Two retail cannabis stores in Ladysmith have been given the go-ahead by Town Council – their applications are now in the hands of the provincial government.
If approved, Ladysmith will welcome two locally owned retail cannabis locations: 1904 Cannabis and Jerry’s Cannabis. Steven Elkiw, owner of Jerry’s Cannabis said he’s happy to see another locally owned store in town.
“I’m really happy they’re in town. I think it’s great for the town that there’s two of us, as opposed to one, which would leave us wide open for a BC Cannabis Store,” Elkiw said. “The two of us together can handle the town and keep it local.”
Caroline Fric, owner of 1904 Cannabis echoed Elkiw’s comments.
“I think there’s room for more than one shop in Ladysmith,” she said.
Both stores will sell similar products, but they will offer different customer experiences. 1904 Cannabis is housed in a heritage building on 1st Avenue, and will have a rustic, heritage themed interior.
“The idea is to continue that heritage feel inside,” Fric said. “The space is small. I put a lot of effort into design so we will have a nice open display in the small space. We’ll be using some materials and fixtures that might take you back to an earlier era.”
Jerry’s Cannabis is a modern style, relaxed environment. Elkiw said he didn’t like the Apple Store style feel of other retail cannabis stores in the province.
“I wanted everything to be significantly different from the Starbucks/Apple Store dispensaries that you see nowadays. I don’t identify with that, and I don’t think the average British Columbian identifies with that. We tried to go the completely opposite direction,” Elkiw said.
It is not clear when either store will open in Ladysmith. They are now at the financial integrity screening stage. Once they receive provincial approval, they can order cannabis from the BC Liquor and Cannabis Distribution Branch. They must then obtain business licenses from the Town of Ladysmith before they can open.
Elkiw and Fric are both confident in the provincial process, and felt positive about the Town’s approach to regulating retail cannabis.
“I think the province and the federal government have managed the regulations in a way that will promote safety and security in the community,” Fric said. “A lot of municipalities have gotten in trouble trying to micromanage the way store do business… Ladysmith took it’s time getting there, but I think that’s a bonus because they had the time to learn from other municipalities’ mistakes. Really, I think Ladysmith is smart, and did it well, even though it did take a little more time.”