The buzz around the new cannabis retailer in Keremeos will only get bigger once the store opens Nov. 1.
Russ Rossi, CEO and founder of Vancouver-based Quizam Media Corporation, which Quantum 1 is a part of, said the company is making finishing touches on the shop. He described the interior as most cannabis shops — open, airy and well lit — similar to Apple stores.
“We’ve put some good money into it and buffed up the inside. The store is upscale. It’s a nice shopping experience,” he said, adding the location at 615 7th Avenue has new hardwood floors.
“It’s a very modern, very open concept. There is no supply to handle but there are cases that are tethered and you can do a small sample and put your order in. We have iPads to put your order in. It’s all electronic. You can order whatever you want and then go to the counter and pick it up.”
Experienced shoppers, he said, can walk in and order. But for the less experienced, the sales staff are knowledgeable and will help find the perfect product.
“All of the people who are behind the counter are trained and have knowledge about cannabis so they can tell you about the different strains and give you some feedback,” he said.
“If you know the product well, you can come in and make your choice. If you’re a newcomer and you are curious, we’re happy to walk you through the different products and help guide you on your journey of discovery.”
The new pot shop is one of several licenses the company applied for at locations, including Grand Forks, Vernon, Terrace, Creston, North Vancouver and Salmon Arm.
Rossi said the Keremeos location is ideal because it’s located on a main section of the highway, and is the only cannabis retailer in the Similkameen so far.
“Maybe in the wintertime, there might be less business, but Highway 3 is quite busy. We could be a great stop for traffic in the summer. We are servicing a large radius. It’s as big as alcohol and is probably increasing,” he added.
Rossi also confirmed the retailer is hiring locally, adding the human resources department received about 20 applications from Keremeos residents.
“We’re probably going to parachute in a couple of our senior people from Vancouver to help with the transition. It’s a pretty comprehensive system that we’re using. It’s a tightly controlled inventory. It has fully modern electronic tracking so there is some training involved. It would be a great asset to the community. If every store can employ between five and 12 people, it can help the economy, service the need and combat the black market. It’s a total plus for the community.”
Rossi added it’s nice to have a dependable product, even though it’s more pricey.
“It is guaranteed in quality, cleanliness, no mould, no bugs. It’s been tested,” he said. “For those who have been buying from dealers or the black market, it’s a different experience. People come to us sometimes and say, ‘Hey, the product I’ve been getting from Mr. Smith is not always consistent.’ This stuff is. You have consistency and you also have convenience.”
The village council approved the cannabis retailer in April after an extensive public consultation process, which included an online survey. It received 83 responses from residents, 51 were in favour of the application while 32 were not, the Review reported. Those not in favour raised concerns about public safety, proximity to the pocket park and said the proposed hours from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. were too long.
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