BK: What’s life like at One Plant during COVID-19?
SA: It’s been crazy because our opening was April 3 and then we were forced to close on April 4, and we didn’t really have much time to build our following prior to the “curbside/delivery” only model.
JK: When we re-opened, we were already in full pandemic mode with barriers, floor markings and PPE. There’s lots of room for social distancing. We’re not encouraging people to stop and touch but two of our four registers are open.
BK: Talk about the One Plant brand.
JK: One Plant Retail Corp. is a separate entity from One Plant Kensington Market. That’s my business that I own. I chose One Plant retail Corp to help me set up the store, build it out and manage it but they gave us the autonomy to be part of the community. We’re active in the Kensington Market BIA and local community groups and we set up a charity foundation to support St. Stephen’s Community House.
BK: A lot of people will want to buy their weed in Kensington Market. It feels like Canada’s Haight-Ashbury.
JK: It’s definitely a piece of storied history and our goal is to provide good service and good product while respecting the history and making something great, for the long run.
BK: How do you forecast your summer?
SA: I think a lot of Canadians are going to be staying close to home, and I think that means there will be a tourist vibe in the Market, but local, Canadian tourists who are making the trip. We can’t wait for everyone to walk through our doors.
BK: How did you first get involved with cannabis?
JK: Aside from being an avid consumer in my twenties, I worked for Postmedia and was involved in the cannabis business, selling advertising space and we did a lot of business with the big licensed producers. I was going to Lift expos and eventually helped start the GrowthOp. When the licenses opened up in retail, I was ready to throw my hat in the ring.
BK: And what happened when you realized you won?
SA: It didn’t seem real. We went about our day as normal as possible, knowing everything was about to change.
JK: When we won, we were on vacation on our first trip in Paris. I had to fly home a couple days later!
BK: And tell me about your store, your baby.
JK: Our philosophy is simple: low prices, great selection. We price fairly in accordance with the OCS. Our goal is not to compete with Tokyo Smoke or other retailers who only feature certain brands, our goal is to compete with the legacy market. So we give fair pricing and lots of people have said we have the best product selection. When we hired our management team, these were people who were 420-friendly who wouldn’t let us carry the overpriced stuff.
BK: So what you’re telling me is you have curated weed.
SA: Yes! The best selection at the best prices—and the friendliest, most welcoming vibe.
BK: The place is huge.
JK: 4,800-square-feet and it’s open to the community, open air concept. I think the stigma of frosted glass and security guards sends out the wrong message. We also hired a local artist to paint murals for us and we have more creative projects planned.
BK: And talk more about your store in relation to your community.
JK: Our goal is to be approachable, inviting and make a positive contribution to the market!
BK: What’s made you the happiest about the direction you chose?
SA: People walking through the door that first time and smiling.
JK: I love when people look around and simply say: thank you. I think people appreciate what we’re trying to do.
BK: I can’t wait to come back in for a sack.
SA: Come in and say “high” any time! We love meeting new people, and I know you’ll always be pleased with our stock.