2019 was the first full year of legal cannabis retail in Canada. Real brands and franchises are starting to emerge. In this article we look at 10 of the best cannabis store brands across the country, as nominated by you – the ADCANN community.
Superette is an award-winning cannabis retailer headquartered in Toronto, Ontario with their flagship location currently in Ottawa.
The word “Superette” is an alternative name for a compact food market or convenience store. Superette took this concept and tastefully combined it with cannabis. The result is one of the only unique and consumer-friendly cannabis retail experiences in Canada.
Superette is not your average dispensary. The store is outfitted with diner-style tables and counter that give off a hip but retro vibe. The express area resembles a local deli or bakery counter. The design is clean and sleek while maintaining a bright and welcoming atmosphere.
Their mission is to make buying cannabis “friendly and easy” and this is reflected throughout the entire store. Consumers can pick up shopping baskets that indicate whether they need assistance or not (green for yes, red for no). Superette’s budtenders are more than happy to sit down with customers and answer their cannabis questions.
This award-winning retailer is a must visit if you are in the Ottawa area (and coming soon… Toronto!).
Walking into a Choom store feels like entering the most high-end surf shop imaginable. The store is incredibly sleek and modern but is notably inspired by Hawaiian surf culture (a huge Choom-branded surf board is pinned to the wall), as that’s where Choom’s inspiration truly comes from: A group of fun and cannabis loving people that were the self-proclaimed “Choom Gang” in Hawaii in the 70’s (a note worthy member was Obama!) and the word “Choom” is the Hawaiian slang for consuming cannabis. An immense amount of tropical-esque plants, hanging planters and living walls line the entire store, installed by New Earth Solutions. The counters are light hardwood with glass. There is a seating area for customers to sit down, chill out and ask budtenders any questions they may have. Educational information is displayed on video screens and posters that are installed on the perimeter walls.
Choom’s storefront on Montrose Road in Niagara Falls, Ontario (pictured above) was their first location to open and remains the flagship. The original store design has been the benchmark and inspiration for all 14 of their stores across Canada.
Choom uses its original location as a “Learning Lab” as they continue to grow their store base. A representative from Choom told ADCANN that opening their first location came “with invaluable learnings across the industry including our Clients, People, Products, and Operations.”
Nova is a franchise of cannabis storefronts that was birthed out of a partnership between Aurora Cannabis and Alcanna, one of the largest private sector retailers of alcohol in North America. Nova has several locations across Alberta and one storefront on Queen West (formerly the American Apparel store) in downtown Toronto.
Nova’s stores feature large poster installations from licensed producers as well as interactive screens that play informative and entertaining content. Customers can browse in-stock products by using the large interactive screens in the middle of the store and order the product straight from the machine. The Toronto location is open and inviting because of the bright atmosphere and high ceilings. Products are displayed in a large glass case near the cashier counter, as well as along the walls. Products are split into different categories including “sativa”, “hybrid” and “indica” along with “pre-rolls”, “staff picks” and “oils/capsules”.
Spiritleaf stores are classy but down-to-earth. The locations feature a lot of dark hardwood on both the floors and the walls. Hanging planters and green plants are plentiful throughout the storefronts. The walls are elegantly painted with positive messaging and graffiti-style artwork.
UP Cannabis installations can be found in Spiritleaf stores throughout the country. These installations are typically comfortable seating areas with branded posters. Some of these installations feature different elements of The Tragically Hip, which are brand ambassadors for the UP cannabis brand.
Spiritleaf is the only Canadian cannabis store to be granted Canadian Franchise Association Membership. They currently have 33 stores operating across Canada and are reportedly set to become the second largest cannabis retailer in the country.
Spiritleaf’s brand commandments are peace, happiness and community.
Prairie Records is a unique cannabis storefront concept owned and operated by Westleaf inc. Prairie Records is a “musically inclined” cannabis retail store. They aim to create a sense of “getting lost in the music” with their storefronts.
The foundation of the concept is to create a unique cannabis purchasing experience through tactile in-store features and product offerings that celebrate the relationship between music and cannabis. This is achieved by setting the store up as if it was a typical record shop. These “records” actually contain information about brands and the strains that can be purchased in-store. This allows consumers to educate themselves about products at their own chosen speed in a familiar retail environment.
Fire & Flower
Fire and Flower is one of Canada’s largest cannabis storefront franchises, operating over 30 storefronts across multiple provinces. The company is headquartered in Alberta but also has locations in Ontario, Saskatchewan and even one in Yukon.
The interior of Fire and Flower stores are incredibly clean and minimalistic. The walls, floors, tables and counters are mostly shades of white and grey, creating a bright and cheerful ambience. The store offers both cannabis products as well as branded merchandise, accessories and lifestyle items. Many Fire and Flower locations feature a “strain wall” that displays all of the products available, sorted into categories such as “engage”, “boost”, “spark”, “arouse” and “mellow”. In-stock products are conveniently displayed on Fire and Flower-branded digital screens.
Hobo is a modern cannabis retailer based in Ottawa, Ontario. Their aim is to make the cannabis buying experience disarming, compassionate and human.
The interior design of the store is filled with light hardwood and bright green plants, giving off the vibe of a tropical shop class. Scent jars and interactive screens line the tables that are located in the middle of the store, while packaged products can be found on shelves along the walls. The Hobo store feels like a more welcoming, more authentic and down-to-earth version of an Apple Store. Their flagship location is on Bank Street in Downtown Ottawa.
Hobo has decided to separate their product offerings into 5 categories to help customers make decisions easier: Move, Lift, Balance, Calm and Rest.
The Hunny Pot
The Hunny Pot is Toronto’s first ever legal cannabis dispensary, located in one of the city’s trendiest areas – Queen Street West. What was formerly the flagship New Era hat store, this 3,000-square-foot space now hosts one of Toronto’s largest cannabis shops.
This store has multiple levels and floors to experience. The walls are lined with posters containing educational content about cannabinoids and other cannabis-related material. There is a large green wall with gold “The Hunny Pot” letters overplayed on top, perfect for selfies. Scent jars and product information cards are scattered throughout the store. The Hunny Pot also sells a variety of cannabis accessories including vaporizers, bongs and lighters. Customers are greeted at the door by nightclub-esque security guards that verify your ID.
The Hunny Pot is also known for their creative digital and social media content.
The Village Bloomery
The Village Bloomery is a cannabis retail business – and a community of quality people – located in the heart of Vancouver, British Columbia. Prior to federal cannabis legalization, The Village Bloomery operated as a municipally licensed dispensary. Now the store has been fully licensed to re-open and serves regulated cannabis products to their happy customers.
The Village Bloomery storefront has a minimalistic yet authentic vibe to it. The design is clean and fresh with an extra dash of rugged character due to the exposed concrete. The walls are filled with hardwood panelling, plants and elegant cannabis accessories. All of this results in a beautiful environment that still feels real and “cool”.
The company’s manifesto “It’s what’s on the inside that counts” is displayed on the cabinets behind the cashier’s counter.
The Village Bloomery takes a simple, but well-thought out approach to cannabis retail. Their goal is to create a professional, smart, welcoming store environment that appeals to everyone, to be the expert to ensure they find the best solutions for customers and to always be nice, “because nice matters”.
City Cannabis Co
City Cannabis Co brands itself as “Your Urban Oasis for Fine Cannabis Goods”. The franchise currently has 4 locations across the Vancouver, British Columbia area.
City Cannabis Co carries cannabis products that have been carefully selected by their staff members. The store also offers informative cannabis books and accessories.
Interactive displays are strategically placed throughout the store to help customers learn about specific strains or products, by simply picking the product up, which will activate the respective interactive screen.
The store has a convenient and unique “Pre-Roll station” that uses pneumatic tubes to transport your pre-rolls from the back straight to the counter for quick transactions.
“Escape from the hectic pace of city life to this serene urban oasis.”