Inner Spirit Holdings (ISH.C) announced that five of their franchise partners have secured retail store authorizations (RSA) for Spiritleaf cannabis stores in Toronto, Ottawa and Guelph, Ontario.
The RSAs were granted by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to add more stores to the Ontario cannabis market. Inner Spirit has also completed constructed on seven more potential stores, all of which are in the final stages of licensing in Calgary and Red Deer, Alberta, Toronto, Ottawa and London, Ontario and St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We are very excited to continue our expansion of the Spiritleaf brand across the country and set deeper roots into Ontario. We were there for Ontario on April 1, 2019 when through a licensing agreement with one of the initial lottery winners we opened the first private recreational cannabis store in Kingston. We have a regional Spiritleaf office in Toronto, a strong support team in place, and a great group of talented entrepreneurs ready to open their doors to their local communities throughout the province,” said Darren Bondar, president and CEO of Inner Spirit.
The majority of the company’s Ontario-based stores will be franchises. They will support the core group of stores with a select number of corporate-owned outlets, including their proposed Kingston acquisition slated to close later on this month and a flagship corporate store in Ottawa that’s presently languishing in the AGCO licensing queue, according to Dave Marino, the company’s Ontario general manager.
“Overall, we believe the benefits of local entrepreneur ownership line up perfectly with the policy objectives of the Ontario government in crafting their retail cannabis laws, namely, to support small business,” said Marino.
The new Ontario stores are expected to open later this month at the following locations.
- Bloor West Village, Toronto
- College Street (Little Italy), Toronto
- Lawrence Avenue (Don Mills), Toronto
- Wellington West Village, Ottawa
- Edinburgh Market Place, Guelph
Inner Spirit’s empire stretches across 48 franchised, licensed and corporate-owned stores in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan and Ontario, with more to come in 2020, adding the provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador to the list.
“With our first Ontario stores expected to open in the near future as well as additional locations projected to open across Canada through the rest of 2020, we are well positioned to expand our footprint using the same dedication, customer focus and product portfolio we’ve brought to our existing markets in the country,” said Bondar.
Inner Spirit aims to be the McDonalds restaurants of cannabis. Just like McDonalds and other franchise-oriented companies they download most aspects of their operation from store design, training, point of sale and accounting systems, standard operating procedures and support from their national support centre. So the experience you have in Red Deer, Alberta will be the same experience in a Spiritleaf store in Ontario.
They have also altered their SOP’s to meet with the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring stores to operate with enhanced customer service processes to ensure employee and customer safety.
The network includes both franchised and corporate locations. Inner Spirit Holdings has made partnerships with companies like Auxly Cannabis (XLY.V), Hexo (HEXO.T), Tilray (TLRY.Q).