Westleaf (WL.V) is planning to give Calgary residents their first immersive retail cannabis store this weekend by launching a new Prairie Records store in the city’s cultural hub.
Beginning on Saturday, Calgarians strolling through International Avenue can stop by Prairie Records to shop cannabis and enjoy good music.
The launch of Prairie Records by Westleaf offers a rare opportunity for first-time users and seasoned cannabis connoisseurs to come together and celebrate the end of prohibition. They’ll eventually have to buy something because, you know, that’s how businesses work.
Westleaf announced the grand opening of its Calgary location on Wednesday, a mere three days before the cannabis store is set to open. Keeping with the Prairie Records theme, the grand opening will feature music from a local artist and offer in-store specials from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. If you decide to show up early, you can get a tour with Adam Coates, Westleaf’s chief commercial officer.
Just make sure you’re at least 18 years old, for God’s sake.
According to Coates, setting up shop in Calgary is an important step in Westleaf’s continued expansion. That makes perfect sense, as Calgary is Western Canada’s second-largest city.
“This is an important next step for Westleaf as we expand in the prairie provinces and continue to build out our retail footprint in western Canada. It also gives us an opportunity to introduce the unique Prairie Records brand to Alberta cannabis consumers, the country’s most advanced retail market. We believe based on our experience in Saskatchewan that our brand is going to be a winner and differentiate our retail experience from all others.”
Prairie Records: A different kind of cannabis store
The type of retail experience Prairie Records wants to offer is very different from the traditional brick-and-mortar set-up you’re used to seeing. That’s because Prairie Records is a celebration of music and cannabis. Westleaf calls this relationship “instinctual.”
I haven’t visited a music store in about 15 years, but an ‘HMV for cannabis’ immediately comes to mind.
The interior of one of these shops is actually way cooler than the shitty HMV I used to frequent.
Westleaf’s retail model uses the record store concept to create an album for each type of cannabis strain. Basically, customers flip through ‘album covers’ to learn about various marijuana products. It’s like shopping for vinyl records, but instead of reading track lists you get strains and branding info.
What’s more compelling than the actual retail model is the fact that Health Canada approved it in the first place.
It’s not entirely clear how many retail locations Canadian marijuana businesses need to tap into critical mass, but the consensus seems to be that we need a lot more than we have now. A surprisingly useful article from The Globe and Mail graphed actual/planned retail locations in Canada to how many stores we would need to match Colorado’s density.
Why Colorado? It’s a booming marijuana hub, and one of the first North American jurisdictions to legalize recreational usage.
WL.V stock update
Shares of Westleaf have been on a tear lately, climbing 40% since the start of September. WL.V is now trading at more than two-month highs, a major departure from the rest of the marijuana sector.
That said, context is everything. WL.V is trading at a fraction of its 52-week high of CAD$4.00. Marijuana stocks are still highly volatile, and Westleaf is no exception.
At current values, WL.V has a market capitalization of $76.3 million.
The great thing about Westleaf is it has a stronger consumer presence than many of its peers. Behind Prairie Records, the company has become a major supplier for other vertically-integrated cannabis companies. The launch of its Calgary-based processing facility (“The Plant”) should keep the supply deals flowing.
Full Disclosure: Westleaf is an equity.guru marketing client.