chief design officer for J. Supply Co., Windsor’s first and currently only operating legal cannabis retail store, said he welcomes the competition.
Article content continued“The things that set you apart is the experience and also the product selection that you have available,” said Craig, who describes Windsor’s proximity to the U.S. and its culture as draws for cannabis retail entrepreneurs. J. Supply, at 545 Ouellette Ave., opened March 28.
Reid said his consultants have said that “by full maturation” Windsor should expect to have about 20 successful retail outlets. As for those currently vying to open, he said some will thrive, some will survive and some will fail.
“You need to be a savvy business owner to be successful. If your plan is just to open and you’re going to become a millionaire, you got another thing coming,” he said. He and his brother, who grew up in Leamington with a father who was a farmer and entrepreneur, have been involved in real estate and retail sales and training.
Because of the strict limits imposed on pot shop marketing and advertising — for example, nothing suggesting “success, money, fame, a lifestyle of any sort” — Reid said a lot of thought went into choosing the right location and “standing for something more than cannabis … something that helps the community.”
The brothers didn’t want Boondom in a strip mall, though he feels its location next to other small businesses and a McDonald’s and a Shoppers Drug Mart guarantees traffic. Display cabinets are coming from Ford City’s Michael Difazio Reclaim Artistry and muralist David Derkatz — a.k.a. DERKZ — was commissioned for part of the interior design.…
Windsor’s other pot shop hopefuls (AGCO “in progress” applications as of May 12):
- Greentown Ontario, 74 Chatham St. W.
- Grass Roots, 398 University Ave. W.
- Cannabis Supply Co., 3580 Tecumseh Rd. E.
- The We Store (3 outlets), 6038 Tecumseh Rd. E.; 1800 Huron Church Rd.; 1565 Wyandotte St. E.
- Top Shelf Cannabis, 1485 Erie St. E.
- Friendly Stranger South Windsor, 3196 Dougall Ave.
- ShinyBud Cannabis Co., 7833 Tecumseh Rd. E.
- Cannasavvy Cannabis Co. 3395 Howard Ave.
- Pioneer Cannabis, 1153 Lauzon Rd.
- Sessions Windsor, 650 Division Rd.
- The Cannabis Retail Store, 1350 Provincial Rd.