Armstrong’s first cannabis retail store is open for business, and showcasing local art in the process.
The Higher Path Cannabis Co. had its grand opening Friday, Feb. 28, and owner Jordan Perkins said he was happy with the public’s reception.
“It was great, people are loving it. Some people have come in just to see the art … some people are just coming in to say hi and welcome to the neighbourhood,” he said behind the counter at 2580 Pleasant Valley Boulevard in a building that dates back to 1901 – formerly the city’s third post office.
“There’s been no negative feedback. There were people at the door when we opened,” he added.
Lining the walls of the store’s interior are large canvas paintings created by a Kelowna artist who goes by the name J (jystart on Instagram) – as well as works by Perkins himself.
“2014 is the first time I ever painted anything – that Marilyn Munro painting is the second or third large painting I’ve ever done,” said Perkins, pointing to a large colourful canvas on the east wall of the store.
Perkins says his paintings are placeholders for now; the plan is to display original works from local artists on a rotating basis.
While business looks good on day one, Perkins says some time will be needed for locals to come around to government products while black-market options are still in abundance.
“There’s still a stigma around it but that will disappear,” he said. “One of the issues is that there’s the black market, (people) who are selling products for a lot less and not getting it from the secure sources like us.
“Something’s going to have to change there so that everything’s an equal playing field.”
It’s the fourth Higher Path location with stores already open in Trail, Castlegar and Oliver.
The company’s Trail and Castlegar locations were the sixth and ninth cannabis stores to receive licenses in B.C. and have been in business for more than a year. Oliver’s location has been open for four months.
Perkins doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon. His plan is to open another Higher Path shop in Lumby, where he’s leased the store front next to Earth Elements Farm Products on Vernon Street.
“We have an application in Lumby and it wasn’t that far in behind this application, so we’re hoping in the next month we get approval for that and we will start doing the renovation over there,” he said.
Perkins plans to carry over the same art gallery theme at the prospective Lumby shop.
For now, Perkins invites anyone to come take a sniff from the Armstrong store’s smell jars – and don’t be afraid to bring a pet.
“We’re pet-friendly so we’ve had a couple people bring their dogs in too,” Perkins laughed. “It’s been super positive.”