Cannabis Retailer Ready to Launch

Photo Karen Graham. A newly-minted entrepreneur, Brent Morrison looks forward to opening a retail shop in Cavan.

Brent Morrison was on his way to Queen’s University to study to become a Physiotherapist when he got sidetracked.

With a BA in History from Trent and a teaching degree from Western, he was already well-educated but was looking for a career where he could help people feel better.  In between studies, he began to work with a friend at the Medicine Wheel Natural Healing Cannabis shop on Alderville First Nation in Roseneath.  It changed his direction completely.

During his time in Alderville, Brent saw the wide variety of applications of cannabis.  Depending on the formula, cannabis products can help consumers relax or give them an energy boost. One of the primary active ingredients is cannabidiol or CBD.  This is the compound found in formulae used for chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety and seizures.  Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the “high” sensation, and is also used to deal with pain, insomnia, nausea and anxiety.

The experience of seeing customers find relief from a wide variety of issues made Brent reconsider his plans.  His objective was to find ways to help people feel better.  Maybe he could do that without spending two more years at school and accumulating more student debt.

In researching the business, he scoured the market for potential locations in Peterborough where he lives.  High rents and a market becoming saturated with competitors had him look further afield.  When he approached a local realtor about the location at the corner of King Street and County Rd. 10 in Millbrook, it was suggested he consider the former Galerie Q location in Cavan.

This destination location required no renovation, was bright and airy, already wired for security (a must for the cannabis trade) and offered ample parking.  It was also less expensive than the dingy options he had seen in town.  After discussions with his parents who are both on board with his plans, he signed a five year lease.

Cannabis retailers in Canada all purchase their products from the same government agency and pay the same price, so finding a competitive advantage is a challenge.  With all the space in his location, Brent sees a lounge area on the main floor with coffee and educational material about cannabis.  He is amazed at the potential applications of this plant and would like to share this knowledge with the community.

Live edge wood shelving and custom displays are already in production.  The outlet will provide a full range of products, from dried flower, concentrates such as oils, cosmetics and edibles.  He even hopes to have t-shirts and ball caps now that the government has allowed cannabis retailers to sell products with logos.

He acknowledges the concern expressed by some community members about his plans but believes they are unfounded.  Entrance to the store is restricted to those 19 and older, unlike the convenience store across the street which sells candy along with alcohol.  As an additional control, shoppers will enter the store at the rear of the building from the large parking area, where they will pass through two doors to gain entrance.

With his exterior sign ready to install, Brent is waiting to learn if the license application is approved.  If not, he will be quickly developing a Plan B for this bright and spacious location. KG

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