Choom Brings Aloha Vibe to Niagara Falls

Vancouver-based cannabis retailer Choom has made its Ontario debut by opening the first marijuana store in Niagara Falls.

The company takes inspiration from a group of friends known as the Choom Gang, who spent their time smoking weed in 1970s Honolulu. Barack Obama was a member of the group and, unlike Bill Clinton, he never claimed he didn’t inhale.

The firm is focused on creating a 125-strong estate of experiential retail stores from coast to coast in Canada. British Columbia currently only allows eight retail sites per company, so it has eight stores there, with five Concord Medical Clinics open and plans to expand.

A company can have up to 37 stores in Alberta and Choom has already secured agreements on 30, with three currently open and nine completed. It has now launched in Ontario too and it can start serving a region of 447,888 people. The area also receives 14 million per year and Choom hopes to cash in on tourist dollars.

“By crafting an approachable experience that encourages exploration and education, we hope to bring both residents and visitors together to cultivate good times,” said president and chief executive Chris Bogart, previously a co-founder of InMed Pharmaceuticals (TSX: IN).

A Real Aloha Vibe

Twenty-five stores have been authorized in the province and assigned to qualified lottery winners. Toronto-based entrepreneur Lisa Bigioni was selected to open the Niagara Falls store and she decided to team up with Choom after praising its “extensive experience in regulated industries provides invaluable insight on store operations”.

Staff at the store have already undergone “stringent cannabis sommelier training”, showing just how seriously the cannabis industry is developing in Canada. Hodgson Design Associates has tried to foster a “relaxed and inviting environment” in the new store, while Choom is keen to promote “a real aloha vibe”.

In June 2018, Aurora Cannabis invested $8 million in Choom and then it invested a further $20 million five months later. The firm’s founder and chief executive, Terry Booth, hailed Choom’s strong brand identity and unique retail offering.

In March 2019, Choom signed a letter of intent to enter the Florida market by purchasing a 95% equity interest in an unspecified vertically integrated cannabis applicant in the Sunshine State. It will bring Choom’s medical brand to that market and it hopes to become a multi-state operator.

Its share price was $0.45 at the start of 2019 and it increased dramatically to $0.79 by Mar. 12, before falling back to $0.45 again. It opened at $0.48 today.

High Tide Sweeps Into Toronto

The Ontario cannabis retail market is starting to take shape and tomorrow High Tide will open its store in downtown Toronto. The Alberta-based retailer increased its estate to 30 stores by opening a Smoker’s Corner outlet in Edmonton earlier this month, comprising 14 Smoker’s Corner stores and 16 Canna Cabana sites.

It will open a 17th Canna Cabana on Yonge Street, Toronto, this weekend and it expects the store to be its “highest-profile” location in Canada. It is working with lottery winner Dana Michele Kendal there.

It has plans for 23 more Canna Cabana stores across Canada and it is making progress in several provinces.

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Martin Green
Martin Green is an experienced journalist with a strong focus on the cannabis, alcohol, and gambling industries. He is particularly interested in the political issues affecting the global marijuana trade, and he has a keen focus on regulation changes and legal topics. He holds a BA English Literature, MA Creative Writing and a National Qualification in Journalism diploma. He has worked in journalism since 2009 and written for a broad range of newspapers, business titles and magazines, including The Sun, The Metro, The Journal, Livestrong, Drinks Retailing News, Harpers, Sportsbook Review, Vital Football, Essex Live and Surrey Live. Address: 682 Indian Road, Toronto, Ontario, M6P 2C9. Phone: 416-721-8257.
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