At Yonge and Dundas, Tokyo Smoke Teaches Legalization to the World

Inside the world-famous legacy brand in the centre of Toronto, a pioneering, cutting edge leader in the space. Ben Kaplan gets the skinny from Tokyo Smoke’s Brytany Melville, live from 333 Yonge Street.
  • BK: Why is a legal cannabis shop so important to Canada's end of cannabis prohibition?

    BM: Accessibility!

  • BK: How did you know your Tokyo Smoke recipe was working with customers and how has it tweaked over time?

    BM: Our “intent” system provides guests with a really simple outline of how to navigate the store. For example, you will find sativa dominant options in our GO section, and indica dominant in our PAUSE. This coupled with a team of brilliant Educators to assist you on the floor has proven to be the most successful in our store.

  • BK: And the tweaks?

    BM: Oh boy, many things have been “tweaked” in this ever-changing industry, this is going to be a challenge to just name one! First and foremost, we listen to our customers. When I first opened stores in Manitoba on 10/17, we only included THC ranges. Within the first few hours, we quickly realized that customers were wanting to know exact percentages. Also, accessory assortment has been another adjustment! Now that you’re seeing 2.0 product trickle into stores, our accessory options will also expand.

  • BK: What made you personally excited about the opportunity to work in cannabis and what gave you pause? Thus far, what has been your biggest surprise?

    BM: The most exciting part about this industry (aside from the actual plant) is the people! Everyday I’m surrounded by the most hardworking, entrepreneurial and passionate people.

  • BK: What do you love about what you do?

    BM: We work in a highly-regulated, brand-spanking NEW industry. We are constantly having to learn, adjust and adapt due to evolving regulations. We do our best to listen to our consumers and share feedback because, hey, we’re customers, too.

  • BK: If you had to sum up your favourite memory at Tokyo Smoke, what would it be, and why?

    BM: Aside from Daniel Radcliffe and David Suzuki visiting the our 333 Yonge store, it would have had to have been opening stores on 10/17 in Winnipeg. Customers were lined up outside overnight waiting for doors to open. That first day was unforgettable.

  • BK: What tends to be your biggest seller?

    BM: Always changes! But I will say, downtown Toronto loves a good pre-roll.

  • BK: Do you have a "typical" customer?

    BM: At Yonge and Dundas? No. We are right beside Ryerson University and also situated at one of the busiest intersections in Canada. Over the weekends, we see quite a few tourists, however we also have our regulars who have been with us since doors opened.

  • BK: How has the roll-out of 2.0 products been thus far?

    BM: Roll out has been awesome! Hopefully you’ll see beverages trickle in soon.

  • BK: Do you see products such as edibles and vapes introducing a new kind of cannabis consumer?

    BM: Yes, edibles especially. I think we will start seeing more of the “canna-curious” customer who wants an alternative to smoking.

  • BK: I really appreciate your time. Your enthusiasm clearly shines through in your answers.

    BM: I just love the people! Our team, our customers and our owners Colin and Sophie are what make my job the best. Not to mention, we’re downtown Toronto, so there’s never a dull moment at Yonge and Dundas.

  • BK: Outside of work, what are your favourite hobbies?

    BM: I love travel and food! I also co-own an eco friendly swimwear label that I started a few years ago in Bali.

  • BK: Sweet. Lastly, talk to the country: what can you find at Tokyo Smoke that you can't find anywhere else in the world?

    BM: 24K gold cone—a grinder that grinds and stuffs a cone for you and a team that will personally roll your joints for you upon request.