Three more pot shops are in the process of opening in Greater Sudbury.
JTS Buds will open at 1485 Lasalle Blvd., while Happy Life will open at 1021 The Kingsway.
Fire & Flower Cannabis Co. will be located at 1400 The Kingsway, in the same building as Five Guys and Party City.
All three shops are currently listed as “in progress” on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s website. The public notice period for Happy Life ended April 10, while the public notice period for Fire & Flower ended May 5.
In late 2019, the province announced it was scrapping its lottery system for cannabis shop permits in an effort to open up the weed market, with the first new licences distributed in April.
Isaac Watson, vice-president of product development and retail experience at Fire & Flower Cannabis Co., said construction at their Kingsway and Barrydowne location will finish up in about a month. Then they will start hiring their team of employees.
“We will have all our ducks in a row by July, and then it will be up to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission to give the greenl light,” said Watson in a phone interview with Sudbury.com.
“We're just getting ready to find our team in Sudbury. We have started work on finding our general manager, but will start hiring for our floor team next month.”
Fire & Flower will employ about 12 people, Watson said, but that number could go up depending on support from the community.
Watson said it’s Fire & Flower’s buying strategy, combined with the assortment of products they offer, that really sets them apart from the rest of the market nationally. The company uses analytics to ensure it has the insights and data to make sure they are buying the product people want, and to ensure they are in stock of those products consistently.
Customers can also expect a very clean shop with highly trained staff and knowledgeable staff on the product offered. You'll see digital menu boards tied into the store’s inventory, and there will be “some fun promotions,” Watson said.
“It all links into our online experience and our Spark Perks membership program, which offers plenty of opportunity for customers to become members and receive promotion and be advised of when their favourite products are coming in,” he said.
Their location in Greater Sudbury will be one of two in Northern Ontario, the other being set up in North Bay. They have two locations in southern Ontario, one in Ottawa and the other in Kingston, but the company is actively working on sites throughout the province.
With two already-established pot shops located in the city, one — High Life — not even a kilometre away, the other — Canna Cabana — in the South End, Watson said he looks forward to the competition.
“I anticipate there will be many cannabis retailers coming to Sudbury over the next little while,” Watson said. “We're really excited to be here, and we've had a lot of support all over Canada already. It's a new market for us, but we've had locations in communities about the size of Sudbury, and we're getting better and better at servicing our customers.”